Brothers in Business: Meet Ross and Tyler Symens of The Woodlands
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Ross and Tyler Symens are successful business owners in The Woodlands, but first and foremost, they're brothers.
'It's been a constant path together.' Tyler Symens, Hal Watson Air Conditioning Company
Ross and Tyler, originally from Colorado, spent their formative years in Calgary, AB, Canada where they bonded over skateboarding, biking, fishing and skiing.
'Everything we did was together,' Tyler said.
It's not terribly surprising, then, that the brothers went on to become prominent businessmen in The Woodlands – although they both tried their hands at different careers before settling in to business mode.
After graduating from McCullough High School in The Woodlands, Ross, president and owner of Town Center Automotive, headed to University of Texas-San Antonio to study engineering.
It lasted a year.
'I didn't want to sit in an office and be tied to a desk,' Ross said. 'I came home and tried to figure out what to do. My dad said 'how about automotive,' because I enjoy taking things apart and fixing them.'
Ross agreed with his father and began working in the automotive/express lube industry. He did side work in his parents' driveway, enrolled at North Harris College – currently known as Lone Star College – and received an applied sciences degree in automotive.
'In between having a regular job, I'd work from when I got home until 2-3 a.m. in the morning, whatever it took, and then get up and go to my real job,' Ross said. 'So for 15 plus years I was building clientele.'
Ross worked as an automotive technician at CarMax before venturing out on his own in 2008 with the launch of Town Center Automotive.
'I knew I wanted to do this and have my own ship, but there's a lot that goes in to being a business owner,' said Ross, a father of two. 'Not only are you taking care of your own family, you're now providing for everyone else (staff).'
Meanwhile, Ross' younger brother Tyler Symens also had an eye on owning his own business.
Tyler, a 41-year-old father of three and grandfather of two, is the man behind Hal Watson Air Conditioning Company.
'I started doing HVAC in high school as a helper,' Tyler said. 'That's how I spent my summers.'
After high school – Tyler was among the last graduating class at McCullough High School – he did a year-long stint as an EMT. It just wasn't a good fit for him, he said, and since he'd still been working in HVAC part time, he opted to dive in fulltime.
'I hired on with a company that was doing new construction in The Woodlands,' Tyler said. 'I figured if I was going to do it, why not start at the beginning and learn everything?'
Tyler worked as a residential technician before branching out into commercial service, eventually receiving his Texas state license. He worked at Hal Watson as a subcontractor, becoming good friends with the company's namesake's son Bob Watson.
'One day, I said 'Bob you look tired. you should sell me your company.' And he said 'okay.' That's how this journey started,' Tyler said.
While owning a company certainly comes with its fair share of administrative duties, Tyler still loves to get his hands dirty.
'When I'm stressed, I get out in the field and fix things,' Tyler said. 'I really enjoy the satisfaction of arriving somewhere, seeing that a piece of machinery is broken, and fixing it.'
Whether fixing stuff or just hanging out, Tyler and Ross have always enjoyed their time together.
'When we moved to The Woodlands we started a lawn service that we had for four or five years,' Tyler said. 'Every waking hour of the summer we spent together doing that.'
Today, the brothers live in the same neighborhood. They don't necessarily look up to each other – instead, they see themselves as equals on the same path to success.
'It's more like we're walking through everything together because we've always been so close, even when it came to starting businesses and families,' said Tyler. 'It's been a constant path together.'