Meet the First American Black Woman to Become a Master Plumber

Get to Know Plumbing Pioneer Adrienne Bennett

It’s no secret that the plumbing industry has traditionally been one that largely attracts male employees. After all, plumbing can be dirty and physically demanding work. But in the United States, women have gotten increasingly involved in the industry. And along with gender barriers, Adrienne Bennett made history by becoming the first female African American to become a master plumber. Read on to learn more about Adrienne and her meteoric rise through the plumbing industry since 1976. 

Getting Her Start

Adrianne Bennett’s journey into the plumbing industry was anything but smooth. As a child, Bennett was naturally interested in how things worked. She would buy model aircraft as a child because she liked putting them together. Naturally, this made her want to pursue an engineering degree through a Detroit engineering firm. She applied for a position in the entry-level program, which would provide a pathway to a mechanical engineering degree from Lawrence Technology University. However, this wasn’t to be. Racism reared its ugly head in a confrontation with an employee at the engineering firm. This crushed Bennett and she left the program. But she didn’t stay down for long. 

In 1976, a recruiter working for the Mechanical Contractors Association of Detroit approached Bennett about an apprenticeship program for the skilled trades. After learning a little more about it, Bennett tested for the five-year program — and she passed.  

From Apprentice to Inspector and Beyond

contractorBennett was not afraid to work hard, and she wasn’t about to let a few bad apples run her out of the plumbing apprenticeship program. Almost all the other people in the program were men, and she had to put up with more than her fair share of speed bumps along the way. She weathered bullying, hostility, and even sexual harassment. But she worked hard, passing exams and receiving high marks from her instructors. 

At 30, Bennett had logged her 4,000 hours and passed her exam to become a Master Plumber — the first African American Master Plumber in U.S. history. But her accomplishments didn’t end there. Over her career, she worked as a code enforcement officer, project manager, journeyman plumber, and plumbing inspector. Even if Bennett herself shrugs off the praise, her resilience, and dedication are nothing short of awesome. 

Adrienne Bennett Today

contractorWhen she received the blow of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1995, Bennett had to take a step back from her work for the city of Detroit. At that point, she felt there was only one thing left to do in her career: start her own company. In 2008, she launched the plumbing contractor and water conservation company Benkari with her son.

Today, Adrienne Bennett is still working as the CEO of Benkari, LLC. Her company has been heavily involved in rebuilding Detroit. And her example as a highly successful Black woman in an industry traditionally dominated by men stands tall for people of all races and genders. She works to advocate safer conditions for women and serves as a community leader in Detroit.  

About Allore’s Plumbing Services LLC

Allore’s Plumbing Services LLC has provided Stuart, FL, with expert plumbing assistance for over 30 years. The veteran-owned and operated company is known for its knowledgeable and friendly technicians. They also provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job! Call now for plumbing service!

Distribution Links +