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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Auto – Smog CATEGORY

Bill Faulconer is a 39-year veteran of the automotive industry and president of Renson Automotive, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (408) 840-3977 or by email.

Bill Faulconer

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Bill Faulconer: A Foundation of Integrity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CAMPBELL – According to Bill Faulconer, his lengthy career in the automotive repair industry reflects a twofold passion. “My initial experience with auto repair was working on a Mustang with my father in our driveway, during which I discovered a fondness for working with my hands,” he remembers. “Later, when I became professionally involved with the industry, I developed a love for customer service. To this day, I’m not sure what I enjoy more: working on cars or helping people.”

After 30 years with Renson Automotive, Inc., Bill says he appreciates the long-term relationships he’s developed with his customers. “In addition to working on their vehicles, I enjoy getting to know my customers on a deeper level. There are some whose cars I’ve been servicing since I started here in 1985, and I’m even servicing some of their children’s cars, which is a really neat thing.”

Originally born in Roseville, Bill eventually settled in the Bay Area, where he says he has a great appreciation for the local versatility. “We have everything here. From the weather to the people to the natural beauty, there’s nothing that California doesn’t offer, and the Bay Area exhibits the heart of that.”

Outside of work, Bill spends a substantial portion of his time with family. “My wife and I have two grown children and four grandchildren—this June, we’re expecting our fifth,” he says. “We’re fortunate to have them all living in close proximity, which enables us to be a big part of their lives.” Bill also enjoys traveling and has recently picked up photography as a hobby. “My daughter is a professional photographer, so I try to keep up with her.”

In addition to family and hobbies, Bill makes it a point to stay actively involved in his local community. “I enjoy volunteering at local outreach centers,” he says, “and I also meet weekly with a group of people who are focused on helping the less fortunate.”

In both his professional and personal life, Bill emphasizes the importance of integrity. “There are a lot of auto shops that know how to repair cars, but what distinguishes mine is the fact that my integrity has never come into question,” he says. “Integrity is everything—it’s what my whole reputation and life is based upon.”

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Bill says he’d spend more time with his children, both at home and abroad. “My wife and I sponsor a couple of kids in Uganda, so in addition to spending more time with my grandchildren here, we’d love to have the opportunity to meet them.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Definitely a dog person—we have two golden retrievers.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit in front of a real wood-burning fire.

Q: Do you have any nicknames?
A: When I was a child, my nickname was Bill-Bill. Since my dad and I share the same name, Mom got tired of calling one Bill and having us both answer.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Easter, because of my faith.

Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The past. There were a lot of quality people who came before us, and I think we could gain a lot of insight from them.

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Do-It-Yourself Vehicle Maintenance

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CAMPBELL — Many aspects of auto maintenance are best left to a professional, but there are some things you can easily do yourself. Here are two do-it-yourself measures you can take to improve your driving experience: Tire pressure maintenance While regulating… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: At-Home Auto Care

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CAMPBELL — Host, Sarah Rutan: Two important parts of caring for your vehicle include tire pressure and air filters. Today, we're in Campbell with Diamond Certified Expert… Read more

Thuan Le is an 22-year veteran of the auto repair industry and owner of T & T Auto Repair, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (831) 498-9133 or by email.

Thuan Le

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Thuan Le: Automotive Autonomy

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MONTEREY — Like many auto repair professionals, Thuan Le regards his chosen trade as a lifelong passion. “I’ve been working on cars since I was a teenager,” he says. “Everyone in my family works on cars, so it’s something I’ve always been around and naturally grew to love.” Thuan founded T & T Auto Repair in 2008, and he says that while being a business owner has its challenges, the professional autonomy it offers is well worth it. “Prior to opening my business, I’d been working for someone else since the day I finished college. After a while, I got tired of that and decided it was time to do my own thing. Now that I have my own shop, I may be working a lot more, but I’m happy to be working for myself.”

Originally from Vietnam, Thuan immigrated to the United States in 1994, where he put down roots in the Bay Area. After 20 years in Monterey, where he resides today with his wife and two children, he considers the North Bay his adopted home. “Not only is it a beautiful place with great weather, the people who live around here are very nice as well,” he says.

Outside of work, Thuan enjoys activities such as flying remote-controlled airplanes, playing basketball with his son and going to the movies with his family. Often, however, he just likes to kick back and relax. “I work six days a week, so with only one day off, I have to be sure I take some time to recuperate,” he laughs.

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Thuan says he’d do some long-deferred traveling. “I’d probably get an RV and go see the rest of the United States. After two decades in this country, I still haven’t been anywhere—I’ve been too busy working!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1987 Honda CR-X.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Summer, because I can go outside and fly my remote-controlled airplanes.

Q: If you could visit any city in the world, which would you choose?
A: I’ve always wanted to visit Paris.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: I love the whole holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: Steak.

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Under the Hood: Getting to Know Your Vehicle

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MONTEREY — Even if you have no prior knowledge of auto maintenance, the first step to becoming acquainted with the inner workings of your vehicle is to simply lift the hood. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn by… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Auto Maintenance 101

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MONTEREY — Host, Sarah Rutan: When maintaining your vehicle, it’s important to be able to identify what’s under your hood. Today, we’re in Monterey with Diamond… Read more

Dave Proffer is owner of Empire Auto Repair & Smog, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 219-8325 or by email.

Dave Proffer

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Dave Proffer: Going Ashore

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Dreaming of a life at sea, a young Dave Proffer enrolled at the California Maritime Academy to pursue a career in nautical industrial transportation. However, it didn’t take long for him to discover he preferred the comforts of dry land. “You don’t really appreciate land until you don’t see it for five days at a time,” he laughs. “In the end, I decided being out at sea just wasn’t for me.” Fortunately, Dave’s prior experience in auto repair gave him something to fall back on when he returned to shore. “I took auto shop in high school and spent a lot of time fixing cars, so I decided to get back into it on a professional level, and I’ve being enjoying it ever since.”

Today, as owner of Empire Auto Repair & Smog, Dave says one of his favorite parts of the job is surprising customers by radically transforming their vehicles. “I enjoy watching a customer’s reaction when they see their vehicle go from the ‘before’ stage to the ‘after’ stage. Every so often, a car comes in that the owner is ready to give up on, which gives me an opportunity to ‘wow’ them when they return to pick it up.”

Dave currently resides in Santa Rosa, the same town in which he was born and raised. “Having grown up here, I know a lot of people in the area, which is probably my favorite thing about living and working here,” he says. “Not only do I have a lot of longtime friends and customers, my local longevity also helps me get a lot of word-of-mouth referrals.”

Outside of work, Dave spends much of his time in the company of his two teenage sons, Justin and Cody. “We enjoy outdoor activities like camping, riding dirt bikes in the Indian Valley and water skiing at Lake Sonoma. The boys are also involved in martial arts and kickboxing, but I’m getting a little too old for that,” he laughs. At home, Dave can often be found absorbed in his labor of love: restoring a 1968 Pontiac Firebird convertible.

In his life and career, Dave espouses the importance of living life to the fullest. “You’re only here for a short time, so you might as well make the most of it,” he says. “Whatever you’re doing, whether in your professional or personal life, do it to the best of your ability, and don’t do anything halfway.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dave says he’d get to work on completing his Firebird restoration. “It’s been a slow process because I don’t find a lot of time to work on it, so if I retired tomorrow, I’d commit myself to finishing that car.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A ’68 Chevy Camaro.

Q: If you could drive any car, what would you drive?
A: A Nissan GT-R.

Q: Who’s your favorite actor?
A: Jack Nicholson.

Q: What’s one website you visit on a daily basis?
A: There are actually a few, including Craigslist, Facebook and auto repair forums like Identifix.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music.

Q: What’s your favorite fruit?
A: Watermelon.

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Check Engine Light Tips

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SANTA ROSA — Most drivers know to be concerned when their vehicle’s “check engine” light comes on, but few are aware of the potential complexity of the situation. Here are a few tips to help you better understand your “check… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Importance of Proper Fluid Levels

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SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: In caring for your vehicle, its vital to maintain fluid levels to avoid damage. Today, we're in Santa Rosa… Read more

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