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Against competition that would think nothing of freezing him out, Bob Thurber ’86 serves as general manager of Gary Air in Sarasota, Fla., the state with the most air conditioning companies in the nation. Gary Air has become a multi-million dollar company with several thousand customers.

It’s not quite what Thurber expected when he graduated as a government and law major. He got a job with IBM out of college and within a couple years joined the commercial real estate firm Helmsley-Spear in New York City. More than a decade later, the chance to help a friend develop an air conditioning company proved too hot to pass up. The business started in his friend’s kitchen but it quickly became home to Thurber.

A New Jersey native, Thurber and his family moved down to the Sunshine State. Though he’s proud to have helped grow the company, it is a seven-day, 60-hour-per-week (at least) job, and he hasn’t been able to return to the College on the Hill in many years.

His line of work might surprise those he studied with, but he’s taken to heart lessons he learned in John Merrill’s government and law classes.

“His personality and his attitude let me know that if I worked hard enough, good things would happen,” he says.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles