When Mark Pool was 13 years old, he and his brother decided to build a log cabin, even assembling a rainwater collection system connected to an indoor faucet.
Fast forward to his adult years, and now Pool is celebrating his 35th year in the plumbing industry. But, more than that, he celebrates being an innovator.
In 2005, after two decades of operating his company, Eastern Plumbing Co. of Wilmington Inc., Pool launched Epiphany Software Corp.
, the creators of QuickPlumb, a software application that creates diagrams and 3D views of new construction and renovation plumbing project plans.
“It was obvious to me that there was a need for a software production that would streamline our plumbing process,” he said.
In addition to expertise in plumbing, Pool also has a background in software programming, dating back to his high school days – an unusual, but evidently useful, pairing. With the help of software advisers, he quickly launched the first version of QuickPlumb, all while still operating Eastern Plumbing Co., the first company to give the software a test run.
“From that, we’ve just built on and added on to it,” Pool said.
QuickPlumb also creates materials lists, pipe cut lists and financial estimates based on the project diagram. As a seasoned industry professional, Pool is both a client and creator of the software.
“One of the biggest issues with plumbing is getting the pipe size correct for the building,” he explained. “But now we have an automatic sizing feature.”
With QuickPlumb’s pipe-routing feature, users can “place” fixtures within their design, and the software will automatically route the pipe placement. The software also has the ability to retrieve fixture coordinates on a job site, to help position where plumbing should be placed under concrete slab constructions.
With these improved technological insights, QuickPlumb has received 6,000-7,000 downloads, some from international customers. As usership increased, Epiphany created a free information exchange database, where customers can find additional resources from each other.
The majority of customers are plumbing contractors, but users also include engineers, plumbing inspectors, as well as technological colleges, including Cape Fear Community College, where Pool has served on the plumbing program’s advisory board for five years.
“[CFCC] immediately saw the benefits of QuickPlumb in training,” Pool said. “Mike [Smith, plumbing program director] said ‘Anything that allows the students to see the piping in place is a big benefit.’ You can explain different things about what it’s going to look like, but it’s hard to visualize without the pictures.”
Pool plans to market QuickPlumb to plumbing supply houses.
“I’m going to allow them to import their product lists in the software,” he said. “So when they enlist their customers, most of whom are plumbers, their product inventory questions will already be answered.”