The son of a butcher and a seamstress, Peter Pappas Sr. was determined to make his own way in the world. After two years studying at NYU, Peter set aside his ambitions in professional accounting and joined many of his friends who were arriving back from the war to go into a promising new field: air conditioning. With no money, his hard-working parents taught him the value of diligence, and Peter eventually worked himself up to the role of Vice President in a local company. As a family man with three young children (Peter Jr., Jamie, and Tara), the future looked bright. In 1971, he hung up his tie, bought a green open rack truck, hired a secretary (his wife Cathy), and the pair acquired their first office (the dining room table). P.J. Mechanical (“P.J.”) was born. Cathy had grown up in the Saint Nicholas Church that was on Cedar Street, attending Greek School there as a little girl. They went on to have a wonderful family, three children, many grandchildren, and ana vivacious life in the Omogeneia and greater society that was marked by their deep involvement in the life of the Church, and their commitment to Hellenism and in particular the cause of Cyprus. The family has contributed two million dollars to the National Shrine project alone, not counting their generosity to the National Church and multiple parishes throughout the decades.
Peter Sr. served as Chairman of the Board of P.J.M. Holdings Group, the family owned and operated corporation – consisting of P.J. Mechanical Corp, Delta Sheet Metal Corporation, P.J. Mechanical Service & Maintenance Corp., P.J. Mechanical Building Services Corp. and Expert Insulation Corp. Since its inception, the company had become the largest HVAC contractor in the New York Metropolitan area and among one of the largest mechanical contracting firms in the northeastern United States.