Next Gen All Star: Stephen Akian

Age: 33

Company: Akian Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, Watertown, Massachusetts

Title: CEO, or as he likes to call it, CVO (Chief Vision Officer)

How long have you been in the PHCP-PVF industry?

SA: 14 awesome years.

What drew you into the industry?

SA: A man by the name Joe Piccolo (who currently repairs plumbing in heaven) was my grandparents’ neighbor. He was a plumber for as long as I knew him. He raised a beautiful family, had a couple of vacation homes and did very well for himself. In talking to him one day, he mentioned to me, "Why don't you try getting a job as a plumbing apprentice? Try it out!" So I went on Craigslist and posted an ad as a hard-working and fast learner looking for a career in the trades. I got a phone call the next day for a job in Boston, and the rest is history!

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in the industry?

SA: As the leader of this company I am fortunate enough to watch the entire team work together from the phone call coming in, job getting booked, dispatched to the technician, having the plumber or HVAC tech diagnose the problem, fixing it and then getting an online 5-star review for outstanding service! When you get someone's heat or hot water back up and running, there are not many things more satisfying than that. Especially during mid-winter, you feel like a hero.

What is one thing you wish more people knew/understood about the PHCP-PVF industry?

SA: How fulfilling of a career it is. A lot of people talk about all the money you can make in this industry, but the feeling of contribution you get from this industry is second to none. Find the right team and this career will turn into a mission!

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

SA: The whole team banded together and planned a surprise party for me combining a company milestone (our fifth year in business) with my 33rd birthday and it was such a magical evening. A special thank you to my younger brother Alex Akian for that night, it will go down as one of the best nights of my life. He's a great man, and I love him.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

SA: That I'm five years clean! I struggled a lot in my 20s with addiction, and if anyone reads this and needs help, don't be afraid to reach out. Getting the help I needed is and will always be one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I also play guitar!

Why he was chosen as a Next Gen All Star Top 20 Under 40 winner:

“After serving his apprenticeship and learning under some of the best in the Metro Boston area, Steve made the decision five years ago to hang his own hat. Opening his doors with the help of his brother in the field and his mother in the office, Steve made a go for it. He joined several different business groups to help understand and grow the internal workings of the company and started recruiting and hiring employees to get the jobs done. In a short amount of time, Steve grew his company to the large force it is today and has stayed on top of market trends to continually find new revenue streams and ways to keep folks employed in uncertain times. Steve has also stepped up at both the local and state levels of PHCC of Massachusetts and worked tirelessly on the apprentice education tier for the association’s annual trade show. He revamped the program to be more relevant for the students of today and has shown a strong connection in the industry with regard to cultivating student relationships since. He will be a force to watch and someone who is constantly striving to make the reputation of the trade a strong one,” says Kate Tynan of McDonnell Plumbing.