When Bill Torry started his small mechanical contracting business back in February 1981, he couldn’t have known the effect it would eventually have on the fabric of the Comox Valley. Thirty years later, Torry and Sons Plumbing & Heating is one of the largest mechanical contractors on Vancouver Island, employing more than 100 people in the Comox Valley alone.
“That’s one thing we’ll never take for granted, the people we have working for us,” says Scott Torry, who took over his father’s company six years ago with partner Brian Farnham. “Without them, we’d be nothing.”
In addition to being one of the Valley’s largest employers, Torry and Sons has also proven to be a generous corporate citizen. The company sponsors several minor sports teams, contributes regularly to the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation and supports initiatives such as the Relay For Life and the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program.
“What we’re really proud of is the role we’ve been able to play in the community over the years,” says Farnham. “People want to know that you’re a responsible company and an ethical employer.”
Torry and Sons’ transformation from a one-man business to an industry juggernaut largely occurred after Torry and Farnham took the company’s reins in 2004. Torry and Sons opened its Nanaimo Division soon thereafter, and in six short years the company had grown more than 300 per cent, from about 40 employees to 135.
Remarkably, Torry and Sons has continued to grow during a period in which other companies have struggled just to keep afloat.
“Other than the incredibly talented people we have working for us,” says Torry, “our biggest strength is our partnership. Brian and I have known each other a long time, and I don’t think there’s been a single day we haven’t gotten along.”
“The big thing,” adds Farnham, “is that we’re all able to work together. Staff, management and our customers – we’re all in this together, and each part of the equation makes the other parts stronger.”
With the opening of a satellite office in Victoria just last fall, Torry and Sons may be on the verge of its next growth explosion. Yet when asked about what the next 30 years may hold for the company, Torry and Farnham are more concerned about preserving the Torry and Sons family tradition while continuing to recognize the importance of their customers.