In Brooklyn, New York, Gentlemen Sheet Metal Ltd. owner Paul Appel is the “last man standing” of an increasingly rare pedigree of sheet metal shops and owners. His father, Dennis, a Local 28 foreman, opened Gentlemen with a partner in 1979. Appel came on in 1987 at his parents’ request and put his accounting background to use managing the shop’s books.
“That’s where I found they needed the most help,” says Appel, a graduate of Hofstra University in Long Island. His younger brother, Dennis Jr., was already working as a tin knocker out of high school and soon moved over to the family business as an installer. “Originally when I came, I didn’t even know what I was going to do. I didn’t know where I fit in.”