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Facts About the First Black, Female Master Plumber

Celebrate Adrienne Bennett for Black History Month 

Being the first in any industry can be a difficult road to travel. Even today, while diversity is celebrated, certain industries are overwhelmingly dominated by men, women, or other demographics. The plumbing industry is a prime example of a service that men overwhelmingly dominate, so becoming a plumber can be a major milestone for a woman. 

While the glass ceiling for plumbers was shattered in the early 1950s, women have never become a mainstay in the plumbing industry. It wasn’t until 1987 that the color barrier was broken for women. This is the story of Adrienne Bennett, a native of Detroit, who fought for years to become the first licensed female master plumber. Celebrate Black History Month with these facts about the amazing woman. 

Where She Started 

As a child growing up in Detroit, Bennett knew she would excel working with her hands. She remembers her favorite hobby being putting together models. The Apollo lunar lander was her favorite. She excelled in the STEM fields in school and intended to pursue a degree in engineering. As a college student, she quickly realized how discriminatory the engineering field could be and shied away. 

It wasn’t until a few years later and after a few other jobs that she came back to the field that she loved so much. While at a campaign rally, she ran into a local plumbing union representative recruiting women to work in the field. Enticed by the starting salary and paid experience, she accepted the offer of a grant to get her started. 

Apprentice to Master Plumbercontractor

Plumbing apprenticeships last for several years, and there were no exceptions made for Bennett. She recalls the long and exhausting days spent on her feet, often as the only woman on a huge job site. Putting up with discrimination and doubt from men became part of her daily job, but she made it a point never to be bothered by the naysayers. 

After completing her internship with the local plumbing union, she became eligible to sit for the master plumber’s test. She passed it on the first try, a feat that should not be ignored. Holding the highest level of licensure in the plumbing industry opened her up to different career paths. Since becoming a master plumber, she has held titles such as: 

  • Project manager
  • Plumbing inspector
  • Code enforcement officer for the City of Detroit 

While her career ambitions lead her to these new, ground-breaking opportunities, her career has culminated in becoming a successful independent contractor. 


Independent Contractor

As a mother, what is better than being able to work with family? Despite the hard years of being an apprentice plumber, Bennett used her family as motivation to persevere. Now that her kids are all grown up, she can work independently with her sons in her favorite industry. Founding Benkari Plumbing allows her to contribute to the revitalization of Detroit while also sharing her accomplishments and expertise with her sons. 

About Cajun Maintenance

Cajun Maintenance offers customers residential and commercial plumbing services in Denham Springs, LA. Their qualified technicians offer fast responses for emergencies like burst pipes and clogged toilets. Call today for guaranteed service and upfront pricing.