Interview with CEO Frank Mirabelli

9/30/2018 2:00:00 PM

Frank Mirabelli is the President and CEO of First General Property Restoration Services. First General was established in 1980 and is one of North America’s largest restoration networks, with over 80 offices in Canada and the United States. First General is an industry leader in technology, integrity, and customer satisfaction. Frank Mirabelli is the President and CEO of First General Property Restoration Services. First General was established in 1980 and is one of North America’s largest restoration networks, with over 80 offices in Canada and the United States. First General is an industry leader in technology, integrity, and customer satisfaction.

Since becoming President and CEO in 2015, Mirabelli and the First General Team have employed their knowledge and experience in property restoration to develop and expand the First General network.  Recently, Mirabelli shared his vision for the company moving forward and some information about himself and First General.

You have an interesting background story. Can you tell us a bit about it and how you got your start in the restoration industry?
I never intended to enter the property restoration industry. I was actually on track to becoming a University Professor. I completed my undergraduate degree in Accounting and then completed my MBA at Queen’s University. However, academia was not hands on enough for me. I purchased the First General Thunder Bay location and started learning the business from the ground floor. In my first year of ownership, I performed all restoration jobs, including water extraction, hauling equipment and removing smoke damage. Once I earned my stripes, I was given the opportunity to be General Manager for First General Canada and after a number of years, our family group of companies, Mirabelli Corporation, purchased the First General Brand.

What’s your vision for the company moving forward?
The vision for First General is to become a global brand, embracing technology along the way. Finding more efficient and effective methods to complete what we do every day is key. The final insurance client – the property owner, is looking for more and better coverage at a lower price – so working with our insurance partners to find ways to provide more cost effective methods of service delivery while maintaining quality, is paramount.

How do you plan to expand the brand?
I believe the local business owner model, supported by the First General Corporate Team, is key to achieving successful growth. Our long-term strategy is to infill remaining markets in Canada and grow south of the border. We are excited about finalizing arrangements in South America and Mexico with a strong operator in Latin America.

Growing a company often requires investment. Did you make any investments, and if so, what were they?
We recognized that using a more consistent operating platform will help facilitate growth in Canada, the US, and South America.  We invested in expanding our Corporate Team to support our growth phase, and we created the following new roles:

  • Vice President to manage Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces, Charles Sabourin.
  • Regional Manager to manage Western Canada, Kendra Kostyk.
  • Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Angela Veri, who works with Corporate and our Regional team to enhance and execute sales strategies and strengthen customer relations.
  • Vice President Operations, Randy Millar, who oversees Ontario and our quality initiatives.
  • Sheila Corbett, Manager of Vendor Program Resources, who is responsible for overall estimating compliance.
  • Large Loss Expert/Director, Lorne McIntyre, who plays an integral part in providing Corporate oversight and assistance with the expansion of our Large Loss Division across North and South America.

Why did you feel these areas were important?
We felt that to capitalize on the performance of our Canadian Network of offices, First General had to re-invent ourselves and standardize our operations to drive growth, exceptional client experience, and higher net promoter scores. To meet our initiatives, we felt it was imperative to invest in the resources to help support the operational side of our business.

How does Corporate fit into the First General Network of offices?
The men and women in our field offices who deliver the First General experience every day perform an amazing job – and we are so grateful to have them as part of our family.   As the insurance market evolves and technology changes, it is the responsibility of the First General Corporate Team to introduce these changes for the benefit of our offices. Our recent investment in human capital is an example of our dedication to work with our offices and assist them with transitions into new technologies, growth, and metrics.

You mentioned technology. How is First General supporting and adapting to technology?
We are investing heavily in technology which works off of a global platform to ensure sustainability moving forward. The increased demand for transparency, customer expectations, and the need to assist our offices with streamlining their processes, gives us a perfect opportunity to onboard a new global platform-based technology. First General believes this will allow us to become a partner in our clients Ecosystem, ensuring a sustainable business model.

Are there any hurdles you’ve faced in growing the company?
Finding qualified talent is a struggle. The evolving industry has increased the demands on project managers, technicians and owners.  Today, we need to be a jack of all trades, which takes years of training.  As such, hiring people off the streets is not an option.  To meet this challenge First General has invested heavily in field training.

We’ve heard that you and First General do a lot of giving back to the community. What can you tell us about that?
As the company grows, it is imperative we focus on giving back to our communities, and as such every office returns profits back to the community they work in.  Corporately, we have established scholarship programs to support the next generation of business leaders.  We are also working to reduce our environmental footprint and are taking steps to use more sustainable products whenever we can.