Plumbing Is a Family Affair
KnT Plumbing Inc. aims to grow medical gas business
At KnT Plumbing Inc., work is a family affair in more ways than one.
The Colorado Springs, Colorado, plumbing company is family owned. Wife and husband Emily and Kyle McIntyre formed the company in September 2019. Now, with 14 employees, the couple counts their son, daughter and two sons-in-law among their plumbing professionals.
In 2017, Kyle was recruited from Arizona to Colorado Springs to work for a plumbing company that was installing a medical gas project at UCHealth Highlands Ranch Hospital. He’d been a union plumber for about 17 years and liked the camaraderie he found in fellow union members. He also appreciated that union members tended to treat one another like family. For instance, in addition to working jobs together, they celebrated birthdays, holidays and weddings together.
“The union members we knew made sure that each of us had the support we needed in life,” says Emily, CEO of KnT Plumbing. “If people were experiencing a rough time in their personal lives, we helped each other through it. Otherwise, the negativity might affect them in the workplace.”
Respect and Inclusion
When Emily and Kyle decided to start their own company, they wanted to create that same kind of family atmosphere. “We wanted a company where everyone was respected and an integral part of our operation,” Emily says.
Emily’s background includes 13 years in the National Guard as a combat medic and a number of years writing grant proposals for government funds. She thought that she and Kyle—a master plumber certified in medical gas—could compete for specialized work in the government contracting arena.
KnT Plumbing has two business designations that have helped to land these types of government contracts— Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).
The company has been competitive from the beginning. KnT Plumbing earned $266,000 in revenue in its first three months of operation in 2019. Emily projects the company’s revenues will be close to $900,000 in 2020. Employees have earned more than $15,000 in bonuses so far.
Approximately 5% of KnT Plumbing’s work is residential, 70% is commercial and the remainder is medical gas installations, a niche specialty within the plumbing business.
Custom Plumbing Jobs
The company’s residential plumbing work is generated mostly by word-of-mouth, and it takes on a fair share of routine plumbing jobs. KnT Plumbing truly excels, though, in custom plumbing assignments.
“We’re currently doing a custom bathroom in one house that has involved moving an existing shower head to a new location and installing a large bathtub in the middle of the room. It was tricky because we needed to reroute piping and conceal it for a clean look,” Emily says. “We also installed a Bluetooth system, triggered by cellphone, to operate the showers so that the water is just the right temperature when the owners enter the bathroom.”
Other residential work includes kitchen remodels and design-build projects. “We like doing design-build projects and working with clients to find creative solutions based on their budgets,” Emily says. “Using our blend of business operations, project management, financial and plumbing experience, we operate our business with a lean operating principle. This allows our clients to experience cost-effective plumbing services at an affordable price. As a family-owned business, we offer a personalized experience to ensure clients’ satisfaction.”
Growth in Medical Gas
This attention to client satisfaction carries over to the company’s work in medical gas installations, an area the company wishes to grow. “Installations include piping systems for oxygen, nitrogen and other medical gases in facilities like doctors’ offices, nursing homes, operating rooms, hospital patient rooms and more,” Emily says.
Medical gas installations can be complex, and the work must be performed to exacting specifications.
Late last year, KnT Plumbing installed all of the plumbing and medical gas for Highlands Dentists, a full-service dental practice serving the North Denver region and neighboring communities.
“We set up the system to be both stationary and portable so dentists and technicians could move equipment around where it’s needed,” she says.
Currently, KnT Plumbing is installing the water and medical gas plumbing systems at BioLife Plasma Services, an Aurora, Colorado, facility dedicated to collecting plasma in a safe, clean environment. Collected plasma is processed into a variety of lifesaving therapeutics.
The company is also installing the medical gas system at Octapharma Plasma in Aurora, Colorado, another plasma collection center.
Emily and Kyle believe in investing in the education of their employees. The company plans to pay tuition and fees so that all employees can become certified in medical gas. Some workers are also working to become journeyman plumbers.
“By being specialized, this will help us attain more medical gas business. We should be able to take on more and much larger projects,” Emily says. “We’ll support our workers to help them do whatever they need to do to become successful.”
The McIntyres also believe in supporting their community. “We’re partnering with an organization called The Place, which supports homeless teens and young adults with apprenticeship employment opportunities,” Emily says. KnT Plumbing has identified two teens with The Place who will begin apprenticeships with the plumbing company.
“Homelessness is a problem, period. A lot of these kids are aging out of the foster care system, and they’ve been given a rough start in life,” she explains. “Because youth are our future, we think we should help them get off the streets by giving them opportunities to support themselves.
“We’re also looking to support other organizations whose goals are to help young adults, women who’ve been victims of domestic abuse and veterans…to help them become productive and more economically stable. It’s just the right thing to do.”