Taking on the Future of the Trades
“We try really hard to make people smile,” says Nathan Andreas, co-owner of Andreas Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. He and Danielle Andreas, co-owner and spouse, keep client satisfaction at the heart of their company. Much of their business values are thanks to their time spent at LCCC.
Nathan, a 2005 graduate of the heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) technology program, remembers how much his LCCC professors helped him develop professionally. “In one writing class,” he says, “the professor made us write an essay on what we were hoping to do when we graduated. I wrote that I’m going to take over my family business.” The essay, along with others he had to write, helped him develop his writing skills and decide on many business practices to one day adopt, such as staying inexpensive and prioritizing customer service.
Danielle, a 2001 business management graduate, recalls learning as much as she could about the psychological effects of advertising and marketing. “That always stuck with me because I do a lot of marketing…I’m always thinking, ‘How can we reach more people?’”
In fulfilling the wishes of Nathan’s college-aged self, he and Danielle combined their knowledge to take over Andreas Plumbing. Along with their team, they provide a variety of services to Lehighton clients and surrounding areas. “We provide and get rid of water on the plumbing side,” says Nathan. “For heating and air conditioning, [we work on] anything from boilers, to furnaces, to heat pumps and geo furnace systems.”
Nathan and Danielle carried many teachings with them after leaving LCCC and, as a way to give back to the community, now offer the Five-Star Scholarship. Students interested in studying HVACR or plumbing at LCCC can earn $500 to help fund their tuition, course materials or trade tools. “Even if it pays for some books…we’re hoping that we’re able to provide a little bit of funding to some of the students,” Danielle says.
Another major reason for helping college students access affordable training is to shift the perception around the HVACR and plumbing industry. “I think that a lot of people possibly look down on people who are doing plumbing and heating and air conditioning,” Danielle says. She and Nathan say that the industry is not always centered around intensive, mechanical work, and that it certainly isn’t a job that anyone can do on the fly.
“Our team,” Danielle says, “has families. They have goals, children, houses, all these things. They’re working hard every day to provide a living for themselves and the customers. They like making sure the heat’s on at the end of the day, or that the plumbing’s flowing.” She says many people believe that there aren’t opportunities in the trades outside of physical labor.
Both Nathan and Danielle knew they didn’t want a career stuck behind a desk, so they still love getting out in the field and working, but they strike a balance. “We want to train, teach, develop and just help people grow,” Nathan says. “That’s really the core of what we do.” They hope more students take advantage of the Five-Star Scholarship.
To every prospective LCCC first-year student, Danielle says, “I think LCCC is a great place to start because it’s financially feasible. You can really find yourself there and then move on to wherever you want to go, whether it’s furthering your education at a university, or hopping into a job, or starting your own business.” She and Nathan have seen the success an LCCC education has brought them, and encourage others to see for themselves.