H & S Plumbing Heating and Air owner Brian Krohe will be deployed to the Middle East in January, but he wants the public to know H & S is in good hands.
“They’ve (H & S) been here since 1976 and plan on being here for another 40 years,” Krohe said.
Krohe, father of five, has been the owner of H & S since June 2016 and has been in the United States Navy for 17 and one-half years. He said he has spent eight years on active duty and the rest in reserve. This deployment will be his first time being deployed while he is self-employed.
“I guess my first thoughts were holy cow, a little scared,” he said. He and his wife, Allyson, talked to employees Mike Plautz, Bob Lockwood and Kay Ficken who will run the business while Krohe is gone. “They’re going to rise to the occasion,” Krohe said.
Lockwood, who works on the HVAC side of H & S currently, will become the office manager with day-to-day operations.
Plautz, currently the master plumber at H & S, will take over estimations and running the crew on the plumbing side of the business.
“They’re going to split. They kind of do already except Bob has to step in and take my position of overseeing day-to-day operations,” Krohe said. “That goes from anything to signing checks to making sure guys get paid, time cards are turned in, that kind of stuff. A lot of people take that for granted.”
Ficken will continue to take calls and work on scheduling for the company as well as warranty work that comes through. Allyson, Krohe’s wife, will still work on marketing for the business.
“There’s always been the possibility that he’s had to deploy, so we’ve been pretty proactive in our office staff, and he’s been pretty selective and we’ve kind of prepped a little bit of who we’ve hired. And Kay and Bob and Mike are fantastic and very capable,” Allyson said.
Krohe will be deployed for a year starting on Jan. 3.
“It’s a year-long deployment which we’ve never done before. They’ve usually only been six or seven months so this will be a big change, a little bit longer,” Allyson said.
Krohe said he is currently in the process of transitioning some of the responsibilities to Lockwood, Plautz and Ficken so they are prepared. He is also prepared for a transition period when he comes home.
“It’s something we do in the military all the time. We come back; there’s that transition,” Krohe said. “I guess it will depend on them and on how much they want me back in that sense. If they’re fine and comfortable doing the jobs then I will figure out a new role for myself in that.”
While away, Krohe is a part of Explosive Ordnance Disposal. Krohe described it as a bomb squad.
Three of Krohe’s children have been through his prior deployments, but this will be new to his two younger children.
“It’s just a huge change, not only for him to worry about the business and how that’s going to run but he’s also on the other side worrying about us and the kids and making sure that transition’s good,” Allyson said. “Then while he’s over there, just staying safe so that he is coming back. He’s just got a lot on his plate and as a business owner, a lot of people don’t think about everything.”
On Nov. 15 the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership will host Coffee and Contacts from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at H & S. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. H & S will host a customer appreciation day as well as a send off for Krohe.
“People can come in and say hi, and we’ll have refreshments and food throughout the day and giveaways,” Allyson said. “It’s just giving an opportunity for the community to show support for him and being able to talk about it and meet the staff.They’ll be able to meet Bob. All of our staff will be here for most of the day.”
H & S Plumbing Heating and Air is located at 120 S Fourth St.