"It was evident from an early age that I would be working in the mechanical industry. As a toddler, and this is the honest truth from my mother, I slept with a toaster. And a mixer. And a blender…A favorite during the daytime was the vacuum. The more lights, noise and energy an appliance had the better. When I was young my parents didn't have money for high-tech, mechanical toys, but when my brother was a toddler, he always got the good presents for Hanukkah. Presents which I promptly stole and took apart to see how they worked. As I got older, I never excelled in the academic aspect of school. I was more of a 'mechanical geek.' However, after being left back in the 8th grade, I was determined to do better the next time, and I did. I graduated from high school in 1969 and went on to StrayerCollege. There I earned my B.S. in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing and Retail.
Throughout high school I was constantly working. I began with door-to-door TV guide delivery route, forming relationships with people. From there I was a paper delivery boy and eventually a dry-cleaning deliveryman. During my last couple of years at Strayer, I worked part time selling small and major appliances where I was mentored in the art of Sales. I moved back home to Yonkers after graduation in 1974 and began looking for work. However, this was during a recession in which the job market was bad and the unemployment was high. Even so, I was determined to find a job. I bought a suit and started going out on interviews all over NYC. Pharmaceuticals was the industry with the most opportunity, but due to my lack of ability to pronounce multi-syllable words, it wasn't a good fit for me. I began working part time cleaning carpets for a friend. It was easy money and I soon opened my own steam carpet cleaning business, turning the tables and employing my own friends. This is when I truly began to utilize my marketing and sales experience.
My first step towards the air conditioning business came when my parents' window air conditioner broke. I drove it to get repaired and was amazed as I watched the technician recharge and repair the equipment (I had no intentions of sleeping with the air conditioner, just so you know; I'd thankfully outgrown that phase years ago). My mother insisted that I go to BOCES that year, so at 25 I began the refrigeration/air conditioning classes. My teacher, Harris Wassman, was a great influence on my decision to continue in the field. While in BOCES, I realized that the program they had was insufficient due to all there was to learn. By pressuring Harris, I caused the program to grow to 7-8 classes; it became the largest air conditioning program in the area.
The next part of my journey happened very fast and all the credit goes to my parents. My mother's insistence that I take the BOCES classes led to my passion for the industry and my father's great example in working for one's self gave me the confidence to begin my own business. I moved to an apartment in the Bronx for a year and after working long days with the carpet cleaning business and commuting to Elmsford twice a week for training, I spent my weekends relaxing in the Pocono’s. It's there that I met my future wife, Laura. When Laura & I moved to Middletown, NY, I brought the carpet cleaning business with me. In 1976, I started Astar Heating & Air, my first employee a local BOCES graduate. I was fortunate to have kept him with me for over 20 years and hired many of his BOCES friends, one of whom is still with Astar today as our Installation Manager and another as our Service Manager. 35 years later, here we are."