Why Shawn Powell Proudly Calls Himself the 'Bill Russell of Plumbing'

Share this article with your network.

Don't know what you want to do?
Take our 2-minute quiz

Being a plumber runs in the family for Shawn Powell, whose father and grandfather were both plumbers.

So it's not surprising that Powell, a master plumber for Superior Water and Air in the Salt Lake City area, recommends this path to anyone — that is, anyone who isn't afraid of hard work.

"I personally believe that there's a war being waged against hard work. Work has become somehow a bad thing. But any trade that you work hard in, you will be able to succeed and provide a good living and have a great life," he says. 

There's good money to be made in this always-in-demand trade, says Powell. Plus, there’s the satisfaction of a job well-done.

A love of hands-on work steered him into this line of work. That's also what keeps him there.

"I tell people I'm like the Bill Russell of plumbing in that I get in the trenches with people," he says, referring to the Hall of Fame basketball player who also served as a player-coach for three years for the Boston Celtics. "I don't just tell them how to do it. I like to show them the way that I've been trained and things that I've learned along the way. It's a lot of fun for me to be in the field. (I don't have as much fun on my in-the-office days!)"

It's also an opportunity to connect with the people he supervises and the customers they serve. 

"The guys that I work with — being part of their progression, helping them to grow, and then also helping customers who call us with a difficult situation. We remedy it! That's something I take real satisfaction in."

Of course, there’s sometimes a downside to enjoying your job so much. 

"I'd like to say that I have a set time that I usually go home, but it varies. My wife could attest to that!"

Feeling overwhelmed with options?

Take the SkillPointe Quiz

It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do. This short visual quiz will help you identify skills-based careers that best match your personality.

Young woman wearing blue jean jacket and carrying a notebook shrugs