Daniel T. Donnelly
Daniel T. Donnelly founded Donnelly Mechanical in 1989 and Donnelly Sustainable Energy Services (SES) in 2009. In 2018, Donnelly Mechanical was acquired by Engie North America, and Mr. Donnelly remains in a business development role. In addition, he enjoys being a serial entrepreneur in several other affiliated engineering and environmental businesses.
Mr. Donnelly has over 40 years of industry experience and holds significant expertise in all facets of the HVAC and energy business, including estimating, budgeting, engineering, design build, turn-key construction, trade management, LEED BIM projects, energy consulting, HVAC energy technical surveys/audits. His career is decorated by numerous major projects, including Carnegie Hall, New York Stock Exchange, Forbes, NFL, Major League Baseball, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Colgate, Morgan Stanley, Yahoo, New York Public Libraries and Disney/ABC.
In his spare time, Dan uses his clinical hypnosis and life coaching skills for mentoring organizations and to assist other budding entrepreneurs to help them reach their dreams.
Dan is also well known for his philanthropic efforts and is very involved with many charitable and mentoring organizations, including the Mollie Biggane Melanoma Foundation, the North Shore Family Guidance Center, and Student Sponsor Partners. Below is a complete list of the board positions Mr. Donnelly holds as well as community associations in which he participates.
Mr. Donnelly has a degree from City College of New York and holds licenses and certifications in the following areas:
- WELL AP, LEED AP O&M, CEM, CIEC, DCIE, CHC, EBCP
- Refrigeration Engineer License NYC #5795
- Certified Demand Site Professional #1301
- Indoor Air Quality Air System Cleaning Specialist #6990870
- US Army Cold War Certificate
- ACC Certified Life Coach
- NGH Clinical Hypnosis
- Board President – Veneto, NYC
- Vice President – St. Mel’s Academy, Flushing, NY
- Life Director – Garden City Men’s Association
- Past President – Executive Association of New York
- Board Position – Mentor NY
- Board Position- Madison Boys and Girls Club
- Chairman – National Kidney Foundation Annual Kidney Walk
- Board Position- Knight of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, New York City
- NYC Cooling Tower Services
- Elite CAD Designs- 3D & BIM Design, Scanning
Watch Mr. Donnelly’s Interview on Building New York-New York Life Stories
Click to View Transcriptmajor funding for these broadcasts has been provided by grants from new york community bank capital one bank Eastern consolidated M&T bank sterling National Bank Meridian capital group the witkoff organization customers bank aerial property advisors chase commercial term lending chase mortgage lending perfect building maintenance genova burns additional funding has been provided by AKA hotels Korman communities amtrust title insurance company AVR realty company Bank of America Merrill Lynch bank leumi USA briarwood organization CBRE citizens bank cohen equities Colliers International NYC collins building services connect one bank cpe x real estate services dime community bank douglaston development levine builders flushing bank Friedman LLP handro properties handler real estate organization hap investments hodges ward Elliot Inc investors bank James D Kuhn real estate Center at Syracuse University Kilroy architectural windows Madison realty capital mattone group mercantil Bank newbanks newmark grubb knight frank optimum window manufacturing corp people’s united bank polsinelli rosewood realty services SJP properties stonehenge partners TD bank terra crg the knakal group at cushman and wakefield meringoff Family Foundation the monian group and these friends the Bronx maspeth Flushing New York newspaper routes go into the candy store now you know I’m gonna join the army reserve to get a training maybe one day in long island city i’ll get an opportunity you know i’ll get involved with this company what am I going to do I don’t have any trade I’m going to learn something now you know I’m going to go out on my own I’m gonna try to build a business i’m not going to build a business i’m going to build a great business i’m going to become a certified hypnotist i’m gonna be a life coach i got Dan Donnelly today thanks for being here Mike thanks thanks for having me your mother and father very interesting and wonderful people but tell me about your dad when he came over he came over in the late nineteen forty nine it’s right after the war how old was he when he came over 25 26 he said he was really was uneducated really didn’t have skills had no family here just came over on the boat he decided that he was going to take his shot he was looking for the land of opportunity he came over started at a bobby pin Factory you know very manual labor job and didn’t make enough money so he went to work as a bartender now he had a very interesting appeal to bar owners my father was a pioneer both my father and mother were pioneers which mean they had take a vow of abstinence that never drinking alcohol in their entire life so my father was the perfect bartender and he had a series of jobs upon jobs upon jobs to support his family and what I learned from my father and to this day is just a tremendous work ethic but let’s let’s talk about some of the jobs because you did tell me about many of the jobs and you said you know your father worked like three shifts a day yes always working yeah you know for you and your brothers and sister yeah with it but what were some of the jobs because so he was a job was the one he really loved those so yes so he um he was a bridge operator at the Green Point Bridge he was a toll operator he used to raise the bridge we used to go watch him raise the bridge he worked as a steamfitter at Rikers Island Department of Correction he got his fantasy job working as a steam for the Department of Parks he was always fixing things and he was always helping other people so during the during our childhood he must have had six or seven jobs and what he would do is every Friday night he would bring dinner home which was at that time sword fish or shrimp and he would take an old newspaper called the chief and look for job opportunities in civil service so he must he worked as a custodian he worked as a janitor he did anything he could do to put food on the table for his family so that’s dad tell me about mom was born here mom was born in the Bronx I was born in the Bronx how many bet her parents he he worked very very hard this is a grandpa grandpa yeah and my grandmother who was my godmother and the source of a lot of magic in my life raised my mother and my mother had a sister that was blind at Birth who was just absolutely spectacular wrote a book where I had a newsstand but my mother basically worked as a switchboard operator right the big boys yeah this is back when phones were phones and you know can i connect you she had a great job she met my father and they decided that they were going to have a family and my mother’s life took off from that point so my mother what she would do again we didn’t have a lot of money and what she would do is she would take in kids before child care existed yes you said your home was always occupied all these kids running around the house originally it was they were in the Bronx mm-hm then you were born in maspeth and then they moved to flushing which they still live right so my mother passed four months ago but my father still lives there okay and your mother initially how’d she get into daycare but so um oddly enough she was attracted or women that were either not married or divorced or separated had to find some place for the kids and time it was a very difficult time to find childcare so my mother would always have two or three kids sometimes up to four running around the house and we were basically a child care institution the place the place was a zoo so tell me about growing up in flushing you told me you really enjoy growing up with love flushing yeah you played stickball they played sports you did other things over there flushing we grew up in whitestone queens and went to a great school st. Mel’s and we played CYO basketball and CYO baseball and Michael from the from the point the Sun came up in the morning till the point when it was dead at night we were playing sports we didn’t know anything better so how did this is Irish Catholic kid who goes to CYO goes to Catholic school end up going to Jewish day school Jewish day camps in the summer so my mother my mother was ahead of her time in a lot of different areas and my brother with special needs and she worked with robert f kennedy downtown and Main Street on what was a start-up organization time called head start and we had no money and somehow in the conversations with the executives at project head start they said listen we have some openings if you’d like to go to summer camp we have some openings at the ymha if you you know if you want in your sister want to go you can go so for two summers I spent going to summer camp and having just an amazing time and it was just one of those stories I look back at my life and it just makes my life more culturally diverse let’s talk about the newspaper ads he had a couple of them love them yeah there was news day there was the news and the post with great so there was a long island press and then there was a daily news and my father had a rule in the house which was at seven o’clock in the morning he wanted to hear feet on the floor now and so you had to get your feet in the floor you how to do something you might as well work so he encouraged us to work and I got a job and my first job was a newspaper route and i loved it i made money and at that time you made money on tips when you went to the door and collecting and and the first i would say if the first three months i was able to buy myself a bicycle and I realized the power of working and controlling your own destiny and then putting some money in the bank was just amazing so I not only had one newspaper route I had three and then I would take side money folding the papers for other guys in preparation for their route and it was a great source of revenue for me now what happened was you took the money if you made enough on Friday yeah he went to the candy store yes that tell tell me tell my audience what and what you had the french fries and the egg cream or the milkshake I mean you know depending on how the tips were that kind of was good week so it was a good week you go to pops candy store and you would have a chocolate egg cream and a fries but have you had a really great weekend you head out of the park you had a pizza bagel and a chocolate shake or if you really really had a great week you might even go with the cheeseburger you never told me about that you only told me about the good week and the very good I don’t always give it up on the first okay so they had the cheeseburger now so then the newspaper route changed and then you got to work for shop right I did I did it took a series of jobs frozen foods frozen I mean I was a cashier you know it was easier I work for Sammy the frozen food guy who was there for 15 years and loved frozen food and his responsibility was those three aisles of frozen food and I was his guy and he protected me as if I was his own and it was my first he was my first real boss and he was an outstanding boss now at this time you’re in junior high school or high school i am in a freshman in high school now you left the Catholic school and with the forensics first year of busing it was quite extraordinary so you go to francis lewis and you’re working ok a shop right and then you get the job and there’s a book about it you get the job as the grill man at McDonalds well right from from from from that job I took another job and I was doing the which was probably the craziest job my life and i restocked mill away that was the dairy barns everybody oh I didn’t know I Oh McDonald of sitting in a freezer little didI know sitting in a freezer for eight hours a day would define my job as an air conditioning engineer but I did that for a period of time and then I found my calling which was working in mcdonalds we all our friends it was the this the one on white stone this is one of them Francis Boulevard on white stone and it was such an amazing experience because it was the first time I had a job and I actually could meet women and so all the boys and girls it was fraternal but it was to this day probably the greatest management experience of my life seeing how a company runs seeing how the people show up in time and how they look how they show up how they live this and work and when hours did you work I worked every hours so I worked I would do some closing I was an assistant manager so I would hope that elevated I did apparently I like responsibility and I love cooking I was the grill-meister Burgermeister now so the grill-meister over here you graduate francis Lewis but you really didn’t know what you wanted to do ok you had this supermarket you had the bicycles you had the dairy barn and you had the grill master at McDonald’s you know he could have been there you joined the Army Reserve I joined the army reserves tell me about joining the army so what was very interesting at that time I had watched my father look at the chief every week and the number one hot job at that time was certified welders so at that time they were building pipelines throughout the United States the Alaskan pipeline so it was very attractive to me so I could go into the army reserve do basic training then go for skills become a certified welder would you do basic and then skills I did great question so I did basic training at Fort Dix during the coldest part of the year and then I did but I was in Fort Leonard Wood Missouri during the hottest part of the year okay Fort Dix was close by yeah it was though and then I did my welding certification and the aberdeen proving ground in Maryland and then so you did you work on the Alaska Pipeline I did not I did not apparently that was probably too cold for me so I came back and I got an amazing job fantastic job it was this pipeline company in long island city called FNS central there since they’re out of business now but they made specialty piping products for a lot of large piping corporations like Bechtel and Pullman Kellogg and I love the fact that I could create the from the steel and read the drawings and then create and weld these products you work the night shift didn’t you well I worked there for about two years and they promoted me and they wanted me to create a night shift and was the first time anybody had ever given me the keys to the kingdom and said hey listen you create it and I did and I flourished and I loved it and about a year later the owner at that time the general manager came to me so listen you really need to get out of this and go back to school and by the way we’re shutting this facility down you can go to greenpoint and that was an opportunity for me to make some changes so you go to queensborough community college I’m going I’m going to Queensborough at night for design and mechanical engineering and I get introduced to my first ever job interview in chase manhattan plaza in Long Island City and I have the good fortune so how’d you get introduced to this job interview so a girl I was dating at the time um who was in the recruiting business so at that time we didn’t have any recruiters and she said listen I know a guy that’s really looking for somebody that he can groom to really really take run a part of this business so I said why not so I went for my one and only job interview with Arthur D Winston from ad Winston corp Arthur was in mechanical engineering at this time Arthur was a mechanical contractor an engineer by trade and he ran a company called ad Winston which was a mechanical contractor and they had a great reputation and I was given the opportunity to come in from the ground and learn this business but if you did you told me when you got we got together that he said you said what am I going to do he said you’ll learn yeah yeah there’s a different time I grew up in a magical time Michael I grew up in a time where everything just fit so I was brought into this organization and no one showed me how to do anything nobody showed me how to run projects or create projects or create service calls but instead they gave me the opportunity to just do it which is the greatest experience of all so I learned under fire how to create service businesses and how to create and complete projects and how to run a project and how to satisfy a customer and how to exceed limitations who were his customers of the time uh we did a lot of work for fortune off we did all the Burger King’s we did new Public Library the stock exchange Carnegie Hall it was a great organization and it was a magical magical time and you work very hard I remember I worked really hard and I was going to night school so so then if the Queensboro then you went to City College uptown yes which was another trip which is another trip and I did it all at night while I was working in this business and this company was growing this was back in the 70s early 80s and right now the construction was booming so one day he says to you you know kid I’m gonna make you a partner right and and there’s a Christmas party and what happens I think he changed his mind I never had any aspirations of owning a business but he had he had said to me hey listen dan I think that you’re the future of this business and we’re going to make you a partner and it didn’t happen and it shook me to the core and may but this was supposed to happen in a holiday party it was it was at our Christmas party and it left me Michael with the feeling that it was time for me to make a change so what happens you approach him and say to him I’m ready to leave no I say to him I’m going to leave I’m not sure what I’m gonna do but i think i’m going to take a shot at opening my own business now he says to you I’m gonna go out of business you can’t leave me right no you can’t was the greatest it was the greatest conversation of my life because he basically said listen if you leave now you’re really gonna put me out of business so why don’t you stay for a year and you can develop your business as long as you’re giving me years notice and help me train the people that I need to do to replace you and during that one year that gave me the opportunity and when you’re still going to school at night still going to school at night it was a very interesting time what do you do during that one year to which was a great opportunity because we were able to start building up customers yes now you went into what business specifically at that time initial so so at that time at that time was a very very interesting time in New York City large flourishing mechanical contractors a lot of them have since gone h sand and quarter these guys were big infrastructure contractors but the new york city service business was ripe for change so I had some interesting skill sets around creating things and I want to create a new model around what hvac service in New York City did it was great opportunity for me because at that time ad Winston did not do service so I was able to take the construction customers and parlay that into a service which he had no problem because he didn’t do that what he didn’t do that work he didn’t do them so during that one year period you were able to now cultivate and create a business yes but what happens at the end of the year you ready to leave right oh you have a partner that was going to join you and what happened so during that year i had spent one third of my time devouring every book I could get on starting a business Anthony Robbins anything I could get to prepare me for my walk over coals I didn’t walk over coals but I walk over coals every day right now so I get a bunch of contracts and I found the guy that’s gonna go in this with me so I don’t fix anything if my clients needed me to fix up my hands would be in trouble but you were a certified welder as a welder not as an air conditioning technician so the guy I’m about to go into this business with calls me a week before and says Dan I just got a call from the fire department and I’m going to take this opportunity so so a great story of my life and this is probably the defining story of Donnelly mechanical is I’m playing basketball down at memorial field I tell this story to my buddy and he says by the way my brother is an air conditioner mechanic so I said give me his number and I call him I meet him over at erins isle and white stone and I have the greatest conversation I said to him listen here’s the craziest opportunity you’re ever gonna get I’m starting a business in a week I’ve got 20 customers this will be successful you want to come in as my partner give me two years you had no idea who this I have never seen before I said you want to work with me for two years at the end of two years of you and I can have a beer at the same place you become my partner now I’ve replicated that which is a great right which is part of the things because Crains wrote up about you that you never have to use an employment agency because you go to your friends your connections the executive Association and others to find partners and employees okay it’s like a little family business that continues to grow on it is my partner John best friend is now a partner my business here on sales that’s dino and then my two next door neighbors in bayside that’re babysitting my children are my partners that run service and construction and then we find the another missing piece with Joe and we’re all connected within one mile all of us grew up together so you’re 32 years of age at this time you go into this yeah you go into this business okay without money you take a home equity loan hundred-thousand-dollars ok a home equity loan you go into this business you get a truck yep and at that time you had a small little place I worked out of my basement your basement then subsequently because of this I don’t want to call it pyramiding but you know this partnership approach with all these people as long as they have the same work ethic and they continue to be hard you’ve opened up other supply chains over there so what is Donnelly mechanical today what are we today so Donnelly mechanical is besides a big building in Queens villages and trucks that we see donelly mechanical started as a basically a very large service company which has morphed into an infrastructure company for construction we do tenant construction we do large infrastructure construction we do a lot of turnkey projects we have an energy group which has been truly fascinating we have a BIM company we do 3d design we have a lot of very interesting pieces that we put together for clients over the years so basically what we did is we started as a service company and then as we started as a service company we’d add a key person and a lot of a lot of my success goes through the executive association let’s talk about the executive association vince vicinage the certified hypnotist and others so very young very young in my career I did not have a great sales background and the executive association was probably the greatest opportunity for me to meet movers and shakers back then everybody was a character people were bigger than life and I got a chance to meet great business owners guys that really really took me under their wing and showed me how to do deals how to negotiate how to network how to help another person and I would say my first five years in the executives Association were just I was totally in awe but it enabled me to grow my business Vistage vistage transformed my business I doubled my revenue now what is vistage so vistage basically a brain trust of strategically focused CEOs or business owners that are aligned with a great chairperson so I have the best chairperson in norma rosenberger and for five or six years it enabled me to do things with my business I just basically focus and work on my business not in my business let’s talk about the coach how do you became a certified coach so about four years ago I was I’ve always been teaching meditation so meditation is the rock upon which I find my life everything magnificent in my life comes from my daily meditation and I was working with somebody that said to me Dan you might want to take a look at becoming a clinical hypnotist because it’s a lot of the stuff you do already and for 14 months I saturdays and sundays i became a clinical hypnotist and I love it I love it I love helping people and then once I can finish with that the next steps from that would be life coaching and I went through 12 months with accomplishment coaching now what is a life coach do that’s a great question so I like working my passion is with working with people that want to go from here to here so I’m very passionate around entrepreneurs I there’s a fire that breeds inside me that wants to help people that are on the ledge that are struggling that are really really putting everything they have because I live that experience so I’m really really passionate around helping people and coaching people and giving them tools and skills that will enable them to grow and enable their business to grow so what I do now is I work with entrepreneurs I try and invest in companies or own companies and make and help those people get from here to here now Kilimanjaro one of the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life my sister and my daughter completely had thought I’d lost my mind they gave me all these books telling me not to do it and the greatest thing about Kilimanjaro for me was I need a challenge I realize in my life that I have to have a challenge every year so this was a challenge that I had to prepare for a year in advance so with training of six months and an angel had told me that when you go to kilimanjaro go with a great playlist but go with five questions that you really really have want to have answered and i went with five questions and those five questions have rocked my world and quickly what were the five questions so how will I transformed my life how will I transform my relationships how will I use everything I have for my true life purpose I want to buy a dream place and number four is I want to just truly be in love with life okay let’s talk about life your kids are truly blessed so um so my daughter is a publicist social media savant she is the deal with my brand new son-in-law and dan spatasino my son in law works for the government and that cute little ronan the rock star ronan is just learning how to walk and your son and my son lives in the city splits his time between garden city in Manhattan and he is a music branding kid he it’s a very interesting thing he’s been in love with music his entire life when he was a young boy we take him to these concerts of music he’d never heard but he loved it he loved all types of music and his passion is promoting bands promoting bands that nobody might have ever heard from and bringing them to another level so you know fortunately the three different jobs newspaper dairy barn shop rite you know and then McDonald’s gave you one thing as I said when we got together you have the acronym that I believe in some things salt tenacity adaptability a little luck and seizing the opportunity and you’ve seized the opportunity and thank you for being here today and Michael happy birthday thank you