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Tom Rhoads is a 33-year veteran of the roofing industry and president of Roof-Life Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 338-7472 or by email.

Tom Rhoads

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Tom Rhoads: Roofer for Life

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAMON — When Tom Rhoads first got involved in the roofing industry, he was merely looking for a way to supplement his income…little did he know it would lead to a lifelong career. “I was 18 years old, working at a grocery store, when my hours were unexpectedly cut back,” he remembers. “To make ends meet, I started working with my neighbor, who was a roofer. I always liked being outside, so the work really suited me, and I ended up sticking with it. After a couple of years of training, I struck out on my own, and 32 years later, I’m still at it.”

Today, as owner of Roof-Life Construction, Tom says his favorite part of his job is the opportunity to make a positive impact. “We do a lot of energy-saving measures like installing solar panels and improving roof ventilation. Besides helping our clients save money on their energy bills, we’re also able to help the environment, so it’s very rewarding.”

Tom is a resident of Dublin, where he lives with his wife, Sheila. Outside of work, he likes to spend as much time as possible immersed in the great outdoors. “We have a cabin near Yosemite National Park, so we spend a lot of time up there, hiking and enjoying nature,” he says. Tom also enjoys playing volleyball at the beach and coaching soccer at Dublin High School. Additionally, he takes time to keep up with his and Sheila’s three children. “One of my sons is currently attending the University of Reno, another is at Arizona State and my daughter will be starting at UC Santa Barbara this fall.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Tom says he’d tackle some long-deferred home projects. “I’d probably get started on my to-do list. I have quite a few projects around the house that need to be done, so if I stopped working, I’d finally have some time to get to them.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: The San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco 49ers and the Golden State Warriors.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music.

Q: What’s your favorite style of music?
A: Rock. I also like rhythm and blues.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Pizza.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: G.I. Joe.

Read more

Maintaining a Tile Roof


SAN RAMON — If your home has a tile roof, annual maintenance is critical for ongoing performance. While simply keeping your roof clear of debris will go a long way toward avoiding problems, there are other, more specific aspects of maintenance… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Tile Roof Maintenance

Complete Video Transcription:

SAN RAMON — Host, Sarah Rutan: If your home has a tile roof, make sure you’re aware of its specific maintenance needs. Today we’re in San Ramon… Read more

Michael Wakerling is a 44-year veteran of the roofing industry and owner of General Roofing Company, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (510) 761-5937 or by email.

Michael Wakerling

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Michael Wakerling: The Old-Fashioned Way

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

OAKLAND — As the third-generation owner of General Roofing Company in Oakland, it’s no surprise that Michael Wakerling has been immersed in the roofing industry throughout his entire life. “My grandfather started the business back in 1924 and it’s been in the family ever since,” he says. “When I was a little kid, I used to go to work with my dad on weekends, and over time I just gravitated toward the trade.” Mike’s deep industry roots also explain his commitment to upholding the old-fashioned service approach his grandfather originally instilled in the company. “My grandfather had a set of rules that he did business by, and we’ve tried to keep those rules with us. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve been able maintain our loyal customer base over the years, including relationships that span multiple generations.”

A lifetime East Bay resident, Mike was born in Castro Valley and later settled in Livermore, where he lives today. Outside of work, he enjoys being outdoors, whether fishing in the mountains or spending a day at the beach in Carmel. In addition to personal hobbies, Mike keeps up with his sons, Matt and Shane, and makes frequent trips to Texas to visit his daughter, Laura, and grandson, Ethan.

In his life and career, Mike says he adheres to the age-old Golden Rule. “I always try to treat people how I like to be treated. People deserve to be regarded with respect and dignity, which is why, when dealing with customers, I try to be as upfront and honest as possible to ensure there are no surprises while we’re working on their roofs.”

As he draws nearer to retirement, Mike says he looks forward to passing his business down to its fourth generation of family ownership. “My son, Shane, works with me and is going to take over when I retire.” When asked one thing he’ll do after that takes place, Mike says he’ll likely take a vacation to trace some of his family roots. “I think I’ll head to Switzerland, because that’s where my grandfather immigrated from. We still have some distant relatives there, so I’d like to go see where my family came from.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Italian Colors in Oakland.

Q: Have you ever had a conversation with a famous person?
A: I met Ricky Henderson, the former Oakland A’s outfielder, when we re-roofed his mother’s house. This was back when he was still playing, and he actually set us up to watch a game in his personal luxury box at the stadium.

Q: What’s your favorite dessert?
A: Key lime pie.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet.

Q: What’s your favorite newspaper comic strip?
A: “Marmaduke.”

Read more

Considerations for Roofing System Design


OAKLAND — Planning to replace your roof? If so, you’ll want to make sure your new roof meets your specific needs and preferences. Here are a few considerations to make when designing a roofing system: Long-term plans How long do… Read more

Achieving Title 24 Compliance With Your Roof


OAKLAND — California’s Title 24 energy code now extends to residential roofing, with specific requirements for both flat and sloped roofs. For this reason, if you’re planning to replace your roof in the near future, you’ll need to ensure it… Read more

Essential Roof Maintenance


OAKLAND — Like your car, your roof is one of your most valuable assets, and as such, it requires ongoing maintenance to reach its maximum life expectancy. However, the type of maintenance needed depends in part upon what type of roof you… Read more

The Benefits of Systematic Roofing


OAKLAND — When it comes to roof replacement, many homeowners opt to take the least expensive route possible. However, a much more cost-effective option is to take a systematic approach. Far more than just installing new shingles, a systematic approach… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Preventative Roof Maintenance

Complete Video Transcription:

OAKLAND — Host, Sarah Rutan: Though often overlooked, preventative maintenance is essential for the life of every roof. Today we’re in Oakland with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor… Read more