Yale Plumbing Team, True Detectives

June 3, 2019

There are miles of pipes at Yale, and sometimes they leak, break, or burst. The Yale Plumbing Team for Central Campus keeps busy repairing and maintaining large and small pipes. In all, the plumbers cover 13.5 million sq. ft. of building space including the Athletics’ fields and buildings. They are the first responders when there is a leak or clogged drain either on a ceiling, wall, or floor. Dispatched to the specific wet area, they identify, troubleshoot, or fix the problem. Often, the plumbers act like detectives trying to discern the cause or origin of a leak that they sometimes need to triage to another trade for repair. The most frequent emergency calls are those to report leaky ceilings caused by anything from a broken wall pipe to a steam leak in a mechanical room to heating calls of “it’s too hot or too cold!” Water or wetness can be devastating to university equipment or priceless art so like a detective, the plumbers must solve the case.

When not “chasing leaks” or clearing drains, this team does preventative maintenance on heating, cooling, and chilled water systems in buildings. To use an industry term, the team maintains and repairs any pipes used for drainage, waste and vents or DWV. The central campus plumbing team also repairs and maintains building pipes that carry potable hot and cold water to plumbing fixtures including faucets, tubs, toilets, and emergency eyewash systems. They also service the central campus dining halls handling tasks from leaks to calls about loss of hot water. Most plumbing pipes around campus can be anywhere from a quarter to six inches in diameter, which requires the team to keep and carry a variety of tools and materials. “Plumbing isn’t glamorous, what our teams work on, you often can’t see. But everyone needs a good plumber, and we’ve got ‘um!” says Lou Perleoni, plumbing manager, Central Campus.

Recently, the Central Campus/Athletics Area Physical Plant team of plumbers with over 300 years of combined service(!) was asked to write down a little about themselves and their Yale experience.

William “Bill” Dobie, 45± years – This elder statesman started working at the age of 16 and was part of the original plumbing apprentice program.  His father worked at Yale as a director in what was then called Yale Dining.  After five o’clock, Bill enjoys a good game of golf and tries his hand at winemaking.

Richard Esposito, 36 years—Rich says his favorite Yale memory is “the day I was hired by Tom Barone over a coffee and corn muffin.” He is proud of being a member of Local 35. After work, Rich loves to cook, golf, and hang out at the beach.

Frank Della Camera, 34 years—Frank says working at Yale has been a rewarding experience.  During his leisure hours, he enjoys restoring classic cars and spending time with his grandson.

Rich Loesche, 33 years—Rich says that during his time at Yale, he has “gotten to work with some of the most interesting people I know.” After hours, Rich enjoys time with family and saltwater fishing.

Doug McDermott, 30 years—Doug says that this is “a great job with financial security and great benefits. My work is always interesting and so are my fellow workers!” Doug loves playing, buying, and repairing guitars.

Richard Defrank, 30 years—Rich says he has enjoyed “working with and meeting many good people.” A big NY Yankees and LA Chargers fan, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.

Rick Coe, 28 years—Rick’s job at Yale has enabled him “to provide very well for his family.” On the weekends, he loves a good game of golf.

John Maturo, 22 years—John worked for a private contractor. “Yale is a second career for me.”  While he enjoys plumbing (even on the weekends), he likes making homemade pizza and having time with his family.

Wayne Gentile, 20 years—Wayne says it’s been “20 wonderful years.” On the weekends, he enjoys good food and saltwater fishing.

Sal DeLucia, 15 years – Sal says of his time at Yale, “seeing the enthusiasm of my four children attending Yale activities, such as EXPLO, Science Saturday’s, swimming classes and Yale football games. On weekends, Sal enjoys gardening and traveling with his family.

Corey Harris, Plumbing Apprentice (since February 2019), seven years—Corey started in Yale Hospitality and is now in Facilities’ Plumbing Apprentice Program.  “Yale has been good to me. I’ve learned a ton and moved up from dining to physical plant.” After five o’clock, Corey enjoys playing basketball and taking vacations.

Lou Perleoni, plumbing manager, seven years. Before coming to Yale, he was the assistant director of Facilities for the Bloomfield Board of Education.  Lou received a B.S. in Management Information Systems from the University of Hartford, but learned plumbing from his father.  “Being here at Yale and working on or just walking by all these historic buildings is just amazing.” When not working with his team, he loves to travel and play golf.