Say Hello To Adrienne Bennett - A True Plumbing Pioneer
February is Black History Month, and one of the best ways to celebrate is by learning about the people who have helped shape Black culture throughout the years. Many famous Black icons have had a positive impact through their work in civil rights, sports, the arts, and numerous other professions.
But this article will focus on one woman who made history (and not very long ago) in a field that doesn’t get much attention - plumbing. So here is the story of Adrienne Bennett, the first Black woman master plumber.
How It All Started
Adrienne Bennett was born in Chicago and grew up there until her family moved to Detroit when she was 9. She graduated high school at 17 and pursued an engineering degree until being shaken by an incident of racial discrimination, which led her to drop out of the program. However, she picked herself up and kept moving forward, however, and while working at a presidential campaign rally in 1976, Bennett was approached by a recruiter for Detroit’s Mechanical Contractors Association.
With the advent of a promising career, Bennett said yes to the offer and entered a 5-year apprenticeship training program. This in itself was a major stride forward, as the few women who had entered the male-dominated program had dropped out for various reasons. And despite adversity and discrimination, Bennett stayed the course and excelled in the program.
Climbing the Ladder from Apprentice To Contractor
Bennett completed her apprenticeship and got her journeyman plumber license in 1985. She continued to work as a journey plumber for two years, then passed her master plumber exam in September 1987, becoming the first African-American female master plumber not just in Michigan but in all of the United States.
From this milestone, Bennett continued to rise in Detroit’s plumbing industry and break new ground with each new position she held. She worked as a plumbing inspector, code enforcement officer for the City of Detroit, certified medical gas inspector and installer, and project manager until finally becoming her own boss as a full-fledged plumbing contractor.
Independent Contractor and Business Owner
Today, Bennett is the President and CEO of Benkari LLC, which she runs with her sons. As a full-service plumbing contractor, they specialize in commercial and municipal works, working on renovations, water conservation, and new construction for some of Detroit’s biggest buildings and projects.
From being the only woman plumber in her apprenticeship program to earning the rarified status of Black master plumber, all the way to her current role as a business owner, Bennett has come a long way. In her leadership position, she recognizes that all those years of toughness, dedication, and hard work got her where she is today and continues to inspire and encourage women of color to follow in her footsteps.
About Marc Francis Plumbing
Marc Francis Plumbing has been a trusted resource for residential and commercial plumbing for over 25 years. Their licensed, insured, and background-checked technicians always show up on time and get the job done right the first time. They offer membership perks, 24/7 emergency service, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there’s no one better to call for plumbing service in Johnson City, TN!