Voss named Plumbing Contractor of the Year

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 03/25/97.

Joe Voss, Paynesville, was recently named Contractor of the Year by the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Minnesota (PHCC-MN). Voss received this honor at their annual convention held in Madison, Wis. where the PHCC-MN met with four other state associations.

Voss feels he was chosen because he has become more visible in the association recently. He has served on various committees for more than six years, but became heavily involved in legislative issues the last two years.

Voss was also elected second vice-president of the association at the annual convention. He is one of 15 board members overseeing the association.

Voss said one of the things he wanted to do was get more involved in the organization. When he was first appointed to the legislative committee, they didnít do anything. Since he took over the reins of the committee they have gotten the ball rolling on several bills. One bill is the contractor bill of rights which deals with contractors getting prompt payment from subcontractors.

Another bill deals with statewide plumbing licensure. At present, plumbers working in towns with less than 5,000 population are not required to be licensed. ďI feel plumbers need to stay updated on the codes so they can do the work properly,Ē Voss said.

Voss has been licensed since 1955. He learned the plumbing business from his father near Nisswa. Upon graduation from Brainerd High School, he worked with a plumbing and heating firm in Minneapolis. ďIn 1955 I worked for union wage, $3 per hour,Ē he recalls.

ďI worked in the Twin Cities six years before moving to Paynesville in 1961,Ē Voss said. He owned the Gambles Store for many years and had a plumbing showroom and supplies for local plumbers. After two years he dropped the hardware store and expanded the plumbing and heating business.

Today, Voss has four master plumbers working for the business, three journeymen, four apprentices and two office personnel. The master plumbers are Voss, Dale Klein, Tom Koshiol and Chuck Hagen. Voss explained an apprentice needs to work four years (2,000 hours per year) under a master plumber before they can take a test to be licensed.

His future goals are to keep the business growing at an orderly rate, adding one person per year to the staff. To increase the scope of the business, two years ago Voss Plumbing and Heating added a sheet metal shop and more warehouse space. Over the years, Voss has discontinued well work, pump installation and sewer work. Besides doing residential work, they contract for apartments, nursing homes and small commercial jobs.

ďThe reason I could be named Contractor of the Year was because of the good people I have working at the shop. They can take the load off me so I can do other things. They are the best crew,Ē Voss said.

Voss is the former mayor of Paynesville, ran for the District 14B House seat, and serves on the Human Relations Committee for the city of Paynesville.

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