Liam Caldwell: Homegrown Talent
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN FRANCISCO — When Liam Caldwell started working at Armstrong Carpet & Linoleum Co. as a teenager, he hadn’t the slightest notion that he’d one day be president of the company. “I started here when I was 15, working after school and on weekends,” he remembers. “I did everything from making deliveries to binding carpets and making pads. Even after I went to college, I would return every summer and work at the store.”
After graduating, Liam figured it was time to move on to a new career, but a simple phone call disrupted his plans. “I was considering career options when Steve Balestrieri, the owner of Armstrong, called me out of the blue,” he recounts. “He told me they were looking to expand and needed some help with sales and marketing, and he asked if I’d be interested in coming on full-time. I’d always liked working for Steve and didn’t have anything else on the horizon, so I accepted the offer.” In 2018, 25 years after he first started working there as a teenager, Liam assumed ownership of the company from Mr. Balestrieri upon his retirement.
Today, Liam says his favorite part of his job is delivering customer satisfaction. “I enjoy connecting people with the right products, providing quality service and hearing from happy customers at the end of the job. When a customer calls to tell me that we over-delivered and did an excellent job, that’s a real feather in my cap.”
A resident of Brisbane, Liam spends most of his free time doing activities with his daughters, Nia and Aya. “We enjoy going to minor league baseball games, visiting the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco and going hiking on San Bruno Mountain,” he details. “I’ve also done a fair amount of youth sports coaching. I coached Nia’s soccer team and I’ll probably end up coaching Aya’s team at some point when she’s older.”
In regard to his professional career, Liam says running a successful business involves a twofold dynamic. “As the owner of a company, I need to make sure that both my customers and employees are happy. It’s unfortunate how a lot of big-box stores subcontract everything and treat their labor like it’s a commodity. The reality is, if the people who work for you aren’t happy or invested in the company, they aren’t going to treat customers as well or be as diligent in their work, which means you’re going to end up with unhappy customers. That’s why I always make sure to address both sides of the equation.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Did you play any sports in high school?
A: I was too short for basketball, so I had to play soccer.
Q: If you could take a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
A: I’d probably go on an Alaskan cruise.
Q: Music or talk radio?
A: I’m about 50/50. I absolutely love music, but I’m also a talk radio junkie—it just depends on my mood and where I am.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Anything with peanut butter in it.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: It’s a tie between G.I. Joe and He-Man.Read more