Inducted - 2019
1956 was the year Al Merlo created Merlo Electric Inc. Some 62 years later, the firm prospers as a reputable, reliable and competent electrical contracting company. Over the years many clients have benefited from the expertise Merlo Electric has for ensuring complex and simple electrical services are indeed ‘in service’!
There seems to be no distinction between Al Merlo and Merlo Electric; the two are synonymous. The shared values and ethics are central to the way Al has effectively serviced clients.
Throughout his business life, in the construction, maintenance and other industries, Al has consistently contributed to growing professionalism. He always becomes involved with the associations and communities attached to his various interests. He is or has been a director with the Hamilton-Halton Construction Association, Ontario Electric League, the International League of Electrical Associations, Electrical Safety Association of Ontario and The Canadian Mushroom Growers Association.
Surprising as it may be for an electrical contractor to be in the agricultural industry, Al had a variety of business interests. He owned a canning business, a hotel, real estate, a toy company, and a property development firm. Often opportunities arose because clients, friends and associates could see that Al was a reliable business partner, whose electrical company was a great success because of how he approached the business. If he could be successful as a contractor, those same organizational and analytical skills and astute sense of money and value would benefit other investments.
One of his basic principals was a regular review of income and expenses; a focus on overhead as the expense that does not vary with volume, and the cash flow. Al’s wife Marilyn concentrated on the office organization and bookkeeping, allowing Al to pay great attention to those details. Today’s computerized accounting and complex tax laws would still be no match for the sensibility and nuanced understanding that working your own numbers gives to a business owner. Al, and his other business partners benefited greatly from this essential activity.
At the Electrical Safety Association Al was appointed to lead stronger integration of contractors with the associations mandate for safe electrical installation. He was hand picked by the Directors to use his attention to detail and commitment to professional advancement of contractors for the good of all. He is also a member of the Ontario Hydro Provincial Advisory Committee. Al was instrumental in the re-instatement of electrical co-operative programs in high schools, a key program promoting safety and interest in the industry. Al is a big supporter of apprentice training in both the industry and in his own company.
Al’s contributions outside the contracting industry reflect his appreciation for community and family. He is a member of the Sons of Italy, has been President of his church’s Catholic Men’s Organization, and supported the Hamilton in Bloom traffic island program.
Al played for the Hamilton Junior Tiger’s and is an active member of the Alumni Association and supportive of its programs to assist former Tiger Cat players to be recognized at home games.
With approximately 20 vehicles on the road to service clients, Merlo Electric is widely recognized in the city and surrounding areas. Clients include Multi Area Development, Victoria Park Community Homes, Hamilton and District Catholic School Board, CityHousing Hamilton, and many others.
For its commitment to service, Merlo Electric was awarded a City of Hamilton Business Appreciation Award in 2016.
Together with his wife Marilyn, married for over 60 years, two children, sons in-law and four grandchildren, Al Merlo has contributed to the improvement of our community through Merlo Electric and the many causes he supports. And with maintenance contracts in place for the next 7 years, Merlo Electric is sure to remain a fixture in our city, meeting the needs of clients and supporting the community.
For the contributions of his firm and his own dedication to the construction industry, it is a pleasure to induct Al Merlo to the Hamilton-Halton Construction Hall of Fame.