Canada News

The Resurrection of ‘Tornado’

12 December 2007 at 22:38 | 1218 views

By Lisa Borgoni

We live in an age of opportunity. All around the world there are countless prospects for people attempting to break out into the business world, yet it might be the hardest thing one might ever try to accomplish.

Many businesses fail as quickly as they get going; there’s no way of predicting the success a business might or might not have. Many new business owners, no matter what their status, ethnicity, or education, are clueless when it comes to running a business successfully.

However, Jim Sundar, owner of an increasingly successful building maintenance corporation, ‘Tornado’, knows just what to do when it comes to running a highly successful company.

Jim Sundar was born in 1948. He grew up and was educated in the Fiji Islands, but at the age of 21 left his home country in search of new opportunities.

“The grass is always greener on the other side,” Jim explains, and Canada was the other side, half way across the world.

He arrived in Vancouver, Canada, in 1969 in search of work and an opening into the business world. He found himself struggling to find a decent job and eventually got involved in General Cleaning Services.

He ascended quickly, receiving many promotions in a short time, progressing to the title of operations manager. He resigned General Cleaning Services in 1970 and moved to Grand Cache, Alberta, where he found himself working for Drew’s Cleaning Service as a superintendent.

After six months, Jim resigned from his position once again and moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1971 to start his own janitorial business called ‘Tornado’.

‘Tornado’ is a company that specializes in “janitorial services, including commercial cleaning, office cleaning and building cleaning inside and out,” says Jim.

In 1974, after only three years of establishing ‘Tornado’, Jim was swimming in success. He found himself operating a huge company with 1,300 employees and a large clientele base.

Listen to Jim: “I owned everything in Alberta, many different businesses; apartment blocks of all sizes, movie theatres, manufacturing warehouses, hotels and a night club, Cocktails and Dreams”.

Jim owned the most powerful and successful business in the service industry well through the 70’s and into the 80’s. His business was pulling in $20 million annually, but the dream was about to end.

In the 80’s Jim lost 13 million dollars overnight - 10 million was lost when Principle Group went bankrupt and another 3 million was lost when Pioneer Trust went bankrupt. After this horrifying and sudden loss, Jim moved back to Vancouver, slowed business down in Alberta and remained relatively inactive with ‘Tornado’ up until 2006.

In October 2006, Jim’s sons Darren, 23, and Daryl, 21, suggested that they start up ‘Tornado’ again. Jim agreed and the business became a family affair with Jim owning it, his sons running it and his wife constantly helping out. ‘Tornado’ was back in Alberta, as well as their new location in Delta, Surrey.

When asked about his success with ‘Tornado’ after his first year back with the resurrected company, Jim has this to say: “ In one year we have hired 350 part-time and full-time employees, we hold many big accounts [such as,] Cascades Casino in Langley, Empire Theatres in Guildford, the bridge company Golden Years, as well as many high-rises. We also had an annual income of 2.5 million dollars”.

There are a lot of opportunities for employees within ‘Tornado’ to move upwards in the company. Jim explains that “workers grow in [our] company. Cleaners become foremen, foremen become supervisors and supervisors become operations managers”; but there are also the positions of accountant, sales, bookkeeper and secretary, people that work alongside Jim, his sons and his wife.

‘Tornado’ is off to a successful start in only its first year back in business, but how is Jim’s company able to achieve such success so quickly? Jim says the key to success is “hard work".

"You’re always on the job, you make sure the clients are happy, you maintain commitment to customer satisfaction, always exceed the customer’s expectations and look after your customers”.

When asked if Canada is a land of opportunity to anyone seeking to establish a successful business Jim replied “opportunity is everywhere and success is everywhere, you just need to look for it. Canada has a lot to offer, there is great opportunity here for anyone looking for it and willing to work hard for success”.

Success can only be achieved through hard work and ambition and ‘Tornado’ possesses the qualities necessary to succeed.
The future for ‘Tornado’ is looking bright, according to its owners. With never ceasing success in both Edmonton and Delta, ‘Tornado’ is certain to rise to the number one service company around.

When asked if Jim would like to see ‘Tornado’ in the number one spot again he replied “No, I’d [prefer] to be number 2 in the market so there’s always a challenge and a chance to work harder”.

He hopes that in three to four years ‘Tornado’ can achieve their number two spot in the market and become a 10 million dollar company. He is confident that this is an obtainable goal, and with the business experience behind Jim it is also a realistic one.

Canada was refuge for a young man seeking opportunity 38 years ago. Jim Sundar exercised his natural talent for business and turned the one thousand dollars he came to Canada with into millions. He has experienced great success in Canada, respects the country, and calls it his home.

With two locations, countless employees, a growing clientele base and never-ceasing opportunities, there is every rreason to believe that ‘Tornado’ company will achieve the same success it once had.

Photo:Two of Jim Sundar’s employees that clean Empire Studio 12 Guildford.