Adrienne Bennett, North America's First Female Master Plumber
Adrienne Bennett graduated from Detroit’s Mumford High School and attended Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. In 1976, she met a recruiter for the Mechanical Contractors Association who was looking for minorities to enter their apprenticeship program. Adrienne completed the 5-year apprenticeship program with Plumbers Local Union 98 and received her journeyman plumber’s license in 1985, the first female graduate. She received her master’s license in 1987 and then served the city of Detroit as a plumbing inspector and code enforcement officer.
In 2000, Adrienne partnered to form the company Products Direct LLC. In 2008 she purchased it from her partners, and her sons, Ibn-Hashim Bakari and A.K. Bennett, who both studied construction, joined the business. The company was renamed Benkari LLC in 2015, and Adrienne serves as president and CEO.
A pioneer in America's plumbing and construction industries, she is North America's first and only female licensed master plumber and plumbing contractor, and America's first African-American female plumbing inspector and certified medical gas inspector and installer. The litany of positions that she has held throughout her prolific career include: Chief Project Manager, Chief Space Analyst, Master Plumber, Plumbing Estimator, and Drain Layer Contractor.
Adrienne's specialties include: medical gas systems, plumbing code compliance, water conservation, and plumbing and piping systems for all facility types. She is a board member of the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), and an active member of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Newman Consulting Group, the African-American Business Initiative of Detroit (AABI), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Detroit City Council Skilled Trades Task Force, and a licensed instructor for the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).