Barbara Ragsdale: Growing into Success
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
WINDSOR — When asked how she became president of one of the North Bay’s premier electrical companies, Barbara Ragsdale describes it as an organic progression. “My parents started Knights’ Electric, Inc. in 1976, and I guess you could say I kind of grew into it,” she says. “I started by picking up materials at the wholesale house in Santa Rosa after school and driving them back to the shop in Windsor.” Following high school, Barbara served as secretary-treasurer for the company until 2006, when she took over ownership from her father, Bob Knight.
Today, Barbara says one thing she continues to enjoy is working alongside her family. “I’ve been working here with my two brothers, Rob and Art, since the beginning. After nearly four decades, we now have a third generation working for us, including Rob’s two sons and my own daughter, Liz. In addition, we have longtime employees whose children have grown up and become part of our team. Overall, it’s just a very family-oriented environment, which makes it a fun place to work.”
A lifetime resident of Sonoma County, Barbara was born in Healdsburg and currently resides in Windsor with her husband, Michael. In addition to the region’s natural beauty, she enjoys the abundance of fun things to do. “Windsor has a lot to offer, from great local restaurants to farmers’ markets and live music at the Town Green. We’re also just a short drive from Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, so it’s really an ideal spot.”
Outside of work, Barbara engages in a variety of creative hobbies that include knitting, baking and various home improvement projects. While she likes being at home, she says she appreciates the outdoors as well. “We like to ride our scooters to the Town Green, as well as take camping trips to areas like Hendy Woods and Van Damme State Park.” Barbara also enjoys assisting her husband with recreational beekeeping and keeping up with her son, Zach, who is currently serving in the U.S. Navy.
Barbara also stays actively involved in her community, both in a professional and personal capacity. In addition to having previously served as president of the Redwood Empire Independent Electrical Contractors and the Windsor Boys & Girls Club, in 2009, Barbara became the second female ever to serve as president of the North Coast Builders Exchange.
When asked what her future retirement might look like, Barbara says she’d spend more time pursuing some her favorite hobbies. “I think I’d be more creative. I do a lot of tinkering around now with various projects, but if I had the time, I’d do them with a little more gusto. Who knows, maybe I’d actually get some of them done!”
Q: If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’d like to see the British Isles.
Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Definitely a dog person. My dog, Coco, comes to work with me every day.
Q: Do you have a favorite Bay Area winery?
A: Dutcher Crossing Winery in Healdsburg.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Bake, read and knit.
Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: My children.
Q: What’s your favorite dessert?
A: Anything chocolate.