A Full-service Plumber
Dean Turville Owner, Menehune Plumbing
Please tell us about your business. We’re a plumbing company that’s been in business on Kauai since 1988. We do all aspects of plumbing and we work all over the island.
What are some examples of the kind of services you offer? We do every aspect of service work, whether it’s repairing a clogged toilet or a disposal that may have a problem, changing fixtures, total remodels, where you’re changing all the plumbing in the house, new construction, hot water solar system installation, gas lines and much more.
How many plumbers do you have? There are a total of eight plumbers who work for the company, including myself. My employees are longstanding; some of them have been with me about 15 years.
Do you offer any unique services? We try to concentrate on helping people with green technology like solar hot water and other things we can do to help the environment. We try to point out situations we come in contact with that might be harming the environment as well. For example, if someone’s running a pipe out into their yard and draining their kitchen sink from there, we recommend other ways to do things like that and connect it properly. We don’t use harsh chemicals in our service work either.
How did you get into this business? My family had a heating, air conditioning and plumbing company in Utah, and so I had that type of school that I grew up within, learning all aspects of the trade. I also went through an apprenticeship program that took about four-and-half years of school at night while working during the day.
Why did you move to Kauai? I had been traveling to the island on vacation prior to moving and was even involved in hula halaus and learning ancient language and dance. I also became certified in scuba diving and I love hiking and kayaking, and so a lot of the sports-related things fit. While living in Utah, I happened to see an ad in the L.A. Times newspaper for a job opportunity as a plumber on Kauai. I answered the ad and somehow I got the job. I moved in 1986 and opened the business a few years later.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? Watching my employees develop and watching their families grow. Having that close connection with everybody in the company is so rewarding.
What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever had to fix? On a service call, I had to fix a plugged-up toilet. The owner had a family with little kids. They didn’t know exactly what had gotten into the toilet. I worked on it and worked on it, and I couldn’t get it cleared with a standard snake. Finally, I decided I had to take the entire toilet outside on the front lawn, turn it upside down, use a garden hose on it, a snake and try to get whatever was in there out. What had happened was a little boy had flushed down a snowman and it had gone through most of the toilet except the bottom circular part of the snowman was too big. So I was able to get to the point where I could see the plastic and then I had to melt it with a soldering torch. I saved the toilet, put it all back together again and saved the day.
What sets your business apart? We make appointments and we keep them. We’re also on time. If we have any problem with a commitment that’s been made, we’re in communication with everybody.
What makes you get up every day and go to work? One thing I look forward to is what will be the challenge of the day. Every day is different for me, and I don’t have drudgery at all. Also, interacting with my employees and customers is always a joy for me.
-Coco Zickoscocomidweek@ gmail.com