Frank J. Blau Jr., recipient of a lifetime membership in Nexstar.
An industry leader was honored recently by an unusual provision in the by-laws of an organization he co-founded. The individual is Frank J. Blau Jr. and the organization is Nexstar, a professional training and business development organization serving independent contractors of plumbing, HVACR, and electrical services.

Nexstar's board of directors unanimously created a lifetime membership in the association specifically for Blau, a gesture that a Nexstar spokesperson said "is unprecedented in Nexstar's history."

Blau has been an advocate of teaching independent service providers how to run their businesses profitably for two decades. He started Blau Plumbing of Milwaukee in 1960. He found there was ample education available for learning trade skills but nothing for owners of service companies who were looking for better ways of running their businesses.

In the early 90s, Blau connected with another service company in California operated by George Brazil and the two discovered the power of sharing business processes. In June of 1992, Blau gathered a group of service contractors from around the United States to formulate his concept of a "traveling college of business knowledge." From that group, 16 companies became the founders of Contractors 2000, now known as Nexstar. It was one of the first organizations of its kind designed to gather and disseminate better ways of running plumbing, heating, and cooling companies. The organization later expanded to include the electrical trade.

Through the 90s, Blau traveled throughout North America putting on seminars that taught owners how to run financially stronger companies and how everything they do affects their profitability. At the same time, he was a contributing editor to Plumbing & Mechanical magazine.

Nexstar's board of directors felt compelled to recognize the contributions of Blau in a unique way. "It was about a year ago that Frank gifted Blau Plumbing to his sons, Bob and Jim," explained Greg Niemi, president and COO of Nexstar. "As a result, Blau Plumbing continued as a member of Nexstar but Frank, one of our most revered founders, was not.

"So at a recent board of directors meeting, a resolution was made to make Frank a lifetime member of Nexstar. Although we won't be collecting dues from Frank anymore, we will look forward to collecting many more ideas, stories, and testimonials from him."

For more information on Nexstar, contact Lisa Schardt at 888-609-5490 or 651-426-2000, or visit

Publication date: 05/30/2005