Curtis Kapple: Mud and Numbers
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
EL VERANO — Every kid likes to play with mud, but for Curtis Kapple, this took on a whole different meaning. “My father was a drywall contractor and started teaching me the trade when I was about five years old,” he explains. “By the time I was 10, I was mudding and taping, and by age 14, I was doing finish work. I spent all my weekends and summers throughout high school working full-time.”
After high school, Curtis went to college and studied accounting, but the idea of spending his workdays at a desk didn’t appeal to him, so after graduating, he returned to the trade he knew. “I stuck with drywall for a couple of reasons,” he explains. “Number one, I already had experience, so I could start back up as a journeyman and make a nice income. Number two, I couldn’t sit still when I was that age, so being cooped up in a cubicle all day just wasn’t going to happen.”
Even though he never became an accountant, Curtis’ college education nonetheless gave him an advantage in his professional livelihood. “A lot of drywall contractors are really good at drywall, but they struggle when it comes to the numbers and paperwork,” he says. “My experience with accounting really helped me in that regard because it gave me an edge over my competitors.”
Today, as owner of Kapple Drywall, Curtis says he enjoys the varied and fast-paced nature of his work. “I like the fact that we’re on different jobsites all the time. Usually, we’re in and out within two or three weeks, so we get to see a lot of different homes and meet a lot of different people, which keeps things interesting.”
Born and raised in Marin County, Curtis resides today in Sonoma County, where he appreciates the ample opportunities to demonstrate his professional proficiency. “I like that there are a lot of high-end homes in this area because it provides us with a lot of work,” he says. “Not only is the money good, but the customers are looking for quality, so it really gives us a chance to shine at what we do.”
Outside of work, Curtis engages in a number of active hobbies and pastimes. “I go to the gym regularly and I’m an avid golfer—I actually have a single digit handicap,” he says. “I also love to go fishing and crabbing in my boat. In just the last couple of weeks, I’ve been steelhead fishing in the Russian River and sturgeon fishing in the bay.” Another of Curtis’ favorite pastimes is working with his hands. “I love doing projects, whether it’s working on my house or on one of my boats. It’s like my therapy.”
In his life and career, Curtis espouses the importance of professional integrity. “Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how you handle your mistakes that determines what kind of person you are,” he asserts. “You don’t walk away from your mistakes—you take care of them. As long as you do that, customers will hire you, because they know that, no matter what, you’re going to make things right.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Curtis says he’d devote more time to the activities he currently enjoys. “I’d still go to the gym, golf and go fishing. I’d also probably do some more traveling.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Angler West.” It’s a fishing show.
Q: If you could live in the city or the country, which would you choose?
A: The country—I like having some land and enough space to store my toys.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Antiques, coins and old fishing gear.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My hammer.