Rebecca Ames has been a plumbing inspector with the City of Bloomington for 15 years. She inspects plumbing projects in commercial, industrial and residential settings. In a busy construction year at the City of Bloomington, Ames performs more than 2,000 commercial, residential and industrial inspections.
“My job is to interpret the code for plumbers and educate homeowners on their plumbing projects. My greatest responsibility is serving as the plumbing inspector for Mall of America, a three million-square-foot building in Bloomington that is home to 500 retail stores and restaurants,” Ames said. “I like to challenge myself. I like to be active and learn every day. Looking back over the last three decades, it seems I found my ideal career. This has been a great way to make a living.”
Ames’ first plumbing project was at age of 13, when she helped her father drill a well for a cabin he was building.
After attending culinary school and working at a restaurant in New York City, she decided to explore a different path. She enrolled in technical college and trained to become a plumber. She graduated in 1990. She became a journeyman plumber right out of technical college. It would be 10 years before another woman became a journeyman in her union, Plumbers Local 34 in St. Paul.
“I have been the only woman on the job site for most of my career. I set out to change this by getting involved with Women in the Trades, a nonprofit organization focused on showing young women how a career in the trades is possible for them,” Ames said. “Whenever I see another woman on the job site to this day, I always make time to introduce myself and commend her for the path she has chosen.”
Rebecca Ames was recently inducted to the 2021 Red Wing Wall of Honor to recognize her dedication and achievements working in the trades for the last 31 years.