Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air is a premier, full-service water system and AC organization serving residential and commercial customers in Collier and Lee counties with system installation, repair, and 24-7 service. Pro-Tec specializes in new construction and large special projects, with services that include leak detection, repiping, drain cleaning, sewer inspections, water heater installation, and a full slate of air-conditioning service, installation, and repair options, including money-saving annual service plans.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Were there any big pivotal moments that led you to your company?
I started my career in our hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts, working for my father on large-scale, industrial construction projects such as oil refineries and water treatment plants. I then worked as both an apprentice and journeyman plumber in the Northeast before relocating to Southwest Florida, where Pro-Tec Plumbing was founded in 2008.
Among the pivotal points in that journey:
My younger brother Brandon Hume joined the company soon after he graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University, helping dig, by hand, Pro-Tec’s first contract for new construction and later serving as vice president and co-owner.
In 2012, I broke my hip, which changed my whole outlook on how the company was run because I could no longer be out in the field every day. I learned a lot about delegating authority, trusting my team and not sweating the small stuff.
In 2018, Pro-Tec made a big investment in our future, purchasing a centrally located office and warehouse complex in Naples, and then in 2022 bought a second warehouse in Fort Myers, where we continue to expand our market presence.
On Dec. 31, 2008, amid the cratering of Florida’s economy, I was laid off from my plumbing job. It was a devastating blow, but one that laid the foundation for our current success. I always wanted to own my own business, and that unexpected jolt provided the impetus to start Pro-Tec in 2008. It was a modest beginning; I worked from the bed of my pickup truck with a handful of tools and parts, printing homemade marketing flyers to distribute door-to-door soliciting new business. A few years later, I bought the small plumbing business from which I’d been laid off.
Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air is a premier, full-service plumbing and air conditioning organization serving residential and commercial customers in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties with system installation, repair and 24-7 service. Pro-Tec specializes in service, repair, replacement, repiping, drain cleaning, sewer inspections, water filtration and a full slate of air-condition service, installation and repair options, including money-saving annual service plans.
As a provider of home and commercial plumbing and HVAC solutions, our company is in the business of comfort – an essential service necessary to live, work and play here in Southwest Florida.
Pro-Tec’s service area of Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties is saturated with contractors of all types – plumbers, electricians, carpenters, drywallers, painters, roofers and more. For contractors, the differentiator is reputation – either you have a good one, or you don’t. Reputation drives repeat customers. Reputation generates new business. Reputation sparks growth. Reputation creates jobs.
To establish and market itself as the region’s premier plumbing company, we created the “Pro-Tec Promise.” The customer guarantee – Quality Plumbing, Superior Service and Honest Pricing – doesn’t just consist of buzzwords; they are action words. They are what employees live by.
For us, it’s about the longevity of the relationships, not just fixing a problem. Being a company that is fair and honest, that they can rely on to build a relationship with over time, that they have a partner to take care of their home.
Many businesses claim to be family-friendly. Pro-Tec, on the other hand, is a family. That starts at the top and extends right down to employees and their spouses, significant others, and children. When Pro-Tec hires new employees, their entire family becomes part of the team. In addition to team-building events and exercises throughout the year, all employees and their families are invited to special events such as a family bowling night and football tailgate parties.
Family, along with teamwork, loyalty, reputation, and high expectations, guide operations and interactions, creating a culture at Pro-Tec that is rewarding to employees and ultimately benefits customers and clients.
We take great care in our hiring and training process. I’ve said it for years and years – it doesn’t matter how many people you have unless you have the right people. If you have employees who care about the company, they will take care of your customers. We work to build a strong team – it truly comes down to the people.
Contractors have long faced shortages of skilled trades workers, and our company is no exception. The high cost of living in our core service area, among the country’s costliest, only adds to those challenges of employee recruitment and retention.
In response, Pro-Tec launched its state-certified Pro-Tec School of Apprenticeship, which offers paid training opportunities for people who hold the same attitude and values. To retain technicians, Pro-Tec created its Career Development Plan, which clearly outlines steps and skills needed to progress from entry-level roles into management, creating a vision of the future so that employees can also see the opportunity for long-term growth.
You must know your weaknesses and recognize the value of bringing in outside experts. We partner with a coaching and training consultant that has implemented a robust in-house effort, with weekly sessions at minimum for our teams in the field, sales team and executives, including peer CEOs from comparable companies. This does not just focus on technical skills, but also customer relations, business development, information technology updates and more.
We hope to further solidify our presence in our core communities, grow market share, and remain open to further expansion if it makes sense.
We also hope to expand our co-op and summer internship program for trade school students and other apprentices to help address the labor shortage challenges and build a loyal workforce that coincides with the standards and values that Pro-Tec has set forth.
What is your proudest moment so far as CEO/president/owner?
My proudest moment is being able to provide for my employees and their families. I don’t take for granted the trust and belief both our employees and our customers have in Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air and our commitment to excellence.
What does it mean to be selected as a GrowFL FLCTW Honoree?
It’s a huge honor to be named a GrowFL Company to Watch, a sign of external validation that our approach to business and service delivery merits a closer look. We’re especially excited to be the only honoree this year from Collier County and one of just three from Southwest Florida.
GrowFL’s Companies to Watch is truly a Who’s Who of successful businesses and entrepreneurs in Florida. They represent the best our state has to offer and are the reason Florida’s economy is second to none. For Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air to be recognized alongside these industry leaders is quite an accomplishment and offers inspiration as we continue to grow and refine our company.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for getting you to where you are now?
I say thank you to our team daily because they have driven our success. Without the dedication, loyalty, and hard work that everybody puts in every single day to make the company better and create those positive experiences for our customers, there wouldn’t be a Pro-Tec Plumbing & Air.
What is your advice for aspiring or fellow business owners?
Stick to your convictions but stay humble and be willing to adapt and change with the times. You don’t have to be the biggest to be the best – controlled growth, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.