Business Profile

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Title and firm: Rusty Martin-Powers, 37, president and co-owner, The Plumbing & Heating Co. His brother, Mark Powers, 33, is co-owner.

Services: The Plumbing & Heating Co. was founded eight years ago in Martin-Powers' garage. Installation and repair are its chief services.

"My brother and I wanted to take service work to a higher level - to try to break away from industry stereotypes of mistrust, and make things as convenient as we could for our customers. We had a lot of naivete about what it would take to get things going. But it's been worth it to be in control of our own futures, to literally work with our best friends. That's the biggest benefit."

Drain video inspection, retrofitting and remodeling are specialties. Recent additions to services available are installation and repair of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning, and a sheet metal shop. "We now have a big facility and fleet of trucks," Martin-Powers said.

Background: Rusty has worked 16 years in the trade in Juneau, starting with Harri Plumbing and then moving to Larry's Quality Heating and Plumbing as lead serviceman.

Quotable: "The beautiful thing about this is that every day I learn something completely new. That's what holds our field people in this trade. It's so fascinating. It's humbling but exciting as the technologies change very quickly."

Family: Martin-Powers is married to Diana, who has spent the last year and a half as an unpaid home contractor. He has a son, Chase Powers, 15. "Chase has gone with me on thousands of service calls and has a great natural aptitude as a mechanic - but he may not think of himself as apprenticing," Martin-Powers said.

Employees: The Plumbing & Heating Co. has 22 employees. "At times there is a lot of stress and pressure when I realize that 20-plus families count on me and my performance. Cash flow is a big deal. But on the other hand there's the big sense of freedom," Martin-Powers said.

Contact information: The Plumbing & Heating Co. has a parts department and fixtures showroom at 5302 Commercial Boulevard across from Costco; 789-3332. For details, see the Web site at

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