Member Spotlight on Al Youna of YMI Mechanical, Inc.

Chicago Family Business Council: What year was YMI Mechanical, Inc. founded?
Al Youna: YMI Mechanical, Inc. was founded August 31, 2009, right at the start of the downturn.

CFBC: Tell us a little bit of the history behind the company?
AY: I wanted to be a Mechanical Contractor in the Healthcare arena; I had a mindset and set goals for the service level we wanted to provide to our clients, which was the absolute best in class experience. We wanted to give our clients a sense of value for the service we were providing, a level of expertise and an ongoing communication and advice for their facility to make sure the construction projects were not the money pit that history has shown.

CFBC: What family members work with you in the business?
AY: Currently both my young sons work part time driving a truck and making deliveries, cleaning up our warehouse and keeping tools and materials that come back in order. It’s very demanding as deliveries need to be coordinated and delivered at precise times of the day. We are dealing with Hospitals that receive deliveries every 10-15 minutes and the dock has to be clear to maintain the essential material needs.

CFBC: How did you hear about the CFBC and what motivated you to join?
AY: I had been mentioning to our Banker, Chris Prestegaard about joining a peer group, he then brought up CFBC and gave me a brief history of the organization from Jim Liautaud. It took a couple of mentions and then he said there was a seminar going on and I just decided to register and show up. The great thing was it was free to attend and that encouraged my attendance to check it out first hand. Then the forum training was the clincher, Brian McIlwee did a great job presenting.

CFBC: How has CFBC helped your company succeed?
AY: It’s still early days for us yet, it has not had quite the impact, but it’s still early days.

CFBC: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your experience with your forum and the CFBC?
AY: It’s impossible to find 8 CEO’s and throw something at them that is troubling you and get constructive feedback and similar experience. On the other hand I was not used to the sharing my private life with what amounted to 8 strangers, but at our first executive retreat I think we bonded because I shared and discussed my lifeline.

CFBC: Is there one thing you have learned from being a member of CFBC that has impacted your business or your life the most?
AY: That we are not alone, there is a group of people that will try to help you in whatever difficulty you may be experiencing.

CFBC: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
AY: I enjoy spending time with my family, which is difficult at times because I am trying to build a strong foundation for the business, but I love playing hide and seek with my young children. I also play soccer year round, indoors and outdoors, never to leave out golf as well, but it’s so time consuming that I only average about 5-6 rounds a year.

CFBC: What one book would you recommend to your fellow CFBC members?
AY: Without hesitation I would recommend, “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, for me that was a life changer.

CFBC: How does your Company celebrate successes?
AY: That’s easy, I do the dance, the shuffle, my version of the shuffle in front of everyone in the office, and yes they all look and laugh at me, I still do it though.

CFBC: What was your first job?
AY: I worked in a Pub in a hotel downtown London near the American Embassy as a busboy. This was a very busy pub. I would come in the morning to clean up the pub, vacuum, pick up the glasses, wipe the tables clean, and get rid of all the empty bottles for returns. For extra cash I would work a second shift as a bar tender.

CFBC: Do you have a favorite song?
AY: I don’t have one particular song that is a favorite, but my current favorite song is the Harlem Shake. If I could show you a video of my sons (3 year old and 1year old) doing the Harlem shake, you would see why that’s my song at this time.

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