by Jim Hinshaw
Just spent a couple of days with Tom Peregrino, owner of Daffan Mechancial, located in Granbury Texas. Tom shared his story, of how he was working hard a couple of decades ago and got the chance to buy the company he was working for, Daffan Mechanical. Tom’s story is amazing, but even more intriguing is how he made a commitment to give back to the community.
Tom was working as a banker, and he and his wife were expecting a child. Tom had realized he needed to find another line of work where he could make some serious money, enough to support his growing family. He answered an ad for HVAC sales, started out as a 100% commission salesperson. His wife was not exactly thrilled when he told her he had a new gig, quit his salary-paying job with insurance, and benefits to go to a commission-based plan with no guarantees. She later saw how smart he was when the doubled his income in the first year.
He worked at that first company for a while, then teamed up with a strong technician to branch off to another company. Years go by, they are now working hard with in a company that is run by an absentee owner. They were ready to do their own thing, just did not know what that would look like. In a meeting with the owner, they decided that they just had to buy him out but had limited funds to do that.
Tom is a man of prayer, and he was asking God to bless the purchase of the company, since he had put his life savings into it. At one point he heard God say: what are you going to do for me? Tom said if they came across a widow in their marketing area, they would offer them a no-charge maintenance agreement. Fast forward to 2020. They did work for 500 widows last year and have never advertised that portion of their business. It just continues to come in.
To make an even bigger difference, Tom organizes a luncheon each year for these widows, last year they had 150 attend. It has become a companywide event; employees are welcome to attend. Tom has also produced a calendar for the last several years, that features his techs, one per month. Sorta like a fireman’s calendar, but better. This year the calendar is put together around the concept of famous movies, each tech dresses up as the star of a movie: we have Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s a Wonderful Life, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and 9 more that are memorable, photos are in appropriate locations. The techs come to the luncheon, autograph the calendars, it is a big deal.
Every year, the town of Granbury has a 4th of July parade, a big deal. Tom’s wife Lisa asked him if it would be possible to cool down the crowd. Tom put together a 5-ton system on a truck with a generator, had some flew duct connected up, had employees walking alongside the truck, pushing air on the crowds on both sides of the street. Worked well. So a couple of years later, he kicked it up to a 10 ton. Made even mor people comfortable. This last July 4th, he had a 40 ton (yes, 40!) and a huge generator and a lot of ductwork mounted on a 18 wheel flatbed, really made an impression on the crowd.
Tom wanted to connect with the marketplace, and realized they needed a mascot to build trust. So they decided to get a dog. They have Duke the dog who is a fixture in town, rides on many calls with the techs, greets customers when they stop by the shop, even featured on the side of the trucks. He wears a hat and has a big smile on his dog face.
Tom and Lisa’s daughter is also a local video star, she has put together several fun videos that talk about the environment, new technology, mother earth, and a lot more. Their FaceBook posts are excellent, showcasing team members, honoring veterans, women in business, and even giving away a system to a deserving family. They are a family-owned company having fun and doing an amazing job in a rural area of Texas.
The moral of the story, find a way to give back to the community, work hard, get some great people to go with you on the journey, and have some fun. Recipe for a happy life.
Thanks for being involved, we’ll talk later.