Lt. Governor Phil Scott works at plumbing, heating and fuel company
September 23, 2013 – Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor got his hands dirty and got an inside look at the heating oil market on Wednesday while working at Kelly Fuels and Quality Plumbing & Heating in Bennington.
Lt. Gov. Scott “showed up for work right on time” at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 18, and immediately got on the job servicing a newly installed energy efficient heating system at a customer’s home, said company owner Steve Goodrich. “He wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, that’s for sure. He vacuumed out the flues, cleaned the burner, even set it up with the electronic combustion analyzer. Most importantly, though, is that he asked questions to make sure he was doing it right. That’s the first thing we look for in potential employees, and he passed that test with flying colors.”
Goodrich noted that the Lt. Governor’s follow-up questions led to a “light bulb” moment when he asked about the dent the energy efficient system he just serviced made in the customer’s heating bill. “When he came back we looked at the oil consumption of that residence before and after the unit went in and he was amazed at the 48 percent cut in their oil bill.”
Lt. Gov. Scott got another look at the cost of heating fuel when the company handed him the reins and let him actually make a purchase on the futures market. “Before he pushed the button we went over what the price of oil was that day and what we have to do to that oil to put it in someone’s barrel at a profit,” Goodrich said. “I think he got a feel for just how much goes into that decision: the cost of transport, getting it to the customer on time, simply getting it moving. It’s a lot.”
While the job gave him a full day of work and a lot to think about, it was the dedication of the employees that gave him the most valuable insight. “The thing that struck me the most is just how much these employees are invested in not only the company, but the community,” Lt. Gov. Scott said. “Every member of the crew I worked with was Bennington born and raised, and they really give a lot back to the town.”
Lt. Gov. Scott commented on the company’s practice of saving usable burners when they change out a customer’s heating system as an example of how local Vermont businesses are crucial to a town’s sense of community. “They take those good parts and clean them up on their own shop time, make sure the parts are safe and get them in working order. Then, if a customer needs a burner, they simply give them that good-as-new one rather than a bunch of repair bills that could be avoided with, well, a new burner.”
Wednesday’s shift at the Bennington plumbing, heating and fuel company is part of Lt. Gov. Scott’s “Vermont Everyday Jobs” initiative, which he started in 2011. Scott has worked more than 27 such jobs so far in a wide variety of organizations, ranging from beekeeping to manufacturing to health care. These hands-on experiences have given Scott a personal appreciation for how state government can address the true concerns of Vermont businesses, their owners and employees.
For more information about the initiative and previous jobs, please visit the Lt. Governor’s website.