Cheryl Lynn Curtis served as secretary, dispatcher, and bookkeeper for the first eight years of operation. The Curtis’ operated out of their homes at 4225 E. 28th St. and 1401 N. Goebel. During those early years, the Curtis’ had two sons “Fes” Kenneth on February 5, 1974 and “Harley” Keith on July 7, 1975. On September 25, 1979, the Curtis’ moved to 3779 E. Kleindale Rd. A portion of the building was used as their residence and the balance was used for offices and plumbing supply warehouses. In March of 1988 the Curtis’ moved into their “dream home,” which they designed and built, and the property on Kleindale was used primarily for business thereafter.
In the summer of 1975, Curtis Plumbing hired their first plumbing apprentice, Dale Smith. As the years progressed, many other apprentices and plumbing technicians have followed. In late 1978, Lily Titone was hired to assist Cheryl in the office. In November 1981, Curtis Plumbing hired their first experienced bookkeeper, Diane Burton. Fes Curtis was active in the business from the age of 8, assisting his dad and digging trenches.
During the early years, Curtis Plumbing gained a reputation for having honest, hardworking service techs and reasonable rates. The owners invested 12-16 hour days to build a business focussed on quality workmanship and material. The owners also strive to treat all employees fairly and reward their work with sufficient pay and benefits. Bill Curtis became a licensed Plumbing Contractor in September 1977. In April 1981, the business was incorporated with Bill and Cheryl as sole stockholders. In 1979, the company bought their first piece of excavation equipment, a Kubota mini backhoe. In 1980, the first pump truck was built, and Curtis Plumbing began pumping septic tanks, grease traps and sand traps. In 1985, the first full size backhoe was purchased, and Curtis Plumbing again expanded to installing more septic tanks and leach fields as well as connecting homes to the city sewer system.
Going into their 20th year of business, encouraged by their sons, Bill and Cheryl made numerous decisions to promote the company from a “Mom & Pop” business, to a professional top of the line service company. Several new and used vehicles were added to the fleet, and all vehicles were completely refurbished and painted using the new company colors: burgundy, black, and gold. The trucks were outfitted with aluminum shelves and plastic bins for stock, to allow for uniform stocking between service trucks.
Since that time, efforts have been made to train and employ personnel who are willing to be a part of a winning team. The Curtis’ two sons became more active in the business, and in 1998 became Co-Vice Presidents. Our priority is to maintain top quality and efficiency over numerical growth. We do not wish to compromise quality to become the largest service plumbing company in Tucson.
The Curtis’ investigated various options to expand the facilities located on Kleindale. The purchase of surrounding property was unsuccessful, and the expense of building on raw property proved to be cost prohibitive. In the summer of 1999, Harley located a suitable facility at 4281 E. Tennessee. The property was purchased, the existing office space remodeled, and a mezzanine was installed for storage. The property is 2 1/2 acres and should serve any future needs of Curtis Plumbing.
In October 2006, Harley Curtis left Curtis Plumbing as an employee and started his own business testing backflow assemblies.
The most recent investment the Curtis’ have made was to purchase, build and install a Septic Dewatering system in 2009. This has become a big part of working in the septic tank pumping area. We are now able to process the waste rather than paying the county or the competition to do so.
As the years pass, Bill and Cheryl are looking at a succession plan. Ken (Fes) Curtis intends to carry on with operating the business. Bill and Cheryl remain active with the company to date, and depending on their health, they will hold a less active role in the years to come.