• LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

  • LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

  • LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

  • LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

  • LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

  • LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

  • LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

  • LUK Plumbing, Heating, & Electric Ltd.

    Commercial, Industrial, Residential

Local Business Man Sits Atop Provincial Association

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KENNETH BROWN
of The Clarion

Luk Plumbing and Heating Ltd. co-owner John Baker has served people in the Kindersley area for nearly 30 years and now the local man is serving Saskatchewan through his new provincial role.

Baker has been named president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Saskatchewan (MCAS), and he has been in the position since the organization held its annual general meeting earlier this year. He says the appointment has been a huge honour for him.

“It’s hard work, but I’m very humbled and honoured to be president and represent our industry,” he said, adding he is serving his first of two terms as president. “I never ever dreamed that I would be working to help make decisions in our industry.”

He recognized that Ron Young, former owner of Ron’s Plumbing and Heating Ltd. of Meadow Lake, was the former president of the association that he credits for getting him involved with the association, but Young has since passed away.

Baker noted that he has been a member of the association’s board of directors for more than 10 years and he has been involved with the organization’s education committee for mechanical contractors in Saskatchewan.

He explained that the association’s executives go through a natural progression from second vice-president to vice-president before becoming president. He said he served as second vice-president and vice-president for two years each prior to becoming president of MCAS in June.

“It’s a nomination, and then you work your way through,” he said, recognizing that the individual requires the full support of the organization’s board of directors.

He said there is a lot more to the position than being a figurehead because a lot of work goes on “behind the scenes” at the association, and it was mentioned that he travels a lot more due to holding such an involved role within the association.

“I don’t know how many times this month alone I’ve been to Regina,” the local business owner said.

Baker explained that the association covers four different mechanical trades including plumbing, gas fitting and heating, sheet metal, electrical and refrigeration. It was pointed out that plumbing, gas fitting and heating all go under one trade heading.

The association does a lot of work in terms of apprenticeship training programs, he said, which includes running training seminars, and MCAS has its own training centre that it operates and shares with SaskEnergy. The Crown corporation uses the centre for its trainees.

According to the president, the association’s role is to continue to make improvements in the four mechanical trades under its canopy to keep the industry moving in a positive direction in terms of innovation and safety.

“What happens with the board of directors is we all contribute to the betterment of our industry, and how we can improve and help other contractors,” said Baker, who recognized that the group gets to help with regulations to stay modern.

The organization represents 160 member companies with approximately 50 associates and a recent legal change to the association’s constitution would allow the organization to add 10 other professional groups as members. For example, those groups could include mechanical engineers or accountants, he said.

After his two terms as president are up, Baker will take over another crucial role for the organization as he looks forward to serving two years as the Saskatchewan representative with the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada.

Baker and his wife first moved to Swift Current about 35 years ago where they lived for one year before moving up to Kindersley. They then moved further north up to Luseland where he started his plumbing and heating business before later moving the business to Kindersley.

Writing president’s messages to association members, lobbying government, attending meetings and making appearances on behalf of the provincial organization are all part of the job for Baker, but he also gets to attend special functions to hand out awards.

He presented two awards to local individuals at the apprenticeship awards banquet in Regina from September, one for plumbing and one for sheet metal. He even had the honour of presenting an awards to one of his own Luk Plumbing and Heating employees. Jarvis Rye, who is also Baker’s son-in-law, received the top mark in the province for his fourth-year sheet metal apprenticeship studies.

“To me, it was a real honour,” he added, joking that the results were not fixed and could be proven because Rye had earned the award through his testing. “It was more than a pleasant surprise. Let’s put in that way.”

Rye said he now has his journeyman trade papers in both the plumbing, heating and gas fitting, and the sheet metal trades. He recognized that it was great to get an award that he had no idea was coming.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but it was nice to get for sure,” he said, adding that “it was more of a special moment” for him to be presented an award from his boss and father-in-law, who happened to be MCAS president during the 2011 apprenticeship awards.

He noted that he completed the fourth-year of his sheet metal apprenticeship in February and having his journeyman papers in two trades would allow him to learn more and do more in terms of mechanical contracting.

“I enjoy doing the sheet metal and building things,” Rye added, noting that he wanted to receive more sheet metal training in order to have a better understanding for how to do the work.

Reprinted With Permission from The Kindersley Clarion