Darryl McDonald, program specialist for trade and industry, and a plumbing instructor with the ABC Metro Washington apprenticeship program in Beltsville, Maryland is in his 40th year teaching the construction plumbing trade to the next generation.
Why did you choose construction as your career path?
In the last 20 years I’ve seen a dearth of training and some poor training, to be honest, of a lot of apprentices coming into the field, and I thought I could add something to change that. I took all the experience I had as a plumbing inspector, master plumber, and business owner and pooled it all together to help the newer apprentices in the 21st century know and understand how plumbing is to be done. Do it the right way and the proper way. Essentially, learn to do it right the first time.
What’s most important lesson you would like to leave with your students?
Essentially the thing that drives me most is education and training. I want them to consider that all the way up to the point of primary licensing. Become a journeyman plumber, electrician, whatever field you’re in. That’s important because, frankly, home owners, business owners, they are looking for people who are properly trained. They are looking for people who know and understand codes and the implications and the applications. You are going to be a leader on the job. The journeyman’s license, you have a certificate of competency. You know the codes as well as any master or plumbing inspector. It’s very important for you to know how to do a system. We don’t train you to be a residential plumber. We don’t train you to be a commercial plumber. You are a plumber. And you can understand and work anywhere.