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H&R Mechanical Supplies Ltd. began its life as an incorporated company in May of 1979, founded by Michael Donnan of St. Johnís (formerly of Workington, Cumberland, England). An engineer by trade, Michael had always had a desire to start up a company and work for himself. So after some plans were put in place, he left the boiler division of Easteel and with the support of his wife Anthea, began H&R Mechanical Supplies Ltd. Though working in the same field as his previous employer, he looked to other customers than those he had previously served.

For the first six months, H&R operated from the dining room of Michaelís home, with stock and boiler sections being stored in the basement and brought in and out through a small window! Michael handled the technical and sales side of things while Anthea as Company Secretary took care of filing and accounting work, a position she has held to the current day. Initially the company obtained jobs by responding to advertisements in the newspaper. In the late 70's and early 80's many contracts were tendered thorough the paper, before distribution lists and construction associations had developed to where they are today. The bulk of the work performed by H&R was for construction and repair contracts on boilers, pressure vessels and piping systems, primarily in commercial and industrial settings.

In the first six months, a major company which Michael had represented through his former employ, approached him desiring that he continue as their rep in this geographic area, showing their faith in his abilities. This company was a manufacturer and supplier of boilers and boiler parts. This association gave H&R the ability to provide equipment services to major contractors and customers and to this day the connection with Volcano Boilers, now known as Indeck Boiler Corporation, remains strong.

During the first year of operations, H&R established lines of credit with a variety of suppliers and broadened the major products supplied to those of fifteen large companies. This included Volcano Boilers, Carlin Combustion Technologies, HB Smith, Pocono Refractories, Albion, ITT, and Canadian Refractories to name a few. Many of the products of these companies are still
supplied and represented by H&R, showing a longstanding relationship and commitment to each other for quality products and good workmanship. At this time, good credibility was also established with local industrial suppliers.

After six months, the increasing amount of work required additional skilled and unskilled labour. Two employees were hired, who continue to work for the company to this day. In December of 1979 a building was purchased on Penny Lane in St. Johnís to house the offices and operations of H&R. The three bay
garage was occupied by the company in early January.

Back in the summer of 1979, Easteel experienced a strike by its workforce. Many of their traditional customers sought other companies to do their work, and H&R acquired a number of them. Within one year of the strike, Easteel had closed down their boiler division and by 1982 had declared bankruptcy. H&R took over much of the stock of Easteel on a consignment basis. This was eventually paid off providing the stock basis for H&R. During the early 1980's, renovations were done to H&Rís new building to provide better office space and room for dry storage. The work level increased and three more employees were hired. In 1982 a full time employee was hired for accounting and bookkeeping duties,
Mr. Gerald Facey, who remained a loyal employee and supporter of the company until his death in December of 1991.

Initially, major customers were schools, fish plants and commercial institutions. Over the next few years, business improved and the customer base increased. A large burner servicing contract with the government provided a good nucleus of work for six years.

In their 10th year of operations, the Cod Moratorium loomed over Newfoundland. Many fish plants began to close down or rush to switch over to processing other species. A leading fish plant contract for H&R went sour resulting in a major setback for the company. As the moratorium took full effect there was an instant downturn in work. Cash flow became very tight at best, and non-existent at worst. Sales
dropped by up to 50% and layoffs ensued in order to keep the company alive.

At this time H&R reorganized. A new holding company was formed and share distribution was altered. Even the principles of the company took turns on layoff in order to allow the company to survive. Soon, there were signs that things were starting to improve.

Throughout the next few years, many fish plants converted their operations over to crab production and H&R sold a number of small boilers to suit this type of business. At the same time, the Come-By-Chance Oil Refinery which had been mothballed in the late 1970's, was resurrected. A large amount of work was found there and at the height of construction H&R had 14 employees in a sister company
called Newlux Agencies working on the refinery site. Another engineer, Henry Brown, was hired with Newlux Agencies. They enjoyed two years of good work. In addition, H&R built its first two mobile boiler units which were rented to the refinery for use in cleaning operations. As time passed the mobile boiler fleet was increased to five units which were often rented out for six month periods to fish plants for crab cooking.

The level of work began to increase again and more employees were hired, including another engineer. Welders employed with the company became certified for high pressure welding and over the next few years many boiler installations, repairs,
re-tubing, and tank linings composed the bulk of H&Rís work, especially for fish plants, breweries, hospitals and Memorial University of Newfoundland, all of
which provided a lot of good work on both small and large boilers for the next 14 years. Both Provincial and Federal Governments were also a large source of work for the company.

Around 1997 H&R hired a mechanical engineering technician to supplement its technical staff. The late 1990's saw more improvements in the facilities of the company and capital expenditures to increase the office area of the building over two phases of expansion.

In 1999, H&R celebrated 20 years of operation, a considerable achievement for a small business given the statistic that two-thirds of small business fail within the first three years of operations. H&R has survived through many years, through times of hardship and prosperity and though it may sound cliche, the key to H&Rís survival has been its employees. Many people have worked with H&R over the years. Some for short periods between other jobs, some as students on work terms. Still others have made a full career with the company. H&R has always been committed to
its employees and strives to provide them with a good working atmosphere, fair pay and a variety of different work experiences. The more skills and experience our employees have, the better we are able to serve our customers.

The last three years have seen a fair amount of resources invested in improvements to the accounting systems as well as the in-house development of a database for purchase orders, sales orders, work orders, stock control, and customer/supplier data. This resources allow us
not only to manage day to day operations, but also to have customer boiler and burner information at our fingertips. This helps us to better meet our customers needs by knowing precisely the parts and services they will require.

The last three years have also brought many challenges in the area of personnel. These issues which were drawn out for some time eventually resulted in the loss of a key partner in the firm, an experienced technician and four skilled workers. This equated to a loss of 68 years worth of company experience. However a strong nucleus of experienced workers remained and some new employees have been hired bringing youth and enthusiasm.

As we look forward to the future and to many years of good work in this great province, we remember with pride the years that have gone before. We remember the employees who have worked for H&R and all of the influencing factors of the industry and the business environment which have helped to shape this company. We look forward to being able to serve all of our customers with quality workmanship and good relations for the future.

 
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