Bill Leary, 44, a resident of Edison, was honored by the MCVTS Board of Education the district’s 2014 Business Partner of the Year for his desire to “give back” to the school that gave him his start.
He launched Bill Leary Air Conditioning and Heating in 1989, the year after he graduated from Piscataway Vo-Tech, after working part time while in school to build up a base of clients. In addition to serving on the MCVTS HVAC advisory committee, he also hires MCVTS students and graduates, mentors them and helps them launch their careers in the industry.
One of his current employees is Joseph Bonner, a senior in the MCVTS School of Career Development on the East Brunswick campus.
“We’re giving them work and we’re teaching them,” Leary said of the MCVTS students he has hired. “We’re basically showing them what the real world is about. It’s about working hard.”
Leary said he has been impressed by the willingness of his young hires, including Bonner, to take advantage of their opportunity.
“It’s really about their attitude,” he said. “If they’re willing to work, if they’re responsible, if they can keep working hard no matter what the task is, then they’re someone you’re willing to invest the time in.”
MCVTS Superintendent of Schools Brian J. Loughlin noted that Leary’s high school 1988 yearbook depicted him as a “class clown” but also as one of the people who did the most for the school. An Iselin resident at the time, he participated in the Skills USA competition and also was on the baseball team.
Leary said his mother was influential in his decision to attend a vocational school, and talks with school guidance counselors led him to study heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
He and his wife, Tracey, have three daughters, ranging in age from 12 to 16.