Tributes to BAC Group managing director Chris Schuler, who has died at 60
Tributes have been paid to Chris Schuler, managing director of the BAC Group of Companies, who has died at 60.
He spent more than 30 years with the company, having joined Bermuda Air Conditioning in 1987, and became managing director of BAC Group in 2011. He placed a high importance on training staff and having a largely Bermudian workforce.
Mr Schuler has been remembered as a fun-loving, kind man, with a strong work ethic. Under his leadership, BAC supported community initiatives, including the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme and the distribution of a locally-filmed environmental DVD to schools.
Mr Schuler was in his twenties when he came to Bermuda in 1987 to carry out work at the airport. At the time he worked for Poole & Kent Corporation, a mechanical contractor based in Baltimore, Maryland, which was affiliated with Bermuda Air Conditioning.
He joined Bermuda Air Conditioning as a mechanical field superintendent, and it was in Bermuda that he met his future wife, Corlette, at The Club above Little Venice on Bermudiana Road. His preference in music was rock, but he happened to visit the nightclub to see some friends.
In March this year, the Schulers celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.
When Mr Schuler became managing director of BAC, the company praised his strong work ethic, his leadership qualities, and his ability to get the most out of the people working with him.
He said he believed in continuing to train BAC’s employees so that it could be “one of the best Bermudian businesses on the island”.
His work ethic was noted by his colleague Ken Parker, operating manager at BAC, who had known Mr Schuler since their teenage years in the US. He said: “Chris was an extremely hard worker, and he had a great sense of humour.”
Mr Parker said BAC was like a big family, and one of the legacies of Mr Schuler was the growth of the company and its overwhelming majority of Bermudian employees.
He added: “He was an avid golf fan and he loved to play. He was supportive of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme, which has become embedded in the company.”
In an interview with Prisma Reports, Mr Schuler said the company was close-knit, had about 250 employees and more than 90 per cent were Bermudian. He said BAC did a lot of training itself, and added: “Without your employees, you are nothing.”
During the past 10 years, BAC become more involved in renewable energy. It is a sector that Mr Schuler said held a lot of potential for Bermuda.
In 2013, BAC supported the distribution to schools of Bermuda-Nature’s Jewel, a locally-filmed environmental DVD produced by the Bermuda Environmental Alliance. Mr Schuler said his firm got involved with the project because it was serious about protecting the environment and educating young people.
On his love of Bermuda, he said: “I’ve been to a lot of islands in the Caribbean and nothing compares to Bermuda."
The Schulers enjoyed travelling, and places they visited included Italy, New Zealand, France, Ireland and Alaska.
Mrs Schuler said: “He was always happy and fun-loving. He loved Bermuda, but his heart was also in Baltimore.”
One his favourite foods was blue crab from Maryland. He was a keen supporter of the Baltimore Ravens football team. He also liked baseball, and as a youngster played the sport. During one high school game he accidentally ran through a window while catching the ball.
After moving to Bermuda, Mr Schuler became more involved in golf and played on the island’s courses and during his trips overseas.
Mrs Schuler said one of her husband’s proudest moments came last month when the couple’s daughter, Casey Schuler, graduated from Georgetown University in Washington DC.
Mrs Schuler has been touched by the kind words and tributes from people who knew her husband, and said: “Everybody has said how he has impacted their life, by being friendly and kind.”