Driekast is a combination mechanical piping/plumbing contractor that has been in business for more than 30 years. Experienced in both the public and private sectors, HVAC installation, hydronics, plumbing, and process piping systems are the company’s forte. They are experienced in a wide variety of piping, including carbon steel, copper, stainless steel, PVC, fiberglass, lined piping, and polypropylene.
Driekast is a certified service-disabled veteran-owned small business and a veteran-friendly business enterprise, and that’s exactly why its co-owner, Marc Gosney, makes an excellent employer for those who have graduated from the Veterans in Piping (VIP) program. Marc Gosney has more than 15 years of experience in the piping industry. He graduated at the top of his apprenticeship class at Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 392 in Cincinnati, OH. He worked for 11 years as a foreman/superintendent and six years in project management and estimating—a strong testament to what veterans can accomplish in the building trades. Although Marc was not fortunate enough to go through the Veterans in Piping (VIP) program, as an Army veteran, he has been a strong advocate for those coming through the program, making room for apprentices and graduates to hone their crafts within his company.
Marc got into the trades by accident. He had been a helicopter mechanic in the Army. He met Matt Taylor, Local 392’s training coordinator, through a mutual friend. They got together one afternoon when Marc returned from Iraq, and Matt asked him what he was going to do. Marc told him that he had no idea. Matt replied, “Why don’t you become a pipefitter? We’ve got a good pension plan and great benefits. It’s a good job. You know, you’re working with your hands all the time.” At the time, Marc said he had no idea what a pipefitter even did, but it piqued his interest. He went through the interview process and was chosen for the next apprenticeship class. He turned out as a journeyman in 2009 and spent roughly eight years with the same company. Marc and two friends in the trades wanted to start their own company. As fate happened, Marc and his partners dis-covered a company in the area for sale that already had an established name. Through some creative financing, as Marc described it, they were able to purchase the company.
He said, “In 2018, I left a company at which I was a foreman/superintendent and took the leap to own my own company.” Driekast employs between 40 and 50 employees.
“When we bought this company,” Marc continued, “what was really important to us was the way the employees would be treated. My partners and I felt that some owners look down on blue-collar workers. If one of my guys has an issue, it becomes my issue, because I want them to succeed. I don’t want anyone to get hurt. I want everyone to go home to their families. I want to make sure that everyone’s head is in the game, because in our industry, there are a lot of moments that can ruin your day or ruin your life. So, I want my employees to be completely focused. If they need a day off because they’re stressed out because of whatever—it’s OK. I don’t want anyone to jeopardize the guy who is working next to them. Things happen. Sometimes, your wife might need you to stay home because she has to go to work, and the kids are sick. You shouldn’t feel guilty.”
As an Army veteran, hiring other veterans is important to Marc. He said, “When you’re in that transition period, a lot of veterans are still used to the military way of doing things. I break down every project into a mission. When you’re in transition from doing something 24/7 to having a job eight hours a day, that transition takes some time. You have to almost deprogram yourself. The discipline of the Army teaches you that if you’re supposed to be somewhere at 5:00 a.m., you’ll be there at 4:45. If you have to work long hours, veterans don’t care. They have done this for years. There is a tremendous work ethic. Veterans are taught to listen and understand directions one time. It could mean a life-or-death situation. Most veterans could probably, verbatim, repeat exactly what they were just told. They bring motivation and morale and drive to a lot of groups. They are just a great asset to our company, to the UA, and contractors alike. I wish there were more of them.”
Tyler Wade has been fortunate to work for Driekast as a first-year apprentice. He graduated from the Camp Pendleton VIP welding program with two welding certifications. Local 392 training coordinator Matt Taylor reached out to Marc Gosney about employing Tyler, and without hesitation, Marc agreed. Matt Taylor said, “When Marc hires an apprentice, he expects them to work hard, but he is going to teach them a lot too, so it’s a win-win situation. It’s really nice to have a contractor owner who is a veteran, because a guy like Tyler, I’m not sure what he’s been through, but Marc does.”
As a Marine, Tyler was involved in special operations command. He was enlisted for four years. He was deployed to the Philippines and came home in December. Ten days later, he went into the VIP welding program on base. The day he graduated from the VIP program was the day he was released from the Marine Corps, and the following day he arrived in Cincinnati. Seven days later, he started working. At Driekast, Tyler has been traveling from job to job with a journeyman, Derek, who had been a teacher at Local 392 as well. Tyler stated that Derek is an excellent teacher on the road, and he’s allowing Tyler to weld as much as possible. When Tyler looks at his career path, he under-stands about long-term goals. “I’m still really, really new to all of this. I am just going to take it one day at a time and do the very best that I can do every day.
This United Association Veterans In Piping Success Story was originally printed in the CareerOps: Career Opportunities in Piping for Transitioning Veterans Spring/Summer 2021 edition.