WALNUT CREEK − For most people, retirement means the end of a career, but for Brian Waskow, it was also the beginning of another. “I had a ‘20 years and out’ deal working as a refrigeration mechanic for the plumbing and pipe fitting union, which enabled me to retire in my early 40s,” he relates. “Since I was still fairly young, I wanted to find another industry to get involved with, so I answered a newspaper ad posted by a local heating and air conditioning company. As a former refrigeration mechanic, I found the HVAC industry to be a natural transition.” Over the next 12 years, Brian would learn from “some of the best mentors in the business” while working for “some of the most successful companies in the Bay Area,” before founding Walnut Creek Heating & Air Conditioning in 2012.
Today, Brian says a favorite aspect of running his business is the new faces he meets on a daily basis. “I get to meet all kinds of interesting people, from World War II veterans to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to ordinary, working-class folks like myself, so it’s always exciting to see who I’m going to meet next.” Additionally, he appreciates the fact that the company has become a genuine family affair. “My daughter, Jessica, is our operations manager and my other daughter Nicole’s husband works here as a service rep, so we’ve really earned our designation as a family-owned and operated business.”
Brian was born in the North Bay and currently resides in Contra Costa County with his wife, Yvonne. An avid outdoorsman, he considers the Bay Area an ideal location for pursuing some of his favorite pastimes, which include hiking, fishing, and water and snow skiing. “Living in the Bay Area, I could actually go water skiing and snow skiing in the same day if I wanted to,” he muses. “It’s also a great area for boating. One of our favorite things to do is take our boat to Angel Island and go hiking. Overall, we’re really active outdoors people, which everybody in the Bay Area should be.”
In his life and career, Brian espouses the importance of surrounding one’s self with good people. “There’s an old quote that says, ‘People make the party,’ and the same goes for a business,” he explains. “What differentiates a truly great company is the people who comprise it. I’m very fortunate to have not only some of the best professionals in the business working for me, but also some of the best people I know.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he retired (again) tomorrow, Brian says he wouldn’t change a thing. “Ever since I started my own business, I don’t feel like I’ve worked a single day, just because I enjoy what I do so much. Plus, I already take enough vacation time as it is!”