Interview with PHCC GSA Training Facility Top Scoring Student Alan Van Brunt by Tracy Threlfall, CEO

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It was our pleasure to interview Alan Van Brunt, the top scoring student in track 4.1 of the PHCC GSA Training Facility.  Enrolled in the plumbing apprenticeship program in January 2019, Van Brunt is a 4th year student, and is employed with JR Pierce Plumbing Co, Inc in Rocklin CA.

When Van Brunt learned about plumbing in 2019, he was doing glazing work, and considered it ‘robotic ’, and another in a series of jobs that didn’t interest him.  Van Brunt had never had any interest in plumbing but had a friend who owned a plumbing company who encouraged him to give it a try.  Van Brunt shared that from the beginning, he was engaged and realized that plumbing was a skill that required critical thinking.  Per Van Brunt, ‘It’s like a puzzle, and very engaging.  Then I just started seeing how rewarding it was, and how happy the customers are when you help them resolve their issues’.

When asked about his experience at the PHCC GSA Training Facility, Van Brunt shared, ‘The school has been amazing.  It’s helped me with my career.  I’m the go to guy on the jobsite, and get asked questions about plumbing processes and procedures, such as ‘Is this legal, is this the code?”  Van Brunt continued, ‘It’s a good feeling, to be able to help with that knowledge that I learned with the PHCC GSA Training Facility.’ Van Brunt started his career in residential plumbing but has progressed into multi-family housing and new construction as his knowledge and skill level has increased as a result of his training.

Van Brunt received help from the national PHCC Educational Foundation when he secured a $2,500 scholarship in 2020. The next year he earned the Foundation’s highest scholarship that provided $10,000 to use toward his apprenticeship expenses. ‘We get over 150 scholarship applicants each year, so you really have to prove your worth to the selection committee to get that top award,’ said John Zink, VP of Development and Communications for the Foundation.

‘I am very grateful for all the support I have been given’ said Van Brunt.

When asked if plumbing had affected his lifestyle, Van Brunt replied, ‘I look forward to going to work every day, it’s allowed me to provide for my family in a way that I’ve never been able to before.  It’s provided opportunities for growth on a regular basis.’  Van Brunt continued, ‘Living in California, I’m able to sustain and provide for a family of five on a single income.  This career allows my wife to be a stay-at-home mom with the baby.  I’ve been in many jobs, and had many careers, like glazing, construction, some sales, some managing, and this is by far the most successful for me.’

Van Brunt volunteers with people who are at-risk, from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the formerly incarcerated.  He advises them that if they’re looking for a career that is challenging and rewarding at the same time, and benefits others on a regular basis, this is that career.  Per Van Brunt, ‘Every day you show up to the job you’re helping someone, and this has the potential to completely turn someone’s life around’.


To learn more about training with the PHCC GSA Training Facility, visit or email To learn more about training with our PHCC Local Chapters across the state, visit