Meet the First Black Woman to Become a Master Plumber

Who is Adrienne Bennett?

Not many women show up at a homeowner’s door when a plumber gets called because plumbing is a male-dominated profession. However, a trailblazer in the field, Adrienne Bennett, became the first Black woman to become a master plumber in the United States. She didn’t just break through glass ceilings but also became a role model for people everywhere, showing them that neither gender nor race should prevent anyone from achieving success.

A Serendipitous Encounter

The fourth of eight siblings who grew up in Detroit, Michigan, Bennett had always been drawn to science and engineering. As a child, she enjoyed going to hobby stores where she would choose aircraft models to bring home and assemble. This passion for math and science eventually led her to pursue an entry-level training program with an engineering firm in the city that was a pathway to an engineering degree at nearby Lawrence University. Unfortunately, a racially charged encounter at the firm aggrieved her enough that she decided to quit after just a year.

Seemingly directionless, Bennett did odd jobs in the following years until a chance encounter with recruiter Gus Dowels set her back on the right path. He was recruiting minority women for a federally-sponsored apprenticeship program for skilled trades, an initiative that allowed Bennett to apprentice with the Plumber’s Union, Local 98.

No Way to Go But Up

contractorDespite the demanding and physical nature of the work, Bennett found herself excelling in the program. She passed test after test and earned praise from her instructors, but the celebratory mood would only last so long as she met plenty of resistance, harassment, and bullying from her male colleagues. 

This didn’t stop her from pushing through as she continued to collect accomplishments, including being recognized as the first black woman in the United States to hold the title of a master plumber. She was able to take and pass the master plumber exam after she reached the required 4,000 hours of experience she needed to qualify. 

Black Woman on Top

contractorThroughout her career, Bennett has worn many hats. She has been, among other things, a journeyman plumber, master plumber, plumbing inspector, project manager, and code enforcement officer for the city of Detroit. But there was still one final hat to put on - that of an independent contractor.

In 2008, Bennett established her own commercial plumbing and water conservation company that she runs with her son, A.K. Bennett. She holds the top spot as CEO of her company, which seems like the fitting final chapter of a career for a Black woman who rose to great heights in a predominantly male profession. 

About Quahog Plumbing 

Quahog Plumbing has provided reliable plumbing services in Somerset, MA, and the surrounding areas for over 15 years. Their quick, same-day service and use of the latest technology have won them the community's trust, where they have become the go-to plumbers for all sorts of plumbing issues. Call them today for plumbing services in Somerset, MA.

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