Tadeo Peralta Johnson: A View from Both Sides
Tadeo Peralta Johnson
Title: Founder and VP of Sales
Company: T & P Refrigeracion
Location: Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
No. of Branches: 9
No. of Employees: 134
Year Founded: 1991
Tom Perić: Tell us a little bit about your company.
Tadeo Peralta Johnson: My brother-in-law Oscar Tapia and I started the company 25 years ago in our home city of Hermosillo, the capital city of the Mexican state of Sonora. T&P stands for Tapia and Peralta, our last names.
We are distributors for air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration equipment as well as installation materials and parts used, to repair, service and install all of those equipment lines.
As wholesalers, we work and promote two-step distribution, and our core customer group is composed of professional HVAC and refrigeration contractors that do commercial and industrial work and some residential. We do not sell to end users, and that makes us probably one of the very few true wholesalers in Mexico.
We have nine branches in nine cities and five states throughout northwestern Mexico and a distribution center at Hermosillo.
TP: I met you some years back at a HARDI annual conference. How did you become aware of HARDI, and why did you join?
TPJ: By referrals from our suppliers. Oscar and I were at the Chicago annual ASRHAE Expo back in 2006 when we visited the HARDI booth and talked to Don Frendberg.
We joined HARDI because we were looking for an association where we could learn from the best in the industry, meet people, have fun, and give back some of what the industry has given us.
HARDI has been all that and much more; it has become our path to success ever since.
TP: What do you see as the major difference or differences between the way Mexican wholesalers operate compared with their U.S. counterparts?
TPJ: Order, teamwork, and collaboration as a whole industry, and I am not only talking about wholesalers but manufacturers and contractors, too.
Most of the players in Mexico are cats or dogs; they do not know if they are cats or dogs [they don’t understand their role in the distribution business], which makes things more difficult for the industry to improve.
We really need manufacturers to start following the two-step distribution they endorse in North America and force wholesalers to do the same for the good of the industry and the profitability of our businesses.
TP: What book or movie have your read or watched more than once? Why?
TPJ: That is an easy one. I have watched “Dances with Wolves” at least 10 times, it is such a great movie, story, actors, landscapes … breathless every time I watch it.
TP: You are an engineer by training. How did you get into the HVACR wholesale business?
TPJ: Yes, I am an engineer by training but an entrepreneur by nature; it is in my DNA.
I have always wanted to start a business, so I came to the U.S. to work with an appliance contractor to learn the trade, and it happens this gentleman did refrigeration and air conditioning as well. Once I learned enough, I came back to Mexico and started an appliance and HVACR shop.
Back then, it was not easy to find the right parts needed to finish the work, so I decided to open a parts store and went into this venture with my partner and brother-in-law, Oscar.
TP: As a Mexican wholesaler, what is the biggest myth you have to confront when dealing with Americans in the same industry?
TPJ: Speaking in general, I would say the size and potential of Mexico and its 120 million population.
Speaking about distribution, its the belief of most manufacturers to target the Mexican market differently in comparison with the domestic wholesalers and contrary to what HARDI stands for and supports, which is two-step distribution.
TP: Your last name is Johnson. Most people would not associate that last name as one of Mexican origin. Is there a story behind it?
TPJ: Yes, and it is called immigration, and all of the [North] American continent is full of immigrants.
I am proud to be a Mexican citizen as well as a U.S. citizen: Mexican because of my mother, Johnson, whose ancestors came from England to Kentucky in the 18th century and then moved to Mexico, where my mother was born and raised. I’m a U.S. citizen because of my dad, Peralta, whose ancestors came from Spain to Mexico and then moved to California, where my dad was born and raised and even fought in WWII. He is 90 years old and probably one of the few verterans still alive.
TP: What do you consider the most significant problem in the HVACR industry, and how would you solve it?
TPJ: Adapting to the new era of knowledge.
I think the answer is in the [HARDI’s] emerging leaders group, and we should support them and leave them the necessary space to do what they know.
By the way, emerging leaders program is to me one of the most clever ideas I have seen in the 10 years of being a HARDI member.
TP: If you had to pick a movie star, who do you think most resembles you?
TPJ: Good question. Let me know if you come up with someone.
TP: You have the term “refrigeration” in your company name. Do you do more than refrigeration work?
TPJ: Yes, our product mix runs about 75 percent HVAC and 25 percent refrigeration.
TP: Do you sell strictly to contractors, or do you also sell to retailers?
TPJ: Strictly to contractors.
We work and promote two-step distribution, and our core customer group is composed of professional HVAC and refrigeration contractors.
TP: The last time we spoke, you had picked up golf. Are you getting any better?
TPJ: Poquito — just a little bit — but I have been working hard to improve my game. I am currently a 13 HC [handicap].
I picked up golf three years ago, and so far my biggest success has been shooting a 32 on the back nine. Yes … like the boys on Golf Channel at least for one time. DC