“NuVinAir Nine” with Brian Ross
What is the best advice you have ever received, and from whom?
‘As a business, you are either growing, or you are dying’….. my mentor Keith Massie said this to me when I went into my first management role in the small startup company where Keith was the CEO. I didn’t fully understand what this meant at the time but realized this is true for business and life in general.
The same manager also used to say, ‘you can shear a sheep many times but skin it only once.’ Great advice!
What was your life journey before NuVinAir?
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, I spent 38 years working in the upstream Oil and Gas Industry. I worked as a field engineer on both onshore and offshore oil rigs before moving into many diverse management roles. I moved from Aberdeen to Houston in 1996 with my wife Katrina, who is also Scottish. I was tasked with creating a North American subsidiary of the Scottish company I was working for, and my expectation was a two or 3-year assignment. Three kids born in the USA, American citizenship, and 26 years later, I’m still here!
What do you enjoy most about owning a NuVinAir franchise?
I hired my 21-year-old son last year as a Customer Service Associate. We spent hours driving to demos and training sessions during his training period. The best quality time I have spent with any of my kids. I was also very proud of how he embraced the franchise and really matured and excelled.
What has been your biggest challenge in owning a franchise, and how did you overcome it?
Dealerships! When I acquired the Houston franchise, there were no National Accounts; therefore, my business plan was built on a foundation of NSP accounts, with rental being a secondary vertical that we would develop over time. Lack of success in dealership sales forced me to flip the script and pivot to rental as my primary source of revenue. I still have to figure out how to conquer the dealership world!
What is your best skill as a franchise owner?
Being organized and disciplined.
What does success mean to you?
I think ‘being content’ is my definition of success. I looked up the definition of content: ‘state of satisfaction.’ This is generic enough to apply at any stage in life.
If you could invite any four people to dinner, dead or alive, who would you invite and why?
Steve Jobs and three engineers from his Apple engineering design team – I would use the opportunity to get their input on our next-gen cyclone! We, of course, have smart people in NuVinAir product design and development, but in my opinion, Steve Jobs was a genius. He knew what would create a fabulous customer experience…his products looked great, functioned brilliantly, and were so intuitive they didn’t need instructions.
What is one unique thing about you someone wouldn’t learn until they got to know you?
Although I have only lived in 3 countries (Scotland, USA, Malaysia), I have had several global roles, which means I have had the good fortune to travel extensively and visit over 40 countries during my career.
Folks would also learn to stay far away from me during hurricane season as I am a magnet for major hurricanes. On vacation in the Dominican Republic when Georges devastated the island in 1998, living in New Orleans and evacuated when Katrina hit in 2005, moved back to Houston to get pummeled by Ike in 2008 and soaked by Harvey in 2017.
What’s the number one item on your life “bucket list”?
Maybe it should be to move inland away from hurricanes!
Alternatively, learn to kitesurf – I tried it once in Thailand but failed miserably! Definitely hurt my pride as I’m usually pretty decent at sports. I need to tick that box!