Hey you,

For those of you who have stuck with me for the newsletters and blog, I have a longer post to share with you.

It dawned on me that it’s been 20 years since I bought the company. On March 3, 1999, I was 28 years old. The remaining sales staff had recently walked out the door. I didn’t know jack shit about running a company other than how to do it badly. And yet, somehow, here we are. Air Flow and Air Flow Architectural.

Originally, this was going to be a piece about lessons learned. But that’s what the blog is for. Instead, it’s going to be for those who helped us last this long.

Air Flow Co-Workers and Partners

Thanks for being patient as I learn better ways to run a company.

Thanks for the hours of sleep you lost worrying about taking care of our customers.

Thanks for sharing our core values.

Thanks for 24 joyful year end parties.

Thanks for not putting up with my bad hires.

Thanks for dealing with changes, and for changes that should have but didn’t. Yet.

Thanks for being curious about the field that we are in and becoming artists in what we do.

Thanks for making it fun to come to work every day. Well, almost every day. ?


Thanks for treating us kindly when you could have been ruthless.

Thanks for telling us we stink instead of saying nothing and going elsewhere.

Thanks for giving us enough work to let us survive and grow.

Thanks for paying more, sometimes, for the service we think you deserve.

Thanks for the times when you worked with us when we screwed up.

Thanks for explaining when we didn’t understand.

Thanks for being interested in what we offer. And pretending when you weren’t.

Thanks for being fun to work with because it’s more than just business.


Thanks for sticking with us when you probably should not have.

Thanks for firing us, which in turn made us better and tougher.

Thanks for seeing more in Air Flow than ‘just a grille and grate’ company.

Thanks for being great educators, sparking our curiosity, and making us better, together.

Thanks for sharing in the responsibility of caring for our customers.

Thanks for cooking up new shit for us to sell.

Thanks for operating with integrity when there was a shortcut that would have saved you some money.

Thanks for saying “no” when “no” was the right thing to say.

Thanks for all the fun evenings, ASHRAE shows, late night cocktails, and stupid adventures over the years.


Thanks for enduring my persistence and loaded questions.

Thanks for attending Air Flow’s seminars and presentations when you could have finished your work instead, and gone home earlier.

Thanks for being curious.

Thanks for asking questions, even if you felt dumb doing so.

Thanks to the few courageous ones who were willing to try something new.

Thanks for trying our equipment and trusting us.

Thanks for trying to do the right thing for your customers.

My Leadership Group, Coaches, and Mentors

Thanks for all the bent ears, kind advice, tough love, big shoulders, and hugs.

My Family and Friends

Thanks to my charming, beautiful wife for all our years together, all the laughs and tears, and enduring the many anxious moments together.

Thanks to my immediate family for being so patient, as they get to deal with a periodically preoccupied husband and father.

Thanks Jess and Larry for going through the ‘toughening up’ process with me.

Thanks to my extended family, who are just awesome.

Thanks Mom, for helping me get it all started 20 years ago with a big check, a big hug, and no reservations.

Thanks Dad, for asking me to work here. Too bad we never had a chance to work together. Who knows WHAT that would have looked like?

Thanks for following!

Tom Gelin
Air Flow Inc.
8355 West Bradley Road
Milwaukee, WI 53223


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