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Gateway Mechanical hires nine former JSL employees
Alberta-based company steps in to take over shut-down company

Kirsten Fenn
Northern News Services
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Nine people who were laid off last month from longtime Yellowknife plumbing and heating company JSL Mechanical are back in business - this time with Alberta-based Gateway Mechanical.

NNSL photo/graphic

Gateway Mechanical staff Margaret McPherson, left, and Brendan Finnigan are pictured at the company's new Yellowknife office on Coronation Drive on Oct. 6. They moved from Alberta last week to get the new Yellowknife office up and running with nine former JSL Mechanical employees. Kirsten Fenn/NNSL Photo

Gateway provides HVAC, plumbing, refrigeration and maintenance services. The company hopes that by setting up shop in Yellowknife it can help former JSL customers keep their homes warm as winter sets in this year.

"We basically look at this like a Gateway Mechanical launch," the company's CEO Jackson von der Ohe said.

JSL was forced to lay off its 19 employees after going into receivership and closing down in September. Gateway stepped in to take over the company.

The new owners now occupy the former JSL office on Coronation Drive in the Kam Lake area and officially opened for operation on Oct. 5, von der Ohe said.

The nine JSL staff who were hired by the company include technicians, service co-ordinators, business developers, burner specialists and plumbers.

"What is good for a Gateway Mechanical launch is to grab the people who are available to us (and) are excited about our mission," von der Ohe said.

And they've been busy.

"The phones are ringing," said Gateway service foreman Brendan Finnigan, who came up from Alberta to Yellowknife with colleague Margaret McPherson to get the new Yellowknife office off the ground.

"The technicians we have are working full days and booking ahead," he said.

So far, Gateway has taken on about half of JSL's former clients and has steady work lined up until the end of the year, Finnigan said.

"But there's probably a lot of clients that don't know that we are up and running as of yet," he said.

Former JSL employee Gail McQueen is one of the nine staff members who has found a job again with Gateway.

She was only out of work for two weeks before being hired as the company's receptionist, she said, time she took as a bit of a break before signing what she said was a good contract with the new business.

"We're trying to get everything back up and running," McQueen said. "It's just going to take time."

Gateway will try to build upon the foundation former JSL Mechanical founder Joe Leonardis created, von der Ohe said.

He knows they can never replace him.

"Everybody that knows Joe Leonardis loves him. There's only one," von der Ohe said. "We're not Joe and we don't pretend to be. But we're really excited to be in the North.

"We look at it as an opportunity for us to learn that environment really well and to take care of the people that this team has been taking care of for so long," he said.

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