On the 12th of August a reporter and photographer from Installer Magazine came up from the West Country to Calderdale to interview and film Hattie, our founder, as she worked with Stopcocks Heating Engineer Jade Adams on two old and awkward boilers in an historic church.
Little did Hattie know, but she was going to receive an Installer MERIT award and this was just part of the plan…
Joe from Installer had been plotting with Mica who runs Stopcocks for a few weeks and luring Hattie to the church was just part of the plan….
The magazine had created a new award that recognised plumbers and heating engineers who’ve done something extraordinary as a highlight of the Installer 2019 Show. Unlike many awards in our industry it isn’t to celebrate beautiful pipework, nor is it a social media popularity contest.
The Installer MERIT recognises plumbers going ‘over and above’, something beyond being good at our jobs or active on Twitter.
Each of the three awards given are to recognise individuals for something specific they’ve done, not to satisfy certain categories. The other two awards were given to Mark Grieves for community service and promoting best practice in heating and plumbing and Tom Selby for charitable work to raise money for cancer treatment.
Believing that she was the subject of an interview, Hattie and Jade were both filmed talking about their work, why they do it and Stopcocks. Because the reason for the award was to recognise Hattie’s work ‘promoting diversity and the role of women in the heating and plumbing industry’ Hattie was asked about why she took the direction she has; going from a self-employed plumber and heating engineer to running the only national franchise of women plumbers in the world and being the voice of women in our industry.
When asked about Hattie’s impact Jade said.
“People like Hattie Hasan and organisations like Stopcocks are making it easier everyday by promoting and living by the idea that we can be better together. My advice to any woman considering joining our industry is to just do it.” says Jade.
“ Hattie’s a problem solver; she sees a problem and she simply has to fix it. She saw that the numbers of women in the industry weren’t growing and that this was being ignored. She has been working on fixing that since about 2006. Hattie has a massive influence on people she’s never even met. This award is brilliant recognition of everything she’s been doing unseen, since she started. Now, thanks to Hattie, women in our industry are seen.” says Mica
Hattie was nominated for the Installer MERIT when someone heard her being harangued as she patiently made her case for raising the numbers of women in the industry. He realised that was a common experience for her although he was tempted to ’punch the guy’.
Hattie does get bored of people asking whether women ’can’ be plumbers and even some saying women ’can’t’ be plumbers. The numbers may be low but women clearly ‘can’ be excellent plumbers and heating engineers. It’s time for the conversation to move on now to removing some of the reasons the numbers of women in the industry are still so low (unknown but guessed to be at around 1% of all plumbers and 500 out of 100,000 registered gas engineers).
‘Some women who came to the first conference told us they’d never actually met another woman plumber’ says Hattie.
Women Installers Together Conference
Hattie started Stopcocks as a national company when she realised the barriers she’d encountered while training and failing to get a job back in the late 80’s and early 90’s were still as strong as back then, but she started the Women Installers Together Conference in 2017 to celebrate the women succeeding and thriving in the industry. There’s major shift of emphasis here, that comes from having made a dent and being intent on capitalising on the leverage of her position.
The WIT Conference is supported entirely by sponsors from within the industry and organiser Mica is gearing up for its third year with it now becoming a regular feature of the plumbing year. She goes on to say
‘We’re really grateful to all the sponsors, especially Vaillant who were the very first to put their hand in their pocket and say this is worth doing and Polypipe, who as event partner have provided great support and coached me through organising the first conference but also we couldn’t have done it without the coverage given by the industry magazines shining a light on the changes’.
Change indeed, having been working unnoticed or being trolled and criticised for doing it, to too many magazine interviews to keep track of, radio ‘appearances’ at least once month, Hattie is a published author (of the Joy of Plumbing) she performed a week of comedy at the Edinburgh fringe (Plumbing the Depths) and has now been recognisedly her own industry.
“We’re going from strength to strength, the time is NOW!”
A very few tickets are still available for this year’s conference on 4th July in London here