Many Filipinos want to make it on their own – establish their own business and be their own boss – and most of these entrepreneurs are very successful in their chosen fields of business. Mario Hernandez is one of them. He and his wife Maria run a successful construction business, and they have inspired even their own children to pursue their own dreams of running their own businesses.
Mario is a typical Pinoy, born in Taliba, San Luis, Batangas, to Eufemio and Naty Hernandez. He grew up in Batangas and eventually earned his Bachelor of Science and Arts Degree from Lyceum of Manila as a working student.
“These experiences in my life made me strong, confident and easy to face all the challenges,” says Mario. He married Maria Hernandez who was a neighbor in San Luis, Batangas and with God’s blessings, were given and brought up four children.
To provide for his family, Mario put up a metal works business that produced steel windows, trusses, stainless tanks and stairs, and eventually moved into construction. His patience, dedication and hard work led him to sign up big companies like Globe Telecom, Asian Construction and other government projects.
Despite his success in business in the Philippines, Canada summoned, and after Maria’s visit to Quebec to see family in the 1990s, they were convinced that Canada was the perfect place to raise their family. They landed in 2001 after a year in the US. As a newcomer to Canada, Mario worked in several companies but his heart was in putting up a business.
He did his research on which trades were successful in Canada and found out that plumbing, electrical, welding and other similar trades were the way to go. He decided to do plumbing and eventually worked for a plumbing company, and his employer sent him to plumbing school in 2001. He finished his plumbing course within four years and took the exams as journeyman plumber.
“This course helped me to gain knowledge and I decided to establish a plumbing business. Eventually, I convinced my eldest son to study plumbing and he now owns a plumbing business of his own, and one of his projects is Vancouver City Hall which will expand his experiences and knowledge,” the proud father shares.
Mario admits that competition is tight in the industry and all it takes is good marketing and personal involvement with communities.
“My business gained ground in the Filipino community through the help of advertisement
in PNT owned by Rey and Cely Fortaleza. Advertisement and networking are important tools in expanding my business,” Mario adds. He also says that as contractors, patience, hard work, and being friendly to people are also key elements to a successful business.
He also says it is necessary to give back to the community. “My company helps and teaches individuals who have an interest in plumbing. It is important to be involved in the Filipino community and other communities here in Canada to help people who are in need. Maria and I joined the Fil-Can Cultural Heritage Society in Surrey or FCCHS to help individuals/associations in Canada and for projects in the Philippines.”
In addition to Mario’s expertise in the plumbing business, Maria studied a course in restoration and they started their business named ARV Construction and Restoration which deals with insurance adjusters.
Mario hopes that more Fil-Canadians take up the courage to establish a business in Canada. “I advise my kababayans to study and upgrade based on their interests, and
share with people what you learn and experience. You should have a positive attitude
to be successful in life, and God will do the rest.”
Indeed, Mario’s positive attitude and deep faith in God and his family are what helps keep the smile on his face and his customers happy.