Originally published in NEREJ May 1, 2020
Gerry Perron, retired executive and founder of Granite State Plumbing and Heating, Inc. has been named as the recipient of the 24th annual New Hampshire Construction Industry Ethics Award. The award honors the “individual, business or organization that, through its words and deeds, best demonstrates a commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards in construction.” In addition to a plaque, the award carries with it a $1,000 donation to the recipient’s charity of choice. Perron has requested that the donation be given in full to the New Boston Food Pantry located in New Boston.
Perron will be presented with the award at the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. NH/VT Chapter’s annual pig roast on September 24, 2020. Tickets for the event are still available and may be purchased online.
Born and raised in Manchester, Perron has dedicated nearly his entire personal and working life to the state of New Hampshire. He attended local schools graduating from Manchester West High School in 1966, and then served in the US Marines Corp for a period of time. His construction career began at an early age in 1970 when he worked with Seppala Construction and Aho Construction. Perron’s immediate focus was on the mechanical and plumbing sector of the business and held the position of foreman. After a stint with those firms, Perron worked for three years with Denron Plumbing and Heating as a project foreman.
In 1983, Perron struck out on his own establishing Granite State Plumbing and Heating in a 1,000 s/f leased space, an extremely modest amount of financial resources, and five employees who were close associates in prior jobs. Over the next, nearly 40 years Perron built the business to be one of the largest and most respected commercial and industrial mechanical contractors in the Granite State. Today, Perron resides in New Boston, with his wife of 50 years. He has two adult children and four grandchildren. Among many other affiliations and associations, Perron has been an active member and supporter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) for 20 years.
The praise, respect, and recognition that Perron receives across the industry is simply overwhelming, but the one consistent attribute vocalized by so many is his personality.
“I have known Gerry Perron for 40 years,” said Martin Cahill, an estimator with Granite State Plumbing and Heating. “His integrity and fabulous personality is something we should all strive for and admire.”
Ken Duchesne, president of Granite State Plumbing and Heating further solidifies Martin’s sentiment with his support of Perron. “His exemplary display of ethical behavior has never wavered. Even in the most difficult and challenging times, he stayed the course, always taking the high road. He always did the right thing when no one was looking. In our 35 years [together], we have never, not once, ever heard different or negatively about Gerry. His character of honor and respect to others in our construction industry or from those who know him on a more personal level outside of our everyday business activity, has been consistent in every way.”
Part of Perron’s personality that is resoundingly referenced is his humor. “As far as humor,” Duchesne said, “let’s just say he missed his calling as a stand-up comedian who has the gift of improvising in a moment notice.” As a business owner facing ups and downs of the economy, demand, and competition, improvisation and quick thinking are critically important tools to success.
Gary Chicoine, owner of Gary Chicoine Construction Corp. knows Perron as well as anyone. “During the years that I have known Gerry, I have witnessed acts of kindness and generosity too numerous to count. Gerry has always made it his mission to help those around him. Whether it [was] in ways of employment opportunities for the young up-and-coming tradesman or young families just starting out.”
Another often commented upon trait of Gerry is that his generosity exceeded that which could be put into words. Gary does his best by continuing, “Along with providing substantially reduced pricing on material for community driven projects, Gerry has also donated countless hours of his own time to complete these projects. The most recent being the homeless shelter in Concord.”
Joe Fadden, NH division manager of Johnson & Jordan Mechanical Contractors, makes similar comments. “One of Gerry’s biggest assets was the way he treated employees, all employees.” Joe elaborates, “If an employee was having a difficult time he was always the first to lend a helping hand. Often, he personally would go out and just show up at someone’s house that was maybe putting on a garage or had a problem with their heating system. Always looking to help.”
“In addition to being perhaps the best known character in the industry, he is also held in the highest regard by anyone who meets him,” illustrates Quentin Jones, vice president and COO of Hutter Construction Corp. He goes on to offer more testament to Gerry’s character. “I can say without reservation that in this business, where your character and ethics are tested on a daily basis, Gerry has been an unwavering credit to us all. In the most fundamental ways and whether it was best for him or not, he honored every deal, every commitment and even his own high standards of excellence.”
In perhaps a very succinct but impactful way of describing Gerry, Quentin said it best, “When Gerry had your back, you were covered.” Jonathan Halle, managing member of Warrenstreet Architects, Inc. adds, “The principles of Ethics can be defined by justice, beneficence, accountability, fidelity, and veracity. Gerry is all these and more. An example of a man we should all look up to.”
It simply does not matter whether the support for Gerry comes from an owner, a manager, or employee, every one of them offer the same sentiment: that in an industry as competitive as construction and in a state as small as New Hampshire, Gerry is the absolute definition of ethical. Carl DuBois, vice president and pre-construction director for Harvey Construction echoes these sentiments perfectly: “Having worked in the construction industry for 40 years, I can say I’ve worked with them all. I can also say I have known and have done business with Gerry for the better part of 20 years. Anyone who knows Mr. Perron knows he wears his beliefs on his shirtsleeve. He is a man of impeccable integrity with a solid moral compass and is [as] honest as the day is long.”
Frank Lamparelli, a commercial sales manager with F.W. Webb Company, states, “When I moved up from Conn. in the early 2000s, I had a very different view of doing business and that no one could be trusted. It was like a baptism or a fresh start working with Gerry. The man was good as his handshake and that was that. If Gerry gave you his word, it [was] as good as gold. He stuck with that right to the end and people [knew] it and trusted him.”
The New Hampshire Construction Industry Ethics Award was established and is underwritten by David Wood, a former nationally recognized writer, publisher and marketing consultant specializing in the construction industry. His newsletter, Words from Woody, won 25 awards, including being a three-time recipient of the Construction Writers Association’s prestigious T. Randolph Russell Award. In 2005, Wood was presented with the Silver Hard Hat, that organization’s highest honor. In 2018, Plan NH, an organization based out of Portsmouth, NH, took over the leadership and heralding of this award.
Previous recipients of the award have been: William Clark of Clark Masonry Construction, William Walker of The MacMillin Company, Samuel Audley of R.S. Audley Inc., Levi Ladd of L.K. Ladd Inc., Jack McDevitt Jr. of McDevitt Trucks Inc., Tom Avallone of Cobb Hill Construction, Jim Morrill of Morrill Construction, Mark and Rick Charbonneau of Continental Paving, Leighton White of Leighton A. White Inc., Rich Lambert of PROCON Inc.,Tom Palazzi of The Palazzi Corp., Ron Severino of Severino Trucking, Paul Morin of Tarkka Homes, Bruss Construction, John Zahr of Harvey Construction Corp., Mark Bates of Weaver Brothers Construction, Tom Morin of Morin’s Landscaping, Dan Hazelton of Anderson Equipment Company, Richard Uchida of Hinckley Allen, Frank Lemay of Milestone Engineering and Construction, Dan Church of The Rowley Agency, Gary Bertram of Hutter Construction, Bob Longchamps of Longchamps Electric.