A. O. Smith awards five scholarships to students pursuing trade careers


Ashland City, Tenn.  – A. O. Smith, the leading manufacturer of hot water systems for homes and businesses, has partnered with the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (PHCC) Educational Foundation to award scholarships to five outstanding students in pursuit of careers as plumbing and mechanical professionals.

The Charlie Wallace Service Scholarship and A. O. Smith Scholarship are $2,500 individual awards given to top-performing students enrolled in a plumbing-heating-cooling related course of study.  

Charlie Wallace Service Award Scholarships
This is the second year A. O. Smith and PHCC have partnered to fund the Charlie Wallace Service scholarships, named after the former COO of PHCC Quality Service Contractors who served as a prominent leader in the industry for 17 years. This year’s winners are Grace Brekke of Oakland, Calif., and Elpidio Arroyo of Santa Ana, Calif..

Brekke is studying construction management at California Polytech State University, San Luis Obsipo. She plans to use the PHCC scholarship to become a project manager at a construction company. Arroyo is studying plumbing installation and repair at PHCC Orange County/San Bernardino Apprentice School. He plans to use his education to become up-to-date with the laws, regulations, codes and technology affiliated with the plumbing trade.

A. O. Smith Scholarship Awards
This is the 14th year for the A. O. Smith Scholarship Award. This year’s award winners are Ronald Butkus of Wausau, Wis., Travis Durkee of Poway, Calif., and Isaia Ferarita of Riverside, Calif.. 

Butkus is studying plumbing installation, service and repair at North Central Technical College in Wausau. After the program, he plans to pursue a journeyman plumber certification and open an independent plumbing and mechanical business. Durkee is studying plumbing installation, service and repair at the PHCC San Diego. He intends to become a master plumber and transition into a management position. Ferarita is studying plumbing installation, service and repair at PHCC Orange County/San Bernardino Apprentice School. With the PHCC scholarship, he plans to become certified as a plumber and become a city inspector. 

“It is truly an honor to work with such intelligent, driven and ambitious students,” said David Chisolm, vice president of marketing at A. O. Smith. “We are proud to sponsor a scholarship that strengthens the industry by supporting highly qualified students entering a career in the trades.”

About PHCC Educational Foundation
The PHCC Educational Foundation, a partnership of contractors, manufacturers, and wholesalers, was founded in 1987 to serve the plumbing-heating-cooling industry by preparing contractors and their employees to meet the challenges of a constantly changing marketplace. Students interested in pursuing a career in the plumbing or HVACR professions are invited to visit phccfoundation.org for information on 2016 scholarships.