Letter from the President

In Memory of Peter Tar

Peter Tar passed away in his sleep sometime early Sunday morning February 21.

He is survived by his wife Ellen, who he has been with for 16 years, three children Amanda, Ryan and Peter, grandchildren, father Charlie and two brothers Zultan and Tommy.

Peter would have been 60 this March 23, 2021.

Peter and I both had fathers who ran their own air compressor company. His father Charlie ran a business named Industrial Air Compressor and like my dad, worked on the business until very late in life. They were both gamers. And that is where I first met both Peter and Charlie nearly 20+ years ago.

We remained in touch over the net few years and when Peter was ready to make a change, he and I spoke about him being part of our Airmatic family and he has been here ever since. That discussion took place over 16 years ago, and it has always been a decision I never had to think twice about.

Peter sent inspirational emails to me often saying how proud he was of me and how my parents would be so proud of what we have accomplished at Airmatic. He didn’t need to do that, he was just showing appreciation and gratitude and a nice feeling and sentiment. He was always thoughtful and kind to send email messages around the holidays wishing me and my family well.

Peter was many things to me. He was a skilled technician, a workhorse of a man, unafraid to take a challenge on and smart enough to know when he needed help. He was also a dedicated member of Airmatic, very kind, humble, giving and a considerate and thoughtful man.

He trained us to believe that he would stay and finish the job to his best ability. That he would be there for others and support everyone anyway he could.   He always made us feel that he gave us an honest day ‘s work. That mattered to Peter, he had sense of pride and gratitude to give it his best on every job every day.

He was a leader, not in the vocal sense, but with his humility and kindness that he would share with someone who was new, or if they have been in the compressor room as long as he had. It didn’t matter to Peter.   Whether a field technician, service coordinator, finance, sales or management, he was a good man to all and always available to help.

He approached people with consideration, openness, cooperation and with an attitude that we are all on the same team and that he would do whatever he could to help us move forward.  Peter would send me notes, about how happy he was at Airmatic and how proud my father would be of where the company is now. He didn’t do it to advance his position or anything disingenuous, it was Peter being Peter bringing something nice and kind to another human being.

He never missed an opportunity to say thank you for anything the company was able to provide: be it a Christmas bonus, increase in 401k, or just some understanding of something personal happening in his life and being given the time and space to sort it out. Never. Trust me, you can never have too much of that. Those are the things that Airmatic will miss, that I will miss about Peter. He embodied principles that I am striving and working for the company and for me to achieve.

To give some depth and insight to all of you on what type of a man he was and what in part he meant to me personally, I want to talk about two emails he recently sent my way.

The first from the morning of last March 18,2020, two days after Bergen County announced a business stoppage for Bergen County was to go into effect, and one day after I sent an email to the entire organization about the Coronavirus, what the impact would look like, what troubles were to come and what we needed to do in order to come out the other side of it intact, together, as one and in the lead position.

Personally, it was as an emotional roller coaster of a ride I have ever had in business. Starting with the news Monday night of the 16th. It was shock and disbelief that a virus could shut us all down, to fear that all that has been worked for could be lost, to anger that for all of the things this company has seen in nearly 45 years, that this could be the end of it, to acceptance that there are things that I cannot change, that I need the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference and then into action that we will not choose to live in fear, that we will live in the facts and that we will not play the victim card in any of what was going to happen.

Then, my email to the company at the end of day Tuesday March 17, 2020. After all of that, we knew we had the fight of our business life ahead of us. Nothing was certain. Our jobs, our security, the business surviving.  Nothing. Peter didn’t know about my emotional roller coaster ride, I didn’t share that with him.

But what he did next was extraordinary to me. Peter wrote back to me, in far fewer words than what I sent out to everyone, but every bit as meaningful and powerful to me.  On the morning of March 18 at 7:51a.  He simply wrote:

Thank you for the update.  I will do whatever is possible and can for Airmatic
It is a great company to work for.
Peter Tar

The second, came the afternoon of December 7, 2020 after I sent the email out about Airmatic’s 45th anniversary and how it all started with my father in our lobby office with a phone. Again, Peter and I had in common that both of our father’s had their own air compressor company. Even though Peter was a little wordier with this email than the one from last March, it was every bit as meaningful and powerful to me.

He wrote:

Just wanted say congratulations on the anniversary of Airmatic. Your father did what he had to do for the family [as mine did]. 
I am sure your father is extremely proud of you and your accomplishments with Airmatic 
And I am proud to be working for such a great company
Peter Tar

And, I am sure Peter, that your father was proud of your accomplishments too.

Maybe some of you, don’t need words of encouragement, or words of appreciation or words of commitment, to help keep you going. That’s fine, everyone has their own clock that makes them tick.

I for one can admit and tell you that in the past I have needed it and I’m sure will need it in the future.    And I never fully realize just how much I need it until it is actually gifted to me. Peter, often did that for me.  And now, physically, Peter will no longer be there to email me or speak those words to me.

Peter, however, will be here for me and everyone else, if we choose to honor him by passing on to others what Peter so unselfishly gave to us. I always believed that Peter had my back. I always believed that Peter would support me with all his abilities. I always believed that Peter was there to pick me up in a time of great need.

I always believed Peter’s gift to pick me up, in my time of uncertainty by saying a few words, or his ability to relate with me about our father’s history and accomplishments and his ability to be happy for me without expecting anything in return, was an example to me as to how to be and treat others.

I can only hope that I earned that with Peter.

That is truly remarkable. For him to consistently be there. Think about it, how many people either don’t take a moment, that costs nothing but means everything, to encourage someone in time of need.

To be aware of the magnitude of a situation and offer support. To let them know that they are not in it alone. Many people think it will be up to the next guy, let the next guy handle it, if they think about it at all. For many, Peter would step up to be that next guy. For Peter, he was being Peter.

On Thursday February 18, 2021 we all celebrated John Czernikowski’s 36 years with Airmatic. I mentioned how through the years he has seen among other things life and death inside our company.

Never did I think we would be here four days later talking about death inside our Airmatic family. Never did I think we would be speaking of Peter Tar.

Then on Friday February 19, 2021, Peter and I were both in the office, by my desk, and we had a chance to catch up. In classic Peter style, he kept having “just one more thing he wanted to tell me” before he took off. He spoke to me, in good humor, about his dad, and how he and Ellen are taking care of him along with his brother. Peter wasn’t bragging about being such a good son. Without thinking about it, he was putting light on another area of how he is an example of what we call can be by taking care of those who need it, with sacrifice and love.

Then, our last words to each other were about how it was good to see one another. We thanked each other and verbalized appreciation for one another. We wished each other well and that we would see each other soon. Then he exited through the door, and that was the last that I spoke with or saw of Peter.

We can never take life for granted life. Those who we have with us today are not guaranteed us tomorrow. We need to show love, appreciation and respect to those in our Airmatic family as well as our ones at home. That’s why I often say that we need to show appreciation, respect and love for those in our company. We need to show that to our families. I am also reminded, that we never know when our last communication with someone will be and with that, there are no do-overs.

We never know. I really wish Peter could be with us as we move forward, on from the events of the past year. It would have been easier with him and more rewarding. Peter worked at Airmatic for 16 years this past October. Our Airmatic family sends its thoughts, prayers, love and support to his wife Ellen and all of Peter’s family. He will be missed but not forgotten.