Mar 16, 2016
Two plumbing apprentices change lives in India while serving as part of Team USA.
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In Fall 2015, Pete Hollmaier and Adam Koenigs took their apprenticeship skills overseas to improve the plumbing at a large elementary school in Nashik, India. The 28-year-old apprentices made up all of Team USA with two students from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, a global competition designed to showcase the talents of young professionals while they create solutions to faulty or outdated sanitation systems in developing countries.
Hollmaier, an Oshkosh native who currently works for SBS Plumbing, became a plumber after earning a bachelor’s degree in business. “If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have pursued a bachelor’s degree first,” he states. “I enjoy working with my hands, and in the plumbing field you have to know how to do something as well as what to do.”
Koenigs grew up in a plumbing family in Malone, Wisconsin. “My father was a plumber,” he says. “I first studied mechanical design but realized it wasn’t for me. I then pursued plumbing because it has such a direct impact on one’s health. My classes today immediately allow me to apply what I’m learning for JF Ahern Company.”
Both Hollmaier and Koenigs are proud of the work they did in India. The school now has a large handwashing facility with 27 faucets and water tanks to accommodate nearly 500 students. “What’s really cool is that the runoff water washes through the urinals to keep them clean as well,” says Hollmaier. “We also did several teaching presentations—one for younger students on how to correctly wash their hands and another for older students on how to thread galvanized pipe.”
In just three days, a multi-national team of plumbers made a real difference in the daily lives of school children in India. “What I liked the most was working with people from other countries,” says Koenigs. “We all came together to make it happen.”
The other participating nations included Team Basque Country (Spain), India and Australia. Team USA’s design and overall plan were good enough to win the competition, but as Koenigs, Hollmaier and their instructor, Randy Lorge reaffirm, the experience of all the teams working together to better humanity was life changing.
Learn more about the Plumbing Apprenticeship program at Fox Valley Technical College >>