Harj Johal

Q&A, Forty Under 40 Winner 2020, CEO, Alpine Building Maintenance Inc., Age 35


Q&A with Harj Johal Forty Under 40 Winner 2020, CEO, Alpine Building Maintenance Inc., Age 35

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

My parents shaped my work ethic. I watched them work day and night to provide a good living for our family. My dad catapulted me into the family business at a young age to keep me from getting in trouble. I worked as a janitor scrubbing floors and learned the value of a dollar the hard way.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Playing golf on a weekday.

What is the best book you would recommend?

How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis.

Now that you’re entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

I’m going to prioritize my family and health first. Life without balance leads to burnout. I want to be in the best shape of my life in my 40s.

Choose one of these five childhood career dreams: Rock star, star athlete, prime minister, astronaut, detective.

Definitely an athlete.

Name your happiest place.

Somewhere hot, preferably on a golf course. 

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Spending a big chunk of the family’s money to expand through acquisition. Acquiring my first company was a nerve-racking experience. Not knowing if I’d recoup the investment or if I got the investment thesis wrong kept me up at night.

Advice you would give your 20-year-old self?

Be different – don’t follow the crowd.

What is your best habit?

Waking up at 4 a.m. to workout and meditate.

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I’m still loving watching cartoons.

Best piece of advice ever received?

Get out on your own two feet as early as possible, don’t get used to a paycheck.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Winning the company’s first multimillion-dollar contract.