2016 Women in Real Estate: Janet Powers

June 21, 2016 - Spotlights
Janet Powers, Steamfitters Local 638 Janet Powers, Steamfitters Local 638
Name: Janet Powers

Title: Business Agent

Company Name: Steamfitters Local 638

Email: Contact is Kaylyn Alexander ([email protected])

Years in real estate: 29

How did you get your start in real estate?

My father was a steamfitter, but I didn’t consider entering the industry until I was in college. I was studying fashion art & design at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology when Local 638 began accepting applications for its five-year apprentice program. Steamfitters design, install and maintain what’s hidden behind the walls of buildings, including steam and water piping; heating and cooling systems; and fire sprinklers. I heard a lot of stories about the industry growing up, loved the sense of loyalty and camaraderie that came with it, and decided that I wanted to be a part of it. The job offered a good salary, benefits, stability and a real foothold in the middle class. I applied, interviewed, and the rest is history.

What real estate associations or organizations are you a member of?

Enterprise Association of Steamfitters Local Union 638 & Women Builders Council

What recent project or transaction are you most proud of?

We are currently completing work at Stony Brook University’s new dining and residence halls, which will have 759 new dorm rooms equipped with fire sprinklers. I’m proud to serve as business agent on this project given the university’s one-time only investment that will protect the lives of tens of thousands of students for decades to come. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire sprinklers reduce fire fatalities by 82% and property damage by 68%. This project ensures that young people attending this university will be protected and their parents can have peace of mind. Ultimately, this job is about people and we are helping to significantly increase life safety. The project is expected to be completed this fall.

What have been some of the benefits of being a mentor or having a mentor?

Because steamfitting is a skilled trade, mentorships are a vital part of Local 638’s training. Steamfitters design, install and maintain fire sprinklers; refrigeration; heating and cooling systems; steam and water piping in tens of thousands of high-occupancy commercial, residential and industrial buildings throughout New York. Apprentices develop and hone their skills not only in the classroom but on construction sites, under the guidance of experienced steamfitters. And it doesn’t stop there: Our members continue training until retirement. Steamfitting is truly an art. There are so many methods and techniques that can be applied, so we are constantly learning from one another. In my nearly three decades of being a steamfitter, I’ve had the opportunity to be mentored and mentor female and male steamfitters alike. It’s rewarding to pass down knowledge and gain experience, just as I was taught the trade by those who came before me.

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