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The Volk Plumbing Story

The Genesis of Volk Plumbing

It started in 1945 at the end of World War II.  My Grandpa, Joseph Volk, was stationed at Pearl Harbor.  On his way back to Gary, Indiana, after his honorable discharge from the Army, he had a layover in California.  Shortly after he returned to his wife and newborn son, who is Uncle Bart. My Grandpa decided to leave the steel mills, brutal winters, and humid summers for Southern California. 

It was a time of great optimism and opportunity. Southern California was experiencing one of the biggest housing booms in history.  With his strong work ethic and mechanical aptitude, he got a job as a carpenter for Harry Barkalow. One day while working in the hot sun, he saw a plumber sitting in the shade installing some pipe.  He thought, “That is the job for me.”

He had heard that the government was giving out tools to G.I.'s, so he spoke to his boss, Harry. Harry tried but was unable to get the tools he wanted. My Grandpa called an old army buddy who said, “I will talk to my friend.”  His friend was General Omar Bradley.  My Grandpa got a toolbox full of tools. These tools still exist with Volk Plumbing to this day.

 

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CONTINUED

A short time after receiving his tools he contacted the local plumber’s union and was put to work. At this time plumbing was much more labor-intensive. Big jobs would have a hundred or more plumbers on them.  Today a big plumbing job may only have 12-30 plumbers.
 

The late 1950s and early 1960s were very exciting times to grow up in Southern California.  My Dad, Vince, grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Eagle Rock High School. They lived so close to the new Dodger Stadium that my Dad and Grandma attended the first game, which then, was the new Dodger Stadium. A few years after Dodger Stadium was completed my Grandma started working there. She actually got to know the legendary Vin Scully on a first-name basis.

 

My Dad graduated high school in 1965 just as the Vietnam War was ramping up. After attending LA City College for a year he enlisted in the US Navy. In January 1968 he went on active duty and shipped out to Pearl Harbor. Shortly after arriving at his ship the USS Epperson, they shipped out to the Tonkin Gulf and their duty station off the coast of Vietnam. January 31, 1968, the Tet Offensive began. My Dad remembers being woken up in the middle of the night and running to his battle station in his underwear and boots. Little did he know he was participating in the largest military campaign of the Vietnam war in his underwear. His ship won the Bronze Star that night. Then proceeded to set a record for most shots fired in a seven-month deployment. Over 16,000 shots were fired.

 

After an honorable discharge from the Navy in January 1970. My Dad returned home to California. After a short stint working for the SoCal Gas company, my Dad got into Local 78 Plumber Union as an apprentice. During this time he met my Mom and was married a short time later. A year after that I was born at Cedars of Lebanon hospital in Hollywood, CA. My Dad worked most of his apprenticeship on the Security Pacific Bank building, which for a while was the tallest building in Los Angeles.

 

During his apprenticeship, Vince also went to welding school. After “turning out” finishing his apprenticeship the country was in a recession. Unemployment was high and jobs were tough to find.  After the completion of the Security Pacific Bank Building he was laid off, not for long. With his welding credentials, he was able to get a job at the Douglas Oil Company refinery in South Gate. After several other projects over the next couple of years, he found himself working for one of the largest residential plumbing companies in the country, Safeway Plumbing.  After 4-1/2 years working for Safeway, it was time to start Volk Plumbing.

 

After settling in Thousand Oaks, CA in 1976. My Dad while working his regular work week started Volk Plumbing as a side job.  As his reputation grew in the community his side job overtook his full-time job. In 1982 Volk Plumbing Inc became his full-time endeavor. Through the '1980s he made a name for Volk Plumbing in the commercial and industrial side of the industry. At the same time keeping a steady workload of custom homes.

 

Throughout the 1980's I worked for Volk Plumbing as a shop boy and pre-apprentice. I cut my teeth on getting to know materials and fittings very well by clean trucks and stocking material. At this time I was also working in the fabrication assembling water services, fabricating waste and gas systems. I would work for weeks at a time cutting and threading pipe along with soldering water services. From time to time I was able to work in the field. I had the fortune of being able to master the art of the mud wrench, also known as a shovel. I was a human backhoe. At the time I did not think it was all that much fun. However, I learned the importance of mastering the fundamentals. 

 

The early '90s brought a crippling recession and a football scholarship for me. Like many other companies in the early '90s, Volk Plumbing reinvented itself. Volk Plumbing dropped the residential side of its niche and focused on commercial and industrial plumbing. 

 

After graduating from college in the late '90s I returned to California and rejoined Volk Plumbing.  During the mid to late '90s, the San Fernando Valley was rebuilding itself from the Northridge. Into the late '90s, Volk Plumbing built a reputation in the dental and health care construction industry for building complex dental and medical facilities. We also built a relationship with Subway sandwich shops that lasted for almost 10 years. In that time Volk Plumbing plumbed over 50 restaurants. 

 

All throughout the early '2000s, Volk Plumbing built many medical and dental facilities along with many large commercial tilt-up buildings and commercial business parks.

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OUR WORK OVER THE YEARS

"The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have."

—Vince Lombardi

1971- 1975

Security Pacific Bank 57 Story High Rise Office Building

1975 - 1978

Cedar Sinai Medical Center, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Douglas Oil Refinery ( Fitter-Welder)

1978 - 1983

Budweiser Brewery (Fitter-Welder), Foremen Trac Housing and Apartment Housing

1983 - 1986

Multi –Unit Condos, Custom Homes

1987 - 1992

Cal Lutheran University Dormitory Building , Chapel, Humanities Building. Occidental College Art Center and Library

1993 - 1995

42,000 Square Foot  Custom Home Complex 49 Toilet Rooms for HRH Turki Bin Nasser Abudulaziz AL Saud, Beverly Hills, California

1995 - 1998

64 Unit Condo Complex  Earthquake Related Repairs and Complete Re-pipe

1995 - 2004

Subway Sandwich Store Construction (approximately 30-40 units) 

1992 - 2018

Dental Office Construction (approximately 40+ dental offices)

1999 - 2004

Rose Avenue Shopping Center, Oxnard, California, 15 Building  Industrial Complex Oxnard, California, 180,000 Square Foot 7 

2005 - 2008

4 Building 32 Unit Industrial Building Complex, Camarillo, Calfornia, Van Nuys Airport Industrial Building, Van Nuys, California. Experior Photonics Building and Process Piping.

2002 - 2004

St. John’s Medical Center

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Education, Certifications, & Licenses

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CERTIFICATIONS & LICENSES

California State Plumbing Contractor C-36

California State Sewer Contractor C-42

City of Los Angeles Journeyman Plumbing License

Certified Pipe Welder

Certified Pipe Brazer

Certified Medical Gas Installer
Backflow Repair, Test and Install Certified

Texas State Plumbing Lic

Missouri Plumbing Lic

Tennessee Plumbing Lic

Illinois State Plumbing Lic

IICRC WRT Certified Residential and Commercial

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1987 - 1992

Cal Lutheran University Dormitory Building , Chapel, Humanities Building. Occidental College Art Center and Library

1993 - 1995

42,000 Square Foot  Custom Home Complex 49 Toilet Rooms for HRH Turki Bin Nasser Abudulaziz AL Saud, Beverly Hills, California

1995 - 1998

64 Unit Condo Complex  Earthquake Related Repairs and Complete Re-pipe

1995 - 2004

Subway Sandwich Store Construction (approximately 30-40 units) 

2004 - 2013

Gateway One Building maintenance Repair and Construction 18 Story Office Building

2008 - 2013

600 Washington Building Maintenance Repair and Construction 26 Story Office Building.

2008 - 2013

DEA Building Maintenance Repair and Construction 6 Story Office Building

2004 - 2013

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Headquarters Building Maintenance and Construction 10 Story Office Building

2005 - 2015

Starbucks Coffee Maintenance and Repair

2016 - 2017

Conejo Merchant Business Park 30 unit Business Complex

2017

Pacific Water Plant and Headquarters