Quad Citizen: Bill Allison

Quad Citizen: Bill Allison

Business Agent, Plumbers and Pipefitters Union

Quad Citizen Profile

For Bill Allison, a 6th generation Rock Island County Quad Citizen and Business Agent for the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, being a part of the Quad Cities community is the most fulfilling part of his job.

“Giving back to the community through skilled trades is part of who we are,” says Allison. He says they recently volunteered their time to build the pavilion at Hero Street in Silvis, and also re-piped the building occupied by Hot Glass in Davenport, a local non-profit that uses glass art to promote self-confidence, leadership and teamwork through instruction and shared experience.

Through his job, he has the unique opportunity to be a part of many of the new developments happening in the area, such as the Element Hotel at the Q, and the new Kraft Heinz and Sterilite plants.

One of his most memorable projects however, was working on the Rock Island Arsenal which included everything from 100 year-old steam systems  to the latest and greatest in HVACR technology.

“While in a steam tunnel I saw sketched into the wall, ‘Sully – caught working – 1904.’ It was cool to see the history that surrounded me,” says Allison.

He always knew he wanted to work in the trades; it’s part of his family, with his great-great-great grandfather having mined coal in what is now East Moline after immigrating to the Quad Cities from England.

“I attended United Township High School before applying for the apprenticeship program. I think going through the vocational programs in welding and machining gave me a leg up.”

Walking through the building on his union hall, he points out the technology that is now shaping his field; robotics, 3D scanners and green conservation methods replacing those of generations past. A wall is adorned with 29 plaques that boast 1st, 2nd and 3rd place marks in the Illinois State Apprentice Competition.

“There we’re competing with every local in the state, including Chicago which has 16,000 members combined,” Allison says, noting that the local union has 1,600 members and still outshines the competition in areas of welding, pipefitting, plumbing and HVACR. Our workforce here in the Quad Cities really is incredibly talented and hardworking.

And while Allison enjoys visiting friends in larger cities, he says the Quad Cities can’t be beat for its cost of living, the people and the community.

“My social life has changed since having my son three years ago – instead of the occasional brew pub or local showmy Saturdays are now spent with him at the John Deere Pavilion, the Children’s Museum or Riverside Park, but that just goes to show how the Quad Cities has it all. That’s what I tell my friends about the Quad Cities. Whatever you’d want to do, the Quad Cities has it.

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