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A1’s Peter Messenger Featured in Mechanical Business

Peter Messenger image

When Peter was featured in the January/February 2019 issue of Mechanical Business Magazine, he talked about growing up in the family HVAC business, the challenges he’s faced, and the best parts about coming into work every day. He even reveals his favourite sport (hint: it’s not hockey).

You can read the article below.

Peter Messenger: Carrying on the Family Tradition

A third-generation owner of A1 Air Conditioning & Heating in Oakville, Ont., Peter Messenger grew up in the trade, earning a G2 gas technician licence while he was still in high school. Since then, he’s added a number of additional trade tickets to his resume, and advanced from the tools to the operational hot seat at his company.

“I’m definitely a mechanic, but an MBA would be more beneficial to what I do now,” he said during a recent interview at his office. “There’s a discipline of running a business that’s not covered in trade school.”

The medium-sized HVAC firm located just west of Toronto was started by Messenger’s grandfather, Walter, who was trained as a Royal Engineer in the British army and parlayed his refrigeration knowledge and mechanical skills into a family business back in 1967.

And the family feel of the enterprise has not left the company as its leadership progressed through Peter’s father, Paul, and now onto Peter.

Q: You’re the third generation of owner at your company. Was there an obligation to get into the business?

A: No, but doing it as a job through high school, I just got to really liking it. It just evolved. When you are a kid, doing what your dad is doing isn’t really cool, but as you get older you start to think with your brain.

Q: What’s the best part of the job?

A: I like that you have tangible results to your work. You can go to someone’s house because they are uncomfortable, and you leave when they are comfortable because you’ve installed a furnace or air conditioner. You get instant gratification from your work. My favourite part of my job is still the technical side.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge when running a business?

A: I think, for any business, it is finding good people and treating them well. Owners are not customer facing the way that everyone else is, so it is very important to have “A players”. Finding good people is difficult. You can make someone a mechanic, but you can’t make someone have an excellent attitude. Certain things, you can’t learn.

Q: Is there a guiding principle at A1?

A: Whatever we do, it has to be good for the customer, good for the employee, good for the company. If any one of those is not satisfied, it’s not healthy and not sustainable.

Facts about Peter:

  • If he’s not at work, or driving his kids around, you might find him engaged in woodworking and home improvement projects.
  • If he’s watching sports, it’s highlights or F1 racing. “I don’t really follow sports. I’m a huge Formula 1 fan, and I like Canadian things and hockey, but I don’t know any of the players. I like the highlights.”

Click here to view the entire article from Mechanical Business Magazine.

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