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Celebrating Thirty Years – From Humble Beginnings

This year, Airmaster is proud to be celebrating 30 years in operation. From humble beginnings, Airmaster has become one of Australia’s most trusted partners in the HVAC&R industry.

Founded in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne in 1988, Airmaster was the vision of Russell Seebach and Barry Page, who along with current CEO Noel Courtney are the founding fathers of the business. Their objective was to provide the industry with a fully independent service business, offering a point of difference in the market.

Russell, Barry and Noel first met whilst working together at Atlas Air – an air-conditioning manufacturing business who operated a successful service-based division. When Atlas established their Melbourne operations, Russell and Barry were appointed to senior positions, Russell as General Manager and Barry as Sales Manager. Noel, having commenced with Atlas as a technician, had been promoted to General Air Service Manager by the age of 25.

Atlas Air was acquired by the Australian Gas Light Company (well-known today as AGL) in 1987, prompting Russell, Barry and Noel to contemplate new career paths.

The trio then formed to established Airmaster, which commenced operations on the 2nd of February 1988 in a 200m2factory in Ferntree Gully, Victoria with a total of six employees.

Positioning itself as a service and maintenance focussed business, on day one Airmaster had already secured maintenance contracts at Highpoint Shopping Centre, Whitehorse Plaza Shopping Centre and The Age Headquarters in Melbourne’s CBD. By the end of 1988, Airmaster possessed a now 12-strong team of technicians, thanks to the acquisition of further contracts including Chadstone Shopping Centre, Kmart, Coles and Motorola.

Having successfully navigated through the major recession that swept through Australia’s economy in the early 1990s, thanks to the business savvy of Russell, Airmaster continued to enjoy solid growth, culminating in the opening of a first interstate branch, in Queensland in 1999.

The opening of the Queensland branch was driven due to the strong relationship Airmaster had with the Gandel Group, who were in the process of acquiring shopping centres throughout Australia, and sought to ensure uniformity of the service and maintenance practices offered by Airmaster across all centres.

Vicinity Centres are the current owners of this now 80-strong portfolio of shopping centres around Australia. Airmaster’s solid reputation has seen it grow along with Vicinity, now managing service and maintenance, as well as providing a range of other hardware, technical and technology solutions across this entire portfolio, something Airmaster are immensely proud of.

Today, Airmaster has grown to comprise a branch network of 12 covering all areas of Australia. Now with over 700 employees, Airmaster has continued to add new service offerings to clients, such as projects and installations, controls and automation, asset management, essential safety (fire) management, predictive data-driven maintenance and a host of technology solutions to our core offering of service and maintenance.

The Airmaster portfolio of clients has evolved to include a diverse range of big and small clients, from shopping centres, retail tenancies, commercial office buildings, universities, hospitality, government and hospitals.

Airmaster is now a proud a member of the Daikin Group of Companies, who acquired Airmaster in July 2017. Airmaster continues to operate under the same culture, values and guiding principles that it did when founded 30 years ago, and with an exciting future ahead, the company looks forward to continuing these traditions in many years and generations to come.

This is the first in a series of stories and videos that recount the history of Airmaster.


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