A Master in the Making


Johnson wrenches her way into the male-dominated field of plumbing

It may be surprising to hear that being a plumber is a fantastic career for consideration. There is job security: Everyone needs a plumber every once in a while.

Ana Lisa Johnson graduated from high school just two years ago and is well on her way to becoming
a certified plumber.

“I love the fun of it,” Johnson said when asked why she chose this field. “The problem-solving, every
day being different, it is never boring.”

Johnson attended the Greater Michigan Construction Academy for plumbing straight out of high school and now is working with master plumbers, as well as tackling some jobs on her own. She now works for the Meridian Co. in East Lansing.

“The fact that I get to meet so many different people and see them as they are; I mean you’re going into their safe place, their home, so you’re really seeing them,” she said.

Taking it a step further, Johnson is hoping to start her own business someday. Her mother is the main inspiration for this dream. Having a mother who started her own business, Johnson grew up with that influence, helping with the farm business from an early age.

Johnson wishes to keep up the trend by having a business to share with her own family and hopefully pass it down to her own children. But right now, she is just focusing on the journeyman test for becoming certified.

“It’s a far-off dream right now.” Johnson said about having her own business someday. “I have to become
a master plumber first!”

Becoming a master plumber is the next step up from being certified; however, Johnson has plenty of encouragement in her endeavors. Besides her mom, her boss is another person who inspires her.

“Jim Phillipich and the other master plumbers here inspire me to go above and beyond with each project,” Johnson said, “not only to make it work but to make it look professional.”

When asked if she had any advice for woman with dreams of delving into a male-dominated field, she had a couple tips.

“Go for it. There are always stories that the guys aren’t going to let you do what you want to do,” Johnson said. “They’re going to put you down because you’re a woman. That hasn’t been my experience at the Meridian Co. The guys stood behind me and helped me get to where I am. They were very supportive. Don’t be afraid of it, just do it. “

And another piece of advice: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all work as a team here, and that is how it should be,” said Johnson. “The best businesses are run by teams not individuals.”


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