Win Taco's John Barba for the day contest

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Taco’s “Borrow Barba” contest just gets quirkier and dirtier each year.  According to John Barba, Taco’s residential training and trade program manager, a contest is held each year to determine which U.S. or Canadian contractor gets to use him for any purpose.
Barba says that it’s become one of the more enjoyable facets of his job.  The best way to tune into Barba’s recent experience (and plenty of other musical, head-spinning observations) is to become a subscriber to his FloPro Blog (not yet a subscriber?  See the “BarbaBlog” sidebar).

This year, John won't show up empty handed. He'll be carrying a Bumble Bee High Efficiency Variable Speed Delta-T Circulator and a fistful of Zone Sentry zone valves.  How will you put John to work when you . . . “Borrow Barba?”
A recent blog offers insights into the educational and comedic “Borrow Barba” experiences. 

Viewers learned that the first winner, Minnesota master plumber Eric Aune, apparently read a lot into Taco’s suggestion that he could use Barba for all variety of need.
“Eric had me wash his truck, mow his lawn, make lunch and serve it to him:  grilled cheese – cut off the crust – and iced tea, extra sweet; he sent it back twice,” explained Barba.  “And, for the ultimate in customer service, I snaked his water closet  . . . and wish I’d been wearing hip waders for that episode!”

Taco’s “Borrow Barba” contest caught on. Taco had 850 entries for 2012.  Oddly, about half of them were sourced from just one guy.
“Ordinarily that sort of response would cause concern, launching restraining orders, body guards and the witness protection, but in the long run winner Terry O’Connell seemed to be a fairly stable and trustworthy dude,” added Barba.

O’Connell heads-up the hydronics department for Hulbert Brothers, a first-rate supply house in Plattsburgh, NY.  By the time Barba arrived, O’Connell had a full day planned.
First, O’Connell gathered about 45 of his best customers for a full-day hydronics seminar.

“There are days when everything comes together, and this was one of them,” said Barba.  “I walked into a class full of professionals that were smart, inquisitive and engaging.  It was one of those days when you don’t want the day to end.”

“It’s no easy task to jam everything you know about the world of hydronics into just four or five hours, but he did a terrific job, covering plenty of ground and answering a wide variety of questions,” said O’Connell. “Everyone left with system design and technology insights that will help them do their best work.”

What Barba wasn’t aware of was that, as the “students” made their exit, O’Connell’s ‘Barba Day, Part 2” was just beginning.  According to Barba, it started innocently enough, with his request for Barba to look through some blueprints for a customer’s upcoming project.

“Terry’s office needed some, uhhh, shall we say, attention,” continued Barba.  “Since his office was last straightened out during the Carter administration, you could say we had a bit of a challenge on our hands.”
The break room needed a coat of paint.  “Terry also needed some petty cash, so he took advantage of one of my lesser known skills; safe-cracking,” added Barba.

“All kidding aside, it was great to spend a day with Terry and the folks at Hulbert Brothers – what a class outfit!,” he concluded.  “If you're ever up in Plattsburgh, stop by and say hello.”
For your chance to put John Barba to work, visit

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