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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Featured Expert:
Christine Stahl: Realtor Extraordinaire

If you want to gain knowledge on specific local services and become a more savvy consumer, we encourage you to access the Diamond Certified Expert Reports through the search options on the right. These mostly industry-specific articles, tip sheets, videos and blog entries are created for consumers by local experts. The authors know what they’re talking about because they own or manage a local Diamond Certified company that’s been rated Highest in Quality. Each has contributed their expertise to create these reports for you and other consumers as a way to give back to their community.

This week we feature Christine Stahl. Christine is a 30-year veteran of the real estate industry and partner at Lommori Stahl Group of Re/Max Star Properties, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (650) 525-4162 or by email.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

John Gorman is a 30-year veteran of the window industry and owner of Save Energy Company, a Diamond Certified Company since 2002. He can be reached at (707) 702-1918 or at [email protected]

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John Gorman: One Man’s Journey

By MATTHEW SOLIS, Senior Editor Diamond Certified Resource

John Gorman has been enjoying a successful career in the window and door industry for the past 30 years, but the path he followed to get to his current destination wasn’t always clear. In fact, a career in windows wasn’t even on John’s radar until he received an intriguing proposition from a trusted relative. “I was living in New York studying literature and got a call from my older brother,” he remembers. “He was working for a window company in Northern California and wanted to start his own firm, and he asked if I would join him. I said, Read more

Expert tip
How to Choose the Right Window Frames
PETALUMA — In the past, homeowners who wanted to replace their windows were somewhat limited in their choices. Today, consumers can choose from a wide variety of window options and find a product that best fits their lifestyle,… Read more

Sheik Bacchus is owner of Bacchus British Services, a Diamond Certified company since 2009. He can be reached at (925) 385-8954 or by email.

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Sheik Bacchus: British Fixation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DUBLIN — Sheik Bacchus got an early start in automotive work thanks to the influence of his older brother, but it wasn’t until college that he caught the bug for British cars. “My dad died when I was pretty young, so my older brother became my mentor and taught me a lot of stuff,” he recounts. “I was about 14 when he got me into working on cars. I would help him with his brakes, oil changes and other maintenance, and that became very influential for me. Following high school, I went to college to get my formal automotive training, Read more

Expert tip
Coolant Leak Warning for Newer JLRs
If you own a Jaguar or Land Rover (JLR) from 2010 or later, you’ll want to know about a common issue to watch out for. In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that the 5.0 motors found… Read more

Miguel Vega is owner of Magna Shutters, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 758-5660 or by email.

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Miguel Vega: A Passion for Craftsmanship

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA CLARA — After 30 years of creating custom window treatments, Miguel Vega still has a passion for the craftsmanship he was taught as a young man. “I attended a Mexican-Italian trade school where I learned about all sorts of trades, from plumbing and electrical to welding and carpentry,” he recounts. “It was quite an experience—six years of intensive training under Italian craftspeople with extremely high expectations. The field that intrigued me most was fine carpentry, especially designing and fabricating plantation shutters, which requires a lot of skill and precision.”

After graduating from trade school in 1991, Read more

Expert tip
Benefits of Plantation Shutters
SANTA CLARA — If you’re planning to replace the window treatments in your home, one option worth considering is plantation shutters. Plantation shutters provide many benefits, including: Durability Plantation shutters are designed to last more than 20 years, which is… Read more

Joe Moore is owner of Joe Moore Painting & Roofing, a Diamond Certified company since 2005. He can be reached at (707) 837-0620 or by email.

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Joe Moore: Two Trades are Better Than One

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

WINDSOR — By the time Joe Moore was ready to start his own business, he’d already amassed a wealth of professional experience in the painting and roofing trades. “I started painting when I was a kid and spent much of my youth working for my uncle, who was a well-known painter in San Francisco,” he says. “Later, I dated a girl whose father was a roofer and ended up working for his company for 15 years. When I reached my 20th year in roofing, I felt it was time to start my own business.” Rather than decide which of his two fields of expertise to focus on, Read more

Expert tip
Preventing Roof Leaks from Pipe Jacks
WINDSOR — Most roof leaks can be avoided with basic preventative maintenance. One example of this is with pipe jacks, which are metal flanges placed over the plumbing ventilation pipes that protrude from the roof. To seal against moisture intrusion,… Read more

Dr. Robert Ehlers is a 16-year veteran of the chiropractic field and owner of Ehlers Chiropractic Center, a Diamond Certified practice. He can be reached at (707) 881-7928 or by email.

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Dr. Robert Ehlers: A Holistic Inspiration

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

VACAVILLE — When asked what led him to pursue a career as a chiropractor, Dr. Robert Ehlers says he found his inspiration early in life. “My mother had a practice doing holistic medicine and therapy, and she was introduced to chiropractic through networking with other professionals in that realm. Growing up, chiropractors fascinated me to no end. I think what intrigued me the most was how they were able to heal their patients without conventional medicinal means—no nasty smells or painful procedures. It just lit a fire inside of me, and from then on, I knew it was what I wanted to do.”

Despite the young age at which he experienced his epiphany, Read more

Expert tip
The Relationship Between Sleep and Spinal Health
VACAVILLE — Most people don’t realize that sleep and spinal health go hand-in-hand. To stay healthy, the spine needs to get regular movement via stretching and exercise. When the spine doesn’t get that movement, it can become stiff and subluxated.… Read more

Jim Gitas is a 10-year veteran of the solar industry and CEO of Your Energy Solutions, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (888) 928-1425 or by email.

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Jim Gitas: Green Aspirations

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PLEASANTON — Before he was providing energy solutions for Bay Area homeowners, Jim Gitas had an accomplished career in a different type of Green business. “I used to own one of the largest independent mobile paper shredding companies in the Bay Area,” he explains. “I got started working with my mom when I was nine years old. She was a pioneer in the recycling industry—in 1979, she created one of the first mobile document shredding trucks. I remember riding in the passenger seat and watching people’s reactions as this huge beast roared down the street. When I reached adulthood, I decided to keep working in the recycling industry, Read more

Expert tip
Considering Roof Size When Choosing Solar Panels
PLEASANTON — It may seem like all solar panels are the same, but this isn’t the case. Most solar manufacturers offer different grades of panels, ranging from standard efficiency to high efficiency. Naturally, the higher the efficiency of a panel,… Read more

Jose Salazar is officer of Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (925) 385-8993 or by email.

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Jose Salazar: A Concrete Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — Many people immigrate to the United States hoping to find professional opportunity, but for Jose Salazar, it was waiting for him when he arrived. “My older brother came to the U.S. before me and established himself as a concrete contractor,” he explains. “So, when I left Mexico at the age of 20, I already had a job lined up working for him. I found that I liked concrete work, so I stuck with it. Eventually, I got my license, and in 1994, I started my own company.”

Today, as owner of Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Read more

Expert tip
The Benefits of Permeable Pavers
ANTIOCH — When planning to add a hardscape feature like a driveway or patio, some people automatically envision a conventional concrete or mortar installation. However, many home and property owners are turning to an alternative option: permeable pavers. The biggest… Read more

Bob Winn is a veteran of the solar industry and owner of Sky Power Systems, a Diamond Certified company since 2006. He can be reached at (925) 567-3974 or by email.

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Bob Winn: Sky-Powered Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAMON — After growing disenchanted with his banking career, Bob Winn decided to leave the financial field behind and reach for the sky. “Prior to getting into solar, I was in banking—mainly digital check processing and security,” he says. “In 2002, after the dot-com crash and Enron fiasco, I decided it was time to get into a new field. Since I was involved in technology, I started looking around for a related business opportunity. When I came across a small solar company, I thought it might be a good investment, so I bought it from the original owner in 2005.” After more than a decade, Read more

Expert tip
The Importance of Buying from an Established Solar Company
SAN RAMON — All solar panels come with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty, but the big question is whether the manufacturer will still be around in 25 years to honor its warranty. During the last couple of decades, the solar industry… Read more

Debby Benson-Miller is a Diamond Certified real estate agent with Prime Real Estate Services. She can be reached at (707) 999-7853 or by email.

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Debby Benson-Miller: In Her Father’s Footsteps

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ROHNERT PARK — When asked how she ended up in real estate, Debby Benson-Miller credits the influence of her father. “My father used to buy and sell properties and was a big believer in real estate as an investment,” she remembers. “He tried to get me into it right out of high school, but I didn’t feel like I was ready to be an agent. Instead, I went to work as an administrator for the Humboldt Association of Realtors, where I gained experience running the multiple listing service and got to know a lot of Realtors. After 10 years, Read more

Expert tip
Real Estate Tips for Buyers and Sellers
ROHNERT PARK — In real estate, there are typically two parties: a seller and a buyer. Regardless of what side you’re on, there are strategies that can help you improve your position. Consider the following tips: Tip for sellers Every… Read more

Kevin Abrew is owner of Abrew Repair and Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 833-0128 or by email.

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Kevin Abrew: Old-Fashioned Values

By Suzanne Carroll

DUBLIN — Kevin Abrew started his own construction company when he was 19 years old—a logical step for an entrepreneurial young man who had been working on construction sites since he was pulling nails at age 12. The problem was the stiff competition from another local contractor: his father. “My dad and I eventually realized it was silly to be bidding on the same jobs,” he explains. “So, we decided to combine forces and started working together.”
In the early years of their partnership, there was a noticeable generation gap. “I remember trying to talk my dad into getting nail guns and paint sprayers when they first came out,” says Kevin. Read more

Expert tip
What Every Woman Should Have in Her Toolbox
DUBLIN — Every woman should have a toolbox—they’re handy for making quick home repairs and essential for many decorative projects. If you’re planning on hanging pictures, putting up shelving or displaying your kids’ latest creations from art class,… Read more