Mission trip challenges employees of Specialized Plumbing Technologies to work as a team to provide others with basic life necessities.
When Justin Mizell was looking for a way for Specialized Plumbing Technologies employees to give back by volunteering on a project, he knew right away what to choose — building homes and providing safe drinking water for a community in Nicaragua.
Mizell and seven employees from the Sarasota, Florida, company went on a trip this spring organized by Waves of Love, a nonprofit that focuses on community-based efforts to provide everyone with life’s basic needs. The workers built five homes, two outhouses and an outdoor kitchen area, and installed a water filtration system for a Nicaraguan community.
“When you go there, you realize just how fortunate you are,” says Mizell, executive vice president of Aquam Corporation — SPT’s parent company. “Some people ask why we went there when there are needs here, but there is such a lack of resources in Nicaragua. Workers make $7 or $8 a day and a house can cost $2,500. It’s out of reach.”
SPT employees built five homes with brick walls, tin roofs and cement floors. That’s important, Mizell says, since the area receives heavy rains and less sturdy homes can wash away. Before the project, the community had just a single outhouse, but SPT employees built one for the men and one for the women, again using sturdy materials that will hold up.
“The trip allowed us to give back as a company and challenged our employees to work as a team to provide others with basic life necessities,” he says.
Eight employees went for a week, with two staying a little longer to finish up the project.
Mizell says another key part of the project was installing an individual water filtration system connected to the community’s well, providing residents with safe drinking water.
“Clean drinking water is so important there since diseases can spread through the water,” says Mizell, adding that funding from Aquam Corp. paid for the new filtration system.
Residents access the water through five taps connected to a 55-gallon barrel that holds the filtered well water.
Getting involved in a project that had a water component was a good fit for SPT, which was founded in 1994 and uses Nu Flow technologies to provide investigative and no-dig plumbing using state-of-the art techniques and equipment to investigate, diagnose and handle pipe renewal solutions.
Mizell says the employees on the trip came away changed. “You definitely come back with more than you went with,” he says.
This fall, Mizell hopes to take another group of employees back to Nicaragua. This time, he’s using the trip as an incentive for marketing and sales team members who meet their goals.
“It’s a wonderful reward and the employees really get into it,” Mizell says. “It’s also a great teambuilding project for the employees involved.”
Mizell has been involved with Waves of Love for the past three years and says it was easy to choose that organization when it came to making a decision about having employees volunteer for a mission trip.
“It’s a great organization and the money you donate goes right to the project,” he says. “It’s an organization with very low overhead.”
Waves of Love helped SPT plan and schedule the day-to-day activities so employees could focus on the work.
Aquam’s involvement with Waves of Love began with the purchase of SPT on Sept. 21, 2015.
“We were Nu Flow’s largest licensee,” Mizell says of the company he owned since 2000. “When Aquam acquired Nu Flow Technologies, they came after us.”
Formerly Sleuth Plumbing Technologies, the company was founded in 1994 and rebranded three years ago as Specialized Plumbing Technologies. It has locations in Sarasota, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Naples, Florida; as well as San Diego, California. In addition to trenchless pipe restoration, the company’s services include video pipe inspections, storm drain cleaning and sewer/rodent odor detection plumbing.