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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Concrete Contractors CATEGORY

David Figueroa is a lifetime veteran of the construction industry and owner of Kodiak Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 350-6447 or by email.

David Figueroa

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

David Figueroa: It’s a Hardscape Life

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MARTINEZ — After getting an early start in construction, David Figueroa worked in several aspects of the industry before eventually finding his niche as a concrete contractor. “I started doing construction when I was in junior high school, and I’ve been doing it ever since—more than 40 years now,” he says. “I got into concrete work in the early ’80s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that I had the opportunity to do it exclusively. Since then, our business has continued to grow, and I now work alongside my son, Michael, who is one of our estimators.”

Today, as owner of Kodiak Construction, David explains why he likes working with concrete in particular. “As a guy who likes to move around a lot, I appreciate the fact that concrete work is fairly fast-paced. You don’t have to wait three months to see the final product; you can see it right away and then you’re on to the next job. Also, you can do beautiful things with concrete, with a lot of room for creativity. There’s no mold for it—every project is different.”

Originally from Mexico, David came to the United States at the age of 20 and today resides in Martinez with his wife, Jane. “I really like the Bay Area setting: the weather is good, we’re surrounded by water and we have many different microclimates. For example, when it’s really hot in Martinez, you can go on the other side of the channel to San Francisco and it’s much cooler.”

In his life and career, David espouses the importance of honesty in business. “You have to be honest and straightforward with your customers,” he affirms. “When there’s a problem, you don’t hide from it; you do your best to take care of it. Sometimes, even when you try your hardest, things don’t work out as planned, but at the end of the day, if you’re honest and follow through with what you say you’re going to do, your customers will be satisfied.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, David says he’d do some traveling. “In addition to seeing more of the U.S., I’d like to spend some time in Mexico, just fishing and enjoying the simple life.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Italy. I’ve always wanted to go there.

Q: What kind of food do you like?
A: Mexican—basically, anything with a tortilla.

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

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: I usually don’t eat breakfast, although sometimes I’ll stop for a donut and coffee.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect gold and silver coins.

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Considerations for Concrete Installation

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MARTINEZ — When installing a concrete feature such as a driveway or patio, it’s crucial to follow proper procedure—otherwise, the installation will be susceptible to settling over time. Here are a few important aspects to consider: • Whether it’s plain soil… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: The Importance of Soil Compaction

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MARTINEZ — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re installing a new concrete driveway or patio, don’t overlook the importance of the soil base beneath it. Today we’re… Read more

Charles Lee is owner of California Concrete Pump Pros, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 201-6196 or by email.

Charles Lee

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Charles Lee: Concrete Ambition

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — In his former career as a restaurateur, Charles Lee made a name for himself by building restaurants from the ground up. What he didn’t realize, however, is that this vocation would later serve as the catalyst for an entirely new livelihood. “Having been involved with several restaurant construction projects, I had seen how a lot of contractors worked and often wasn’t particularly pleased with their services,” he explains. “Finally, I decided to try my own hand at it. I got some commercial real estate property, demolished everything and built it from the ground up, starting with the foundation. I found the process very interesting and I really enjoyed the work, so I decided to put my talents to use and start a concrete company.”

After several years in the concrete business, Charles decided to widen his professional prospects and got his contractor’s license in 2005. Today, as owner of California Concrete – Pump Pros, he says he continues to enjoy the process of creating something out of nothing. “It’s a lot of fun to build something new from the ground up, and it’s very rewarding to see the fruits of my labor when the project is completed.”

Having grown up in San Francisco, Charles says his favorite aspect of life in the Bay Area is the diversity of its populous. “The people make this area what it is. We work from San Jose to as far north as Napa, and the variety of people we have the privilege to meet makes our job that much more pleasurable.”

Charles’ career takes up the bulk of his schedule—“Right now I’m working seven days a week!” he says—so most of his time outside of work is devoted to his three children: Alicia, Kristin and Tyson. “As a single parent, my kids are the love of my life. My oldest is 23 and my youngest is eight, so I have quite a spread.” Charles describes most of the family’s activities as being aquatic in nature. “My kids grew up near the Delta, so they all love the water. If we’re not out on a fishing or boating excursion, you’re likely to find us in the swimming pool at home.”

In his life and career, Charles espouses the importance of attention to detail. “Something I tell my kids is to always take time to do things correctly the first time—that way, you won’t have to come back and revisit it later. This is the same philosophy I apply to my business, and it goes a long way toward keeping customers satisfied with our work.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Charles says he’d take a long-deferred vacation. “I haven’t been on vacation in many, many years. In fact, I have more than a million frequent flyer miles that I don’t have time to use. If I could retire tomorrow, I’d do some traveling with the kids…maybe rent an RV and try some new fishing spots.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants and 49ers.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: House of Prime Rib in San Francisco.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My Big Wheel tricycle. My sisters used to pull me around on it with a rope and whip me around corners like I was water skiing. It was a lot of fun.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Oatmeal.

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How to Protect Your Concrete

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ANTIOCH — Many people don’t realize that even though concrete is a hard, sturdy product, it’s also extremely porous. Because it readily absorbs liquids, concrete areas such as driveways and patios are susceptible to staining by everything from motor oil… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Preventing Concrete Stains

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ANTIOCH — Host, Sarah Rutan: Since concrete is a porous material, it is prone to stains from liquids such as motor oil. Today, we’re in Antioch… Read more

Russell Calhoon is project manager at Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 385-8993 or by email.

Russell Calhoon

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Russell Calhoon: A Firm Foundation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — By the time Russell Calhoon started working for a concrete contractor, he already had a firm foundation in the trades. “I’m a third-generation builder,” he explains. “I grew up in construction and worked for my dad from childhood all the way to adulthood. My dad taught me a lot, both on and off the jobsite. He actually taught apprenticeship classes on roof framing and stair framing at a local college, and I often went with him to those. We eventually became partners in a business that held licenses in foundation work, general construction, plumbing, electrical, solar power and sewer work.”

After his father retired, Russell decided to switch gears and transition from hands-on building to management. “I went to work for some high-end general contractors as an estimator, and from there I progressed to project manager and production manager, which gave me a chance to learn the other side of the business,” he says. “During that time, I also went to construction management school and got my license. Later, while in between jobs, I did some subcontracting work for Paradigm Concrete & Construction. I asked the owners if they knew anyone who needed someone with my skills, and they said they did. Ten years later, I’m still here.”

Today, as project manager at Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Inc., Russell says his diverse professional experience continues to benefit him in his day-to-day work. “Having a background in all aspects of construction is really helpful because it enables me to look at each project as a whole. This allows me to properly prepare for each individual phase and prevent problems for subsequent subcontractors on the job.”

A resident of Martinez (where he lives with his partner, Lanakila), Russell spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “My main activity outside of work is bocce ball,” he details. “I belong to the Martinez Bocce Federation and I’m a two-time national champion—I won titles in 1996 and 2003. I also enjoy sailing, which I’ve been doing all my life. I got my sailing license when I was nine years old.” Additionally, Russell enjoys going to the movies and spending time with his two adult sons, Alex and Ryan.

In regard to his professional career, Russell espouses the importance of fairness. “I believe a contractor deserves to make money and their client deserves a quality job for a fair price,” he explains. “As a contractor, if you aren’t being fair with your clients, you aren’t going to last in this business. It’s all about maintaining that balance of mutual benefit.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?

A: The Warehouse Cafe in Port Costa. They have awesome prime rib.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

A: Hang out with Lanakila and watch a movie or play cards.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?

A: Neither—I like being in the moment.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: I collect Mexican folk art.

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

A: Tahiti. My father planned to sail there with me when I was a kid and we never did, but I’m still planning to get there someday.

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Often-Overlooked Aspects of a Concrete Project

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ANTIOCH — If you’re planning a concrete project, be sure to consider the following aspects: Minimum cost Most concrete contractors have a minimum charge for concrete work. If you only have one small project in mind, it might not meet that minimum… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Concrete Cleaning Caveat

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ANTIOCH — Sarah Rutan: When cleaning recently poured concrete, you’ll need to exercise caution to avoid causing accidental damage. Today we’re in Antioch with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor… Read more

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