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In 2014, Gina Grundmeier and her husband, Todd, co-owners of T ‘N G Plumbing in Dexter, Minnesota, founded PayItForward. The 501c3 organization oversees donations and in-kind labor from fellow skilled trades people, wholesalers and other local businesses to “brighten, enlighten and rejuvenate hope of families in need.” Through the organization, the couple has been remodeling bathrooms as a way to give back for the help they received when they needed it the most.
In our October 2021 Women In PHCP spotlight, we invite you to learn more about Gina and her journey through our industry!
PHCPPros: What is your role in the PHCP industry?
Grundmeier: My husband and I started our own plumbing business in February 2011. I had previous experience in the plumbing industry when I was hired on as an office manager in 2000 for another plumbing company. I am responsible for all office aspects of our business from payroll and advertising to ordering and invoicing. In July 2014, our business was honored by being named the Best Plumber of Mower County (and every consecutive year up until the latest in 2020). After the award, I wanted to find a way to give back to our community, and that’s when I started PayItForward — with our first large project in September 2014.
PHCPPros: How and why did you decide to enter a career in the PHCP industry?
Grundmeier: When I was hired as an office manager in 2000, it was merely a job for me. There was no initial desire or thought that I’d ever plunge deeper into the PHCP industry until several years later. I met Todd when I was working at that job, but I never saw us as more than friends — I merely enjoyed bossing those fellas around and telling them where to go, what to do, etc. A couple of years later, the company I was working for began to dissolve, so I moved onto other employment. I remained friends with Todd and reconnected with him again when we started to date. He was working for another plumbing company by that time, and I would periodically come help in the office when the owners were away. Todd and I began dating, and we eventually married in November 2003.
Fast forward to our house fire in November 2010 when we lost our home and all of our possessions. With our lives completely upside down, I convinced Todd it was time to start our own company so he could utilize his Master Plumber license. We wanted to keep our company small, so we knew I would run the office and he would be in the field. I always joke about having every wife’s dream job — still bossing her husband around and telling him where to go and what to do.
PHCPPros: What have been some of your career highlights?
Grundmeier: I am proud that we have received the Best Plumber in Mower County recognition for seven consecutive years now. I’ve always felt that for a 3-year-old business to receive such an honor it spoke to people about our work ethic and customer trust. We were also named Business of the Year in 2014 by our local Chamber of Commerce. I also received the Zonta Woman of Achievement Award in 2015, the Modern Woodmen Hometown Hero Award in 2019, and Hormel Nominate Good in 2020. We were also named as one of the “Nicest Places in America” by Reader’s Digest in 2018 with one of our fellow community members in our area.
PHCPPros: What are your thoughts on mentorship for women?
Grundmeier: In our industry with my job, I have been self-taught with my role. I didn’t know anyone to look to for help when we started. On the non-profit end of what I do with PayItForward for our industry, the drive and ambition Jen Wiebrand has is one that stands out the most for me. She’s a behind-the-scenes busy-body with so many ideas in ways to help better the community. My general life mentor would be my mom — always a woman of strength and love that showed me support in my dreams.
I’d like to hope that many would follow by example in the work we do on the non-profit side of our mission in the plumbing industry. I know that the community aid that I am so proud of and work so very hard at has given inspiration for a project in Rhinelander, Wisconsin (I helped lead); Denton, Texas; and Carrboro, North Carolina, where Carrboro Plumbing has also found a way to reach out to aid its community. My wish is for this to be much broader and become something you can see in every county in every state! We all have the ability to help others — we just need the inspiration!
PHCPPros: What do you think the PHCP industry can do to better recruit and retain women?
Grundmeier: I think the PHCP industry lacks appeal for most women as they look at it as a “man’s world." I’ve seen women highlighted for their roles in this industry, and I believe that is the right method to showing them the broader vision of what it’s like to be a part of this industry. I love working with my clients and I love the ability to help them personalize a renovation, and that connection has great value for them and for myself.
PHCPPros: Is there anything from your personal life that you would like to highlight?
Grundmeier: My personal life is my PHCP life. It’s the nature of what we do and the hours can be long and tiring, but the end reward is that overflow of friends and extended family that we have gained over the years. Both T ‘N G Plumbing and PayItForward prosper from the devotion we have to those we serve!
Learn more about PayItForward in this PHC News article.
Do you know someone you would like to nominate for our Women In PHCP newsletter series? Email PHCPPros Digital Strategy Manager Nicole Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org!