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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Computer Service & Repair CATEGORY

Rick Sutherland is a 13-year veteran of the computer service and repair industry and owner of ClickAway, a Diamond Certified company since 2004. He can be reached at (800) 960-9030 or by email.

Rick Sutherland

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Rick Sutherland: Clicking on Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CAMPBELL — Following a successful career in the tire business, Rick Sutherland decided to start from scratch in an entirely new industry. “I started in the tire retail business when I was a teenager and worked my way up to being a co-owner of a chain, which my partner and I subsequently grew to 25 Bay Area locations,” he recounts. “After selling my company in 1999, I found myself retired at 43 years old. After about six months, I realized I needed to get involved in something else.”

As he mulled over his options, Rick narrowed in on what he perceived to be an opportunity in the computer service field. “As someone who’d been using computers for a long time, I’d always felt there was a lack of support for consumers and small businesses when it came to their technology needs, so I thought that might be a good business to get into. I started out by hiring one technician, and since then, I’ve grown the business and expanded to more than 25 locations in six states.”

Today, as owner of ClickAway, Rick says his favorite part of his job is keeping score. “For me, running a business is like running a sports team, with sales and productivity being our scoreboard. In both sports and business, staying competitive is key, which is why I put a lot of effort into analyzing growth and motivating our team to keep going. It’s just fun for me to watch our team succeed and put up good numbers on the scoreboard.”

A resident of Los Gatos (where he lives with his wife, Lani), Rick expresses his appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a lot of different places in the world, and there’s no place like here,” he affirms. “We live a really lucky lifestyle, with a vastly diverse topography and culture, all topped off with amazing weather. You can’t beat it!”

Outside of work, Rick engages in a variety of active pastimes, most of which take place on two wheels. “I enjoy mountain biking with friends on local trails and going on motorcycle trips to places like Tahoe,” he says. “I also raced cars for 20 years and still have a passion for it, as well as a small collection of cars.” Additionally, Rick enjoys keeping up with his grown son and daughter, who are pursuing their own careers in New York and Washington, D.C., respectively.

In his life and career, Rick espouses the virtue of practicing the Golden Rule. “Whether it’s my employees, customers, friends or family, I try to treat others like I’d want to be treated,” he affirms. “When it comes to customers, this means giving them the best possible service and quality, which actually ends up being good for business since people are willing to pay for an honest service that brings a good value. So, as long as we continue to do that, it just makes our job more fun and rewarding.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire (again) tomorrow, Rick says he’d do some traveling. “The responsibility of running a business makes it hard to be away for very long, so I’d take the opportunity to visit my son in New York and my daughter on the East Coast.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Trying to qualify for a race back when I was racing cars. When you’re on the qualifying lap, it’s all or nothing, so you’re on the edge in every corner—one false move and you could wind up smashed into the guard rail.

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Plumed Horse in Saratoga.

Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: French fries.

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How to Avoid Technology Heartbreak

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CAMPBELL — Technology may enhance the quality of modern life, but it also has the power to break your heart. The most common occurrence of this “technology heartbreak” comes in the form of data loss. Whether it’s personal documents or family… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Avoiding Technology Heartbreak

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Complete Video Transcription:

CAMPBELL — Host, Sarah Rutan: To avoid the heartbreak of lost personal documents and photos, you’ll need to take measures to protect the irreplaceable data on your… Read more

Vladimir Galant is president of 911 PC Help, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 523-6060 or by email.

Vladimir Galant

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Vladimir Galant: A Hi-Tech Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CASTRO VALLEY — After more than two decades working with computer technology, Vladimir Galant is still going strong. “I started out by running an internet service provider in my home country of Lithuania,” he remembers. “It was a completely different scene in that time and place—a lot of people didn’t even know what the internet was, so it took quite a bit of courage and effort to build a company there.” In 2000, Vladimir moved to the United States to take a management position at an internet service provider in California. However, when the dot-com bubble burst just a year later, he found himself at a crossroads. “Ultimately, I decided to start working as a solo consultant. Over the last 15 years, my business has continued to grow and I now have four full-time experts working for me.”

Today, as president of 911 PC Help, Vladimir says his favorite part of his job is bringing relief to frustrated customers. “One thing I really enjoy is getting customers who have tried to get their problems resolved elsewhere and are desperate for a solution. When I’m able to fix the problem, I can see the appreciation in their eyes, which is very rewarding.”

A resident of Castro Valley, Vladimir spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I love nature and physical exercise, so one of my favorite activities is hiking,” he details. “My favorite place to hike is Lake Chabot. I also enjoy doing yoga, going to the movies and spending time with my close friends.”

While he spends his days working with computers, Vladimir says the most important aspect of his job is working with people. “It doesn’t matter whether you work with computers or plumbing or anything else—at the end of the day, you have to serve your customers. People expect to be served well no matter what the job entails, which is why I emphasize customer service as much as quality work. Because of this, I have very high customer loyalty. In fact, the majority of clients I’ve served over the years are still with me today.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What kinds of movies do you like?

A: I like movies that portray situations and contain lessons that can be applied to one’s own life.

Q: What are some of your favorite movies?

A: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “The Godfather” and “Heat.”

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?

A: An early bird.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Japan.

Q: What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

A: It’s a tie between Japanese food and Indian food.

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What to Do When Liquid Spills on Your Laptop

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CASTRO VALLEY — When liquid spills on your laptop, knowing how to react can make all the difference. If the computer is asleep/turned off, your initial instinct may be to wake it up/turn it on to see if it still works. In… Read more

The Best Cyber Security Tool

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CASTRO VALLEY — One of the biggest concerns with computers today is security. Everyone wants to protect their computers, network, and data against malicious hackers and viruses. The question is, what’s the best cyber security tool? There are many cyber security tools… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The Best Cyber Security Tool

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Complete Video Transcription:

CASTRO VALLEY — Host, Sarah Rutan: Want to know the best tool for protecting your computer and network? You might be surprised to hear the answer. Today we’re… Read more

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