He was once half of the heart to local plumbing outfit Hoffman & Kelley, but now he’s got a new name: Ed the Plumber.
Edward Kelley, a licensed plumber, journeyman and 1969 Andover High graduate, has shifted his career focus by leaving the only business he’s ever known and starting fresh with his own name, tagline and cartoon character.
With a pair of black overalls and a red, collar-neck shirt to match the animated version of himself on his shirt and business card, Kelley says going solo “is a little scary, and exciting.”
Up until mid-July, Kelley was president of Hoffman & Kelley, a plumbing operation started by Kelley and business partner Paul Hoffman about 30 years ago. Hoffman, who still operates Hoffman & Kelley after the split, said he bought out the business name from Kelley.
“It’s going to be a little different, initially,” said Kelley. “I only have to worry about providing for my family. I don’t have to be worried about providing for four other families in terms of generating work and income.”
The plumbing industry has changed during Kelley’s career. When he started, homes were filled with copper and cast-iron materials.
“The first house I ever did in ‘79 was all copper, all the drains, all the other pipes,” said Kelley. “The last house I did was all PVC and PEX tubing. There was hardly any copper around the house.”
Meanwhile, the heart of a heating system - the boiler - is changing as well. As heating fuel prices skyrocket, more homes are making a shift towards more efficient boiler designs, something that Kelley said he is focusing his talents on making new technology available to possible customers.
With tax credits, rebates and other incentives available to make more efficient models a bit more enticing, “I can steer them to where the proper places to apply for these things are and go for it,” said Kelley.
“It makes for more business,” said Kelley. “People aren’t very proactive with their heating systems until there is a problem. Then they turn them on in September or October and there’s a problem. It’s time for repairs.
“More and more, people are paying attention to the high energy costs and ready to go for more efficiency,” said Kelley.
As Kelley looks forward to the future, he said he aims to bring on some apprentices from area colleges to help with jobs. He hopes he’ll be able to hire and expand the company to make it more than a solo venture.
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