So what is it like to work for your dad?
“I get this question all the time,” says Persephone Parker. “People think it must suck working for your dad. But I love working with my dad. He’s very patient; he knows how I learn.”
Father is Chris Parker, and he and Persephone make up father and daughter’s plumbing and drainage service in Colorado Springs. Chris has been a plumber and company for nearly 20 years before starting the company this year. Persephone is a fourth year trainee and works under the supervision of her father.
“He’s a very, very good teacher,” she says.
The timing of the new business turned out to be unfortunate. Dad and daughter were just starting out when Chris’ wife lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Chris had to get a job that came with health insurance. He and Persephone now both work for RK Mechanical, with father and daughter Plumbing relegating to a side appearance for the time being. Little to no free time remains between the two jobs, but Persephone doesn’t seem to mind.
“I love to stay active every day and do something new,” she says. “It’s like a big puzzle all the time.”
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Persephone, who will turn 23 in July with a younger sister who wants to become a veterinarian, didn’t always want to follow in her father’s footsteps. (If you’re wondering about her name by the way, her mom is a fan of Greek mythology.)
“My dad used to tell me in high school that he said you should be a plumber when you graduate,” says Persephone. “And I would say no, I won’t do that.”
Instead, she aspired to a career as a teacher. But she worked in a daycare center and didn’t enjoy it. When her father again suggested that she try plumbers, she said yes. “And I loved it.”
Chris started out with landscaping but found his way into plumbing. It wasn’t until he became a plumber that he learned that his grandfather, who lived in Iowa, had been one too – “50 Years in the Pipe Fitting Association.”
Like his daughter, Chris started out as an apprentice before becoming a journeyman and working his way up to running crews – “big crews,” he says. “I just thought if I could do all of this, why not alone?”
Chris enjoys working with his hands, likes to meet up with homeowners, and likes what could be called the mysterious component of plumbing.
“I really like cleaning drains and seeing what’s in them. It’s kind of gross, but it’s kind of irritating to me.”
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When asked what she dislikes about plumbing, Persephone mentions work areas such as crawl spaces, which can be very tight. “I get claustrophobic sometimes,” she says.
Chris, on the other hand, says he can’t think of anything bad about his job. “It’s a good career. It put groceries on my table for many, many years.”
While the belief persists that plumbing – and working in the craft in general – is a man’s world, Persephone recommends it to anyone who wants to stay busy and not be chained to a desk. “You don’t have to be very strong,” she says, adding that her friends welcomed her career choice.
Nevertheless, their presence on a construction site surprised some people. “I think most of the time people think I’m in the office most of the time,” she says, “and don’t really work in the field.”
The business comes mostly from word of mouth, although Plumbing Father and Daughter have a website and a presence on Facebook and other social media.
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“My daughter created the website,” says Chris. “She’s very smart. I’m excited to see what the future might bring.”