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

Miro Bokaric is owner of BV Electric Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 868-4970 or by email.

Miro Bokaric

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Miro Bokaric: Driven to Succeed

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — Miro Bokaric has always possessed a drive to succeed, but it wasn’t until he immigrated to the United States that he achieved his career objective. “I’m originally from Bosnia,” he explains. “My whole life, I’ve never stopped working. I got my first job as a kid digging trenches for a contractor. When I got older, I attended electrical school and became a qualified electrician.” However, just as Miro was getting started in his new career, war broke out in Bosnia. “When the war started, my wife and I decided to leave and relocate to the United States,” he recounts. “Right away, I got a job working for an electrical contractor. As it turned out, I worked for him for the next 18 years and eventually assumed ownership of his business.”

Today, as owner of BV Electric Inc. (named for the company’s original owner, Boris Vidas), Miro says his favorite part of his job is helping people. “The most rewarding work I do is answering emergency calls. It feels good to restore power to a home or business when they really need it.”

A resident of San Francisco, Miro spends his small amount of free time relaxing and enjoying the company of his family and community. “I work six days a week, so there’s not too much time for relaxing,” he says. “On Sundays, I usually attend church and then spend the rest of the day with my wife, Boba, and our son, Stefan.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Miro espouses the importance of building trust with clients. “I’ve learned that you can’t just tell customers what they need to do—you have to listen to them,” he says. “My approach is to listen to what each customer has to say, give them my honest opinion and offer my help with whatever they decide to do. In this way, my goal is to build trust with the customer so they feel confident having me perform their electrical work.”

When asked what he would do if he were to retire tomorrow, Miro says he’d pursue a career in law enforcement. “My dad was a police officer and that’s what I grew up wanting to be. Eventually, I decided that electrical work would be a better career choice, but I never lost my admiration for police officers. It’s just a passion of mine that I never had a chance to realize.”

Ask Me Anything!

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

A: I’m both—I don’t sleep that much.

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

A: The future. I love sci-fi movies like “Back to the Future” and “Star Wars,” and I’ve always wanted to fly a spaceship or a flying car.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?

A: Apples.

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

A: Cuddle with my wife and watch a good movie.

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Electrical Upgrades for a Kitchen Remodel

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SAN FRANCISCO — Are you remodeling your kitchen? If so, you probably want to upgrade your lighting fixtures and appliances. However, if you live in an older home, there’s one thing you may be forgetting: your electrical panel. If your… Read more

Why DIY Electrical Work is a Bad Idea

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SAN FRANCISCO —These days, resources like YouTube are enabling more and more people to do their own home maintenance and repair work. However, while many home tasks are DIY-friendly, one that you should never attempt to do yourself is electrical… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Considering Electrical With Remodeling

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SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning to remodel your home, it’s wise to hire an electrical contractor early in the process. Today we’re in San… Read more

Gerry Reyes is a 29-year veteran of the electrical industry and owner of Aren Electric Co., Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 564-3636 or by email.

Gerry Reyes

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Gerry Reyes: A Helping Hand

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DALY CITY – Gerry Reyes knew he wanted to be an electrician at a young age, but rather than getting his training through an apprenticeship, he opted for a more ceremonious route: the military. “When I joined the U.S. Air Force, I told the recruiter I wanted to be an electrician,” he remembers. “Once I was stationed in Texas, I received my training to become an electrical power production specialist. It was my responsibility to handle all the electrical power needs on the base.”

Following his stint in the Air Force, Gerry worked in a couple related industries before eventually striking out on his own. “My first job after the military was as a copy machine technician,” he says. “The company was going to send me to training school, but since I had a strong background in electronics, I was actually able to read the schematics and fix the machines without any additional training.” Gerry’s next job was working for American Airlines as a maintenance mechanic. “We took care of all the jet bridges, and we also repaired and maintained the x-ray machines and security devices.” After a while, Gerry decided to leave and fulfill his dream of starting his own electrical contracting business. In 1994, he founded Aren Electric Co., which he continues to operate nearly 20 years later.

Gerry hasn’t always lived in the Bay Area, or even in the United States. Originally from the Philippines, he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 16 and made his way to the Bay Area, where his mother and several other family members were already situated. “I came here in 1982,” he says. “After the Air Force, I returned in 1988 and have been here since.” Gerry now has his own family—his wife, Eleanor, and their children Ashley, 24, and Matthew, 19. “Ashley just graduated college and wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps to become a physical therapist,” he says. “My son is studying bioscience at Dominican University in San Rafael. I’m trying to convince him to go into medicine, because it would be great to have a doctor in the family.”

While Gerry concedes that owning a business involves a lot of hard work, he finds the sense of independence it gives him to be very gratifying. He also draws inspiration from the variety of people he meets while on the job. “One of the things I enjoy most is meeting new people, talking to them and learning how they live,” he says. “Seeing other people who have been successful in life motivates me to work harder and strive for more.” Outside of work, Gerry enjoys taking part in outdoor activities like golfing, basketball, running and fishing on the bay.

Gerry says helping those in need is an integral part of his personal ethos, particularly when it comes to his occupation. “I like helping customers with problems in their homes. Occasionally, I’ll encounter a customer who is elderly or financially disadvantaged and has a problem that he or she simply can’t afford to have fixed. I’ll often fix those problems at no additional charge. It makes me feel good when I go home.” In the past, Gerry has donated his time to Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that rehabilitates homes for disadvantaged homeowners, which he says is something he’d like to do more of when he retires. “It’ll be a great way for me to keep busy and help others in the process.”

Ask Me Anything!

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

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.

Q: If you had a warning label, what would it say?
A: “Watch out…Gerry’s in town!”

Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
A: Hawaii. Besides the weather, I really like the local people. I’ve made a lot of friends there, and I like to hang out and drink coffee with some of the retired folks.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Christmas time. I like the songs, smells, food and family gatherings—just the whole spirit of the season.

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Understanding Your GFCI

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DALY CITY — Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can be found in most residential bathrooms and kitchens, but not everyone understands the significance of the small buttons and little green light on the electrical outlets in their homes. In fact, GFCI's… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Testing a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

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DALY CITY — Host, Sarah Rutan: GFCIs or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters are important parts of your electrical system. Today, we're in Daly City with Gerry Reyes of… Read more

Will Phinney is operations manager of Reyff Electric, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (415) 508-5638 or by email.

Will Phinney

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Will Phinney: From Brokering to Breakers

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ROHNERT PARK — Formerly a real estate broker, Will Phinney moved into the electrical service field following the financial crisis of 2008. “I’ve known Ray Reyff, the owner of Reyff Electric, for over 20 years, so when the real estate market crashed, I came to work for him,” he explains. “Coming from a totally different field, it was initially a challenge to find my place here. I worked my way through the customer service, marketing and service departments before eventually moving to the administrative side. Today, as operations manager, I handle employee hiring and management, along with a lot of behind-the-scenes things that keep a business up and running.”

After 11 years at Reyff Electric, Inc., Will says his favorite part of his job is taking care of clients. “I enjoy being able to help the public with their electrical needs. When a customer is dealing with a tripped breaker or a beeping smoke alarm, it may be a small problem to us, but it’s a big deal to them, so it feels good to step in and be the hero who saves the day.”

A resident of Santa Rosa, Will spends the bulk of his time outside of work with his children. “I have a 20-year-old son, an 18-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old daughter,” he details. “As a single dad, I spend most of my free time with them. I take them to the beach, the movies…whatever it takes to engage them and keep them away from their phones!” When he’s not hanging out with his kids, Will enjoys spending time with friends and visiting Wine Country.

In regard to a professional philosophy, Will espouses the importance of treating employees not merely as workers but as people. “As a manager, I make an effort to come alongside our employees and meet them where they’re at,” he explains. “Everyone has good days and bad days, and everyone makes mistakes. Moreover, learning from your mistakes is a key part of growing and improving, so I try to communicate that. By taking the time to understand what an employee is going through or why they’re having an off day, I can gain some insight into how to help them overcome personal hurdles and be successful.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?

A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: What kinds of music do you like?

A: Country and classic rock.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?

A: Definitely a dog person.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

A: “Fast N’ Loud.”

Q: What’s your favorite snack?

A: A chocolate éclair.

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Simple (But Impactful) Upgrades for Your Electrical System

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ROHNERT PARK — Nowadays there are several electrical products and system add-ons that can improve functionality, energy efficiency, and safety in your home. What’s more, all of these products are affordable and easy to install, allowing you to reap numerous… Read more

7 Common Electrical Panel Issues

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ROHNERT PARK — Your main electrical panel is the control center of your home’s electrical system. Not only does this panel provide power to your home, it also protects you from hazards by shutting off the power when something goes wrong… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Products to Improve Your Electrical System

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ROHNERT PARK — Host, Sarah Rutan: Did you know there’s a variety of products that can improve the safety and functionality of your electrical system? To learn… Read more

Rodney Fite is president of REFCorp, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 735-0935 or by email.

Rodney Fite

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Rodney Fite: An Electrical Fascination

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — Upon receiving an early introduction to the trades, Rodney Fite was struck with an electrical fascination. “My father was a carpenter, and he used to take me with him to jobsites when I was a kid,” he remembers. “I was exposed to a lot of different trades, but the one that interested me the most was electrical work. I spent as much time as I could hanging around the electricians to see what they were doing. I ended up studying electronics in college and getting a job at Eastman Kodak Company, where I worked for the next seven years. After a brief stretch of running my own printing company, I decided to get back into electrical work, and I’m still doing it today.”

Today, as president of REFCorp, Rodney says his favorite part of his job is devising customized solutions. “I enjoy the challenge of finding solutions that are both effective and fit the client’s budget. I love it when I’m able to deliver exactly what a customer needs at a price that works for them.”

A resident of San Francisco (where he lives with his wife, Joann), Rodney expresses his appreciation for life in the City by the Bay. “I enjoy the diversity of the city—you can stand on any given street corner and meet someone from another part of the world. There’s also a great variety of things to do, from visiting museums to kayaking in the Bay to taking walks through Golden Gate Park.”

Outside of work, Rodney spends his free time on a variety of active pastimes. “I have three favorite hobbies: flying, cycling and hiking,” he details. “Flying has been a passion of mine since I can remember—I got my pilot’s license when I was 18 and continue to fly regularly today. I also enjoy mountain and road biking, as well as hiking all around the Bay Area.” Additionally, Rodney likes to stay in touch with his daughter, Nicole, who is currently attending college.

In regard to his professional career, Rodney says relationships are more important than revenue. “At REFCorp, we don’t just fix electrical problems, we build relationships. I believe the success of any business depends on its ability to maintain relationships with its customers. Even if we lose money on a job here and there, as long as we’re keeping our customers happy, we’re going to do well over the long term.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Rodney says he’d hit the road. “I’d definitely travel. First, I’d get an RV and go traveling around the United States for a year or two. After that, I’d start hitting some international destinations. I’d like to see Turkey, Egypt and Iceland, just to name a few.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Chocolate.

Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Rock climbing. It was a long time ago and I don’t remember where I was, but I remember constantly thinking I was going to die…which is kind of funny, considering how much I love flying.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Read a book.

Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?
A: Biographies and suspense thrillers.

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Identifying and Replacing Federal Pacific Circuit Breakers

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SAN FRANCISCO — If you own a home in the Bay Area, make sure you know what’s in your breaker box. A lot of Bay Area homes have outdated electrical components, and in some cases this can represent a fire hazard. One… Read more

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Video: Preventing Hazards with Federal Pacific Breakers

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SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re unsure whether you have Federal Pacific circuit breakers, don’t wait until a fire starts to find out. To learn more,… Read more

Scott Mamola is a 23-year veteran of the electrical industry and owner of Maine Home Services, a Diamond Certified company since 2006. He can be reached at (925) 231-0744 or by email.

Scott Mamola

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Scott Mamola: A Spark of Interest

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LIVERMORE — Scott Mamola may have begun his professional life as a construction hand, but it wasn’t long before a related trade sparked his interest. “After working for a while as a laborer, I started to notice the electricians on the jobsites,” he recounts. “They didn’t look quite as beat up as us laborers, and their work seemed a little more technical. Plus, from what I gathered, they made better money. All things considered, I decided it would be a good trade to get involved in.” After earning his electrical certification in trade school, Scott gained industry experience working for a couple of electrical contractors before obtaining his contractor’s license and starting his own business.

Today, as owner of Maine Home Services, Scott says his favorite part of his job is cultivating his team. “I enjoy introducing new employees to our culture, watching them grow and seeing the successes they get in our company. It always makes me happy when a recently hired employee reports back to me that they feel at home here.”

Born in San Jose, Scott resides today in Tracy with his wife and three children. When asked what he enjoys about living and working in the Bay Area, he cites the abundance of professional opportunity. “I appreciate the fact that there’s a lot of opportunity in our field. Even though the economy can be up and down at times, there are always people willing to pay for great service, which has kept us in business all these years.”

Outside of work, Scott likes spending as much time as possible outdoors. “I’m not one for sitting around the house, so I like to get away on the weekends,” he says. “Our family does a lot of boating at local lakes, and in the summer we usually rent a houseboat or stay at a cabin. I’m also a diehard water fowler and enjoy going hunting with my sons.” Additionally, Scott enjoys attending his children’s sporting events. “My daughter is involved in competitive cheerleading, and both of my sons are into sports like basketball, football, and wrestling.”

In his life and career, Scott espouses the importance of having good intentions. “In every situation I encounter, I always try to do the right thing,” he explains. “Even if what I thought was a good decision ends up being a bad one, I know at least I had the right intention, and that goes a long way in life and business.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Scott says he’d acquire a more itinerant mode of living. “I would like to stay in a different climate every three months and constantly change up my scenery, as well as expose my kids to new places and points of interest. What can I say…I guess I just have a hard time sitting still!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A dog person—I have a black lab.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Tracy Thai Restaurant in Tracy.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: I really like talk radio, especially NPR and all the stories they have. When I’m listening to that, a three-hour drive can feel like 20 minutes.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My Green Machine, which was basically a combination of a bike and a big wheel.

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Identifying Hazardous Electrical Panels

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LIVERMORE — If you live in an older home and have never looked at your electrical panel, it’s time you did. Why? There’s a chance your entire electrical system is relying on a defective product. Despite advances in circuit breaker technology,… Read more

Addressing Electrical Problems

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LIVERMORE — During the summer and winter, the need for cooling and heating your home requires larger amounts of power to be drawn through your electrical system. If you experience electrical problems like tripping circuit breakers or flickering lights, these problems will… Read more

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Video: Identifying Hazardous Electrical Panels

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LIVERMORE — Host, Sarah Rutan: You may not realize it, but your home’s electrical system could be relying on a defective product. To learn more, we’re in… Read more

Jerry Thompson is a 32-year veteran of the electrical industry and president of Integrity Electric, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (415) 347-6975 or by email.

Jerry Thompson

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Jerry Thompson: Electrical Integrity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SAN RAFAEL — When Jerry Thompson was 18 years old, he wasn’t sure which direction his professional path would take. Fortunately, with a little paternal guidance, he was able to forge his way to a successful career. “I got involved in the electrical trade through the encouragement of my father,” he explains. “When I graduated high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. My father was an electrician, and he said the trade had done him well and encouraged me to take the exam for an electrical apprenticeship. I took his advice, passed the exam and, within a couple of years, began my apprenticeship. From there, I worked my way up to journeyman status and eventually founded my own company in 1993.”

Today, as owner of Integrity Electric, Inc., Jerry says his favorite part of his job is receiving positive feedback from happy customers. “Besides enjoying the work itself, I like the fact that people are thankful when we finish. When you restore power to someone’s home after an outage, they’re generally very appreciative, which feels good.”

Originally from San Francisco, Jerry currently resides in Novato with his wife and business partner, Kari. “Living and working in Marin County has provided us with a lot of great opportunities,” he says. “I appreciate the fact that the economy has enabled us to expand even in the face of a recession. I also like not having to cross too many bridges to get to work.”

Outside of work, Jerry engages in a variety of active pastimes, from playing drums to swimming. “I play drums in my church worship band, as well as in a local group called Factor 11. I’m also on the swim team at Rolling Hills Club in Novato.” In addition to his personal hobbies, Jerry enjoys spending time with Kari and their two daughters, Isabelle and Danielle, whether going on ski trips or solving jigsaw puzzles together.

In his life and career, Jerry espouses the importance of being present when opportunity knocks. “Woody Allen said, ‘80 percent of success is showing up,’ which I definitely agree with,” he says. “Even if you’re just starting out and don’t know anything, if you simply show up, have a good attitude and give your all, you’ll be surprised how far you can go. On the other hand, a good attitude won’t make much difference if you don’t seek out opportunities to succeed.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jerry says he would do some traveling before returning to give back to his community. “I enjoy travel, so I’d spend about a year roaming the planet. After a while, however, I think that would lose its luster and I’d want to get involved in something more rewarding, like charity work. I think I have a gift for service, so I’d probably devote some of my time to volunteering in the community.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco 49ers.

Q: Do you have a favorite board game to play with your family?
A: Besides jigsaw puzzles, we like games like Sorry and Monopoly Deal, which is an offshoot of the original Monopoly.

Q: What’s your favorite type of food?
A: Thai.

Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: If I could play harmonica like John Popper, I would be really happy.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I have a collection of $2 bills. I have no idea why.

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A Crucial Consideration When Buying an Electric Car

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SAN RAFAEL — An electric car offers several advantages, from eliminating fossil fuel usage to reducing maintenance needs. However, if you’re thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle, one factor you’ll need to consider is how you’re going to charge it.… Read more

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Video: Considerations for Buying an Electric Car

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SAN RAFAEL — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re thinking about buying an electric car, you’ll want to consider a few different factors, including how you’re going to… Read more

Joe Scerbo is a 35-year veteran of the electrical industry and president of Gentec Services, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2006. He can be reached at (925) 480-7957 or by email.

Joe Scerbo

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Joe Scerbo: An Electric State of Mind

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LIVERMORE — Growing up, Joe Scerbo wasn’t the best at working with his hands, but when it came to securing a career in the trades, his mental aptitude more than compensated. “Honestly, I would have been a carpenter, but I couldn’t swing a hammer without bending the nail,” he laughs. “Still, I knew I wanted to go into a trade after high school, so I decided to focus on electrical. I did a two-year Electrical Construction and Maintenance program in my home state of New York, following which I started working in the field.”

Not long after, Joe made a big move both professionally and residentially. “I was all set to begin a telecommunications program at Utica College in New York, but then I took a trip to California and fell in love with it,” he remembers. “I went back home, packed up my tools and drove across the country. I found a job right away and spent the next 10 years working for a number of different companies, including seven years with the electrical workers’ union. In 2000, I got my electrical license and started my own company soon after.”

Since founding Gentec Services, Inc. in 2003, Joe has continued to expand upon the scope of his company’s capabilities. “When we first started, it was just me and an apprentice doing electrical work,” he explains. “About five years ago, we started an HVAC division, and just last year we got into home security and automation, so we’ve really come a long way.”

Today, Joe says his favorite part of his job is developing relationships with his employees and clients alike. “I love seeing my employees reach new goals and take their careers to the next level, as well as be able to provide for their families. I also enjoy getting to know our clients and forming long-term relationships with them.”

A resident of Livermore (where he lives with his wife, Pamela, and their two daughters), Joe expresses his appreciation for the mild Bay Area climate. “Being from New Jersey, I moved here specifically for the weather. Being a tradesman is tough to begin with, and being out in bad weather makes it even harder, so it’s a real blessing to work in a moderate climate. Plus, I love to barbeque, so the good weather helps with that, too.”

In regard to his life and career, Joe cites a favorite scriptural passage to explain his central philosophy. “I get my philosophy from 1 Peter 4:10, which reads, ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.’ I feel it’s important that I’m not only using my abilities to make money, but to help others as well, including my clients and employees.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Joe simply replies that he wouldn’t. “I don’t see the purpose of retiring. I enjoy running my business and plan to keep doing it as long as I can. I suppose one day I might take the opportunity to relax and travel more, but the idea of retiring completely just doesn’t appeal to me.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The San Francisco Giants.

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Crustacean in San Francisco.

Q: The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
A: The Rolling Stones.

Q: If you could talk to anyone living or dead, who would it be?
A: My Grandpa Scott. He was around for the better part of my young life, and now that I’m an adult, I’d love the opportunity to ask him some questions about life.

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Wave of the Future: Intelligent Personal Assistants

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LIVERMORE — There’s no doubt that technology has revolutionized the way we live and function in today’s world. From smartphones that provide us with instant information to home automation that enables control of our heating, lighting and security systems from a… Read more

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Video: A.I. Personal Assistants

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LIVERMORE — Host, Sarah Rutan: As the latest innovation in home automation technology, A.I. personal assistants are making life easier for modern homeowners. Today we’re in Livermore… Read more

Michael Martins is a 32-year veteran of the electrical industry and owner of AC Electric, a Diamond Certified company since 2015. He can be reached at (415) 231-2028 or by email.

Michael Martins

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Michael Martins: Powerage

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NOVATO — Most electrical professionals get their start in the industry by landing an apprenticeship or going to trade school, but for Michael Martins, it all began with rock and roll. “I was a roadie back in the ’70s and ’80s,” he explains. “I worked with almost every band that was popular back then: David Bowie, ZZ Top, Fleetwood Mac, you name it. I got into stage lighting, which was where I learned how to do electrical work. By 1985, I was tired of working every weekend and decided I wanted a nine-to-five job, so I started doing electrical wiring for a general contractor. After that, I worked for an electrical contractor until I eventually decided to strike out on my own.”

Today, as owner of AC Electric, Michael says his favorite part of his job is the satisfaction he gets from lighting up his customers’ lives. “I love transforming my clients’ homes by upgrading their lighting. A lot of times, I’ll come into a house that’s poorly lit and spend the day making improvements, and by the time I leave, everything is bright and looking great. That gives me a good feeling of accomplishment.”

Originally from the East Coast, Michael moved to the Bay Area when he was 18. Today, as a resident of Novato (where he lives with his wife, Deborah), Michael expresses his appreciation for life in the North Bay Area. “You can’t beat the weather, and the people are great, too,” he says. “California is very progressive, so I fit right in here.”

Outside of work, Michael’s favorite pastime is cruising around on his Harley-Davidson. “Deborah and I are weekend warriors, and we’ve put about 30,000 miles on our bike over the last four years,” he affirms. “I think we’ve checked out every road within 300 miles of where we live. One time, we rode all the way to Big Sur, ate some hamburgers and rode home.” Additionally, Michael and his wife enjoy exploring various Bay Area hiking trails with their dog, Sandy Lou.

In reference to a professional philosophy, Michael says the key to success in business is simply making people happy. “I’m big on taking care of people. I always try to give my customers a good value for their money and leave them completely satisfied with my service. I know they appreciate that because I’m able to run my business primarily on referrals, which is only possible if you have a loyal clientele base.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Michael says he’d commence a new life on the road. “I’d buy a 32-foot RV and travel around the country. There’s so much road in the U.S., we could ride every day for the rest of our lives and still not see half of it. I’ve been to about 40 states, and I’d like to show my wife some of the places I’ve been, like Monument Valley, Independence Pass and the Grand Canyon.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: I had really long hair. I used to take a curling iron to it, and when I was done, I looked like Peter Frampton. The girls loved it. Now, I don’t have any hair at all.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Super Duper Burgers in Novato.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: A night owl. Remember, I used to do rock concerts for a living.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Harley-Davidson gear.

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Understanding GFIs

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NOVATO — While most modern homes have GFIs, not everyone knows what they are or what their purpose is. GFI stands for “ground fault interrupter,” which plainly describes its main function: to interrupt ground faults. But what is a ground fault and… Read more

Understanding Home Automation

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NOVATO – People are hearing the term “home automation” more and more these days, but what exactly does it mean? In a word, it’s a new concept in the way a home functions—one that implements cutting-edge technology and integrates various systems to… Read more

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Video: Understanding GFIs

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NOVATO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re wondering why the electrical outlets in your kitchen, bathrooms and garage look different than those in other areas of your home,… Read more

Jeremy Carlock is a 14-year veteran of the electrical industry and owner of Got Watts Electric & Solar, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 268-0666 or by email.

Jeremy Carlock

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Jeremy Carlock: High Wattage

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PLEASANT HILL — While pursuing a career in law enforcement, Jeremy Carlock decided to cushion his professional future by learning a trade on the side. Little did he know, this secondary venture would later become his primary livelihood. “After high school, I enrolled in the California Highway Patrol Academy,” he recounts. “When one of my classes was put on hold, I went to work for a family friend who owned an electrical company. I figured it would be good to learn a skill that would keep me employable, in case I was ever laid off from law enforcement. After a couple of years, I decided to switch my focus to electrical work and applied to a union apprenticeship program.”

Having transitioned into full-time electrical work, Jeremy thought his future was secure—that is, until the economic downturn of 2008 left him without a job. However, amidst this seeming career setback, he was able to find a silver lining. “The 2008 crash hit the electrical industry really hard,” he remembers. “The company I worked for went from 125 employees to about 15, and I was one of the last to be laid off. Fortunately, I had been doing a little electrical work on the side, so it allowed me to devote more energy toward developing my own business. Things really started to take off around 2010, and my business has been growing ever since.”

Today, as owner of Got Watts Electric & Solar, Jeremy says his favorite part of his job is getting to the root of difficult problems. “I love troubleshooting—sometimes I call myself a professional problem solver. Whether it’s determining the cause of a malfunction or figuring out a creative way to access a hard-to-reach space, problem-solving is probably the most enjoyable part of it for me.”

A lifetime resident of the East Bay, Jeremy resides today near Benicia with his wife, Andrea, and their infant son, Justin. Not surprisingly, he says the bulk of his time outside of work is devoted to his family. “Most of my hobbies have been put on hold due to the birth of our child. Normally, my wife and I enjoy outdoor activities and trying different restaurants, but right now, we spend all of our time caring for and playing with our son.”

In regard to a professional philosophy, Jeremy invokes the age-old Golden Rule. “My staff and I try to treat everyone the same way we’d want to be treated,” he explains. “So, when it comes to our customers’ projects, we take care of them and make sure they’re happy. We take the same detail-oriented approach on every project, regardless of its size, because to us, the customer’s satisfaction is always the top priority.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jeremy says it would be a toss-up between two choices. “I would either rent a motorhome and take my family on a road trip or fly us to Mexico and hang out on the beach. Whichever sounds better at the time—I guess I can’t go wrong either way.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What are your favorite TV shows?
A: “Gold Rush” and “Deadliest Catch.”

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Summer—it’s warm, and I’m able to get outside and do things.

Q: What’s your favorite type of food?
A: I like Asian cuisine, particularly Thai and Japanese food.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: Legos.

Q: Who’s your favorite movie monster?
A: I like vampire movies, so I’d have to say Dracula. He’s like the Sean Connery of vampires!

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Planning for Future Energy Needs With Solar

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PLEASANT HILL — If you’re planning to add a solar power system to your home, be sure to consider any potential future energy needs you may have. Solar power systems are often designed to supply just enough energy to meet the household’s… Read more

Tesla Charging Options

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PLEASANT HILL – An important aspect of buying an electric vehicle is determining how you’re going to charge it. When it comes to charging a Tesla, there are two options to consider: NEMA 14-50 outlet Your first option for charging a Tesla… Read more

The Whole House Fan Advantage

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PLEASANT HILL — If you’re looking for a more energy-efficient way to cool your home, a whole house fan might be the solution. During the summer, it’s common for people to run their air conditioners until late at night, not realizing that… Read more

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Video: Tesla Car Charging

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PLEASANT HILL–? Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re thinking about purchasing a Tesla electric car, you’ll need to consider your options in regard to charging. Today we’re in… Read more

Henry Acosta is a 23-year veteran of the electrical industry and owner of California Power and Light, a Diamond Certified company since 2012. He can be reached at (408) 624-8712 or by email.

Henry Acosta

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Henry Acosta: A Powerful Achievement

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN MARTIN — Unlike many young people, Henry Acosta didn’t have the luxury of gradually deciding on a career. Fortunately, he’s still enjoying the one he ended up with. “When I was 17, I had to go to work to support my mom and brother,” he remembers. “I was looking for any work I could find and came across an electrical company that had an opening. Over time, I worked my way up through the ranks, and at age 22, I got my license and started my own business.”

Today, as owner of California Power and Light, Henry says his favorite part of his job is seeing the results of his work. “I love the process of starting from scratch and watching the final product develop. At the end of the job, it’s very satisfying to see the transformation that has taken place with everything wired up and functional.”

Originally from Miami, Florida, Henry came to the West Coast at the age of 21, where he re-established himself in the Bay Area. Today, as a resident of Morgan Hill, he expresses his appreciation for life and work in the Silicon Valley. “I love the weather and scenery here; in Miami, you don’t see many hills or mountains. Also, as an electrician, it’s neat to be living and working in the technology capital of the world.”

Outside of work, Henry engages in a variety of active pastimes. “I play in a local basketball league, and I like to play golf whenever I get a chance,” he says. “In addition to playing, I enjoy following professional basketball and golf.” Henry also likes pursuing outdoor activities with his wife, Linda, and their three children, Sidney, Amalia, and Enrique. “We’re a pretty outdoorsy family, so we enjoy things like camping, hiking and boating.”

In his life and career, Henry espouses the importance of providing options for clients. “I think it’s crucial to be upfront and honest with customers about their situations and give them options,” he explains. “Some electricians will come out and tell you that your whole house needs to be rewired, when in reality, there may be other, more affordable ways to resolve the problem. While safety is the first priority, I feel it’s also important to provide customers with economical options when they’re available.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Henry says he’d take some time to recharge his batteries. “I’d probably take my family on a long vacation and just relax. Of course, assuming I had the extra time, I’d also start playing golf more often.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Golden State Warriors.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Ladera Grill in Morgan Hill.

Q: Reality TV or documentaries?
A: Documentaries.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Chocolate-covered almonds.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Chess pieces. I have pieces from all over the world, including Russia, England, Greece, Mexico and Vietnam.

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Electrical Panels That Threaten Safety

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SAN MARTIN — If you live in an older home, some architectural or mechanical aspects of it are likely from a different era. However, one aspect of your home that should never be outdated is your electrical panel, as it can… Read more

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Video: Electrical Panel Safety

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SAN MARTIN — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you live in an older home, your electric panel is probably outdated. Worse still, it may represent a safety hazard.… Read more

Dan Pitcock is a lifetime veteran of the electrical industry and president of Roberts Electric Company, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (510) 621-3918 or by email.

Dan Pitcock

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Dan Pitcock: High Voltage

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

OAKLAND – Dan Pitcock has been involved in the electrical industry since he was a young man, but there was a span of time during and after college when he had another equally electrifying occupation. “I worked for Bill Graham Presents from the mid ’70s to the early ’80s as a security supervisor at concerts,” he says. “I’m a pretty big guy, so they put me at the front of the stage, which gave me the opportunity to see a lot of iconic bands perform during their heyday. I remember working a Rolling Stones show where Mick Jagger was trying to untie some balloons and asked me if I had a knife. About 20 knives came flying out of the crowd and landed on the stage. He cut the balloons off and everybody cheered as they flew up over the crowd. Another time, I got a Dutch rub from Steven Tyler!”

Long before he was supplying the muscle at rock ‘n’ roll shows, Dan was fully immersed in electrical work. As he describes, it was merely a family affair. “I come from a family of electricians, including my father and my uncles. My parents started Roberts Electric Company in 1960, and I basically grew up in the business. By the time I was 12, I was working during the summers for my parents, and I continued to do that through college. In 1992, I took over the business.” In addition to building on the traditions of quality and service that have characterized Roberts Electric Company since its inception, Dan has put his own spin on things by expanding the business to handle larger commercial and industrial jobs.

While Dan’s role as owner of Roberts Electric Company keeps him busy throughout the workweek, on weekends he’s likely to be on the sidelines at one of his son’s soccer games. “My son, Shane, plays on Bay Oaks, which is a Class 1 team in the Bay Area that competes nationally,” he explains. Dan has been participating in local youth sports ever since Shane, now a high school senior, first got involved with them as a boy. “I coached little league for many years, and I’m on the Board of Directors for a couple youth baseball organizations.” Dan says being a part of his son’s athletic career has been a continual source of enjoyment and paternal bonding. “It’s been something that we’ve been able to share for a number of years, and it’s been a great joy. Shane wants to play soccer in college, so I look forward to supporting him in that as well.”

Looking back on his life and career, Dan takes pride in knowing he’s made a positive impact on his local community. “I’ve always enjoyed helping people and improving their lives through electricity, so it’s very gratifying to know that I’ve been able to make a difference,” he says. When asked what he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dan says he’d spend some time traveling abroad. “I used to speak Spanish and French pretty fluently, so I’d like to visit those countries and get re-immersed in that. I’d also like to get outdoors more and enjoy things like bird watching and hiking.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: Even though I grew up in Oakland, I’ve always been a Giants and 49ers guy. And, of course, I have to support my Cal Bears.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: I like a mix of old school and new school. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of newer stuff like Arcade Fire and Band of Horses, but I also like Led Zeppelin and the classic rock I grew up with. I’m just a child of the ’70s who has lived through all these different phases and learned to appreciate newer styles. I’ve even warmed up a bit to the rap music my son listens to!

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I’d go to the past, because I’d like to see the Bay Area before it became settled and populated. When the first Spanish explorers came through here, they described all kinds of amazing things—whales beached on the Bay, grizzly bears, and huge amounts of birds and fish.

Q: What kind of books do you read?
A: I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi and fantasy books—I used to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy every year—but lately, I’ve been reading historical accounts of life in the United States.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: I’m a big taco truck guy. Oakland has some great taco trucks, so when I’m in the mood, I enjoy a good local taco.

Q: What’s your favorite smell?
A: Organic roses. The ones that aren’t hybridized have a really amazing perfume.

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Understanding Your Electrical System

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OAKLAND — There are two types of electrical systems found in homes today: fuse boxes and circuit breaker panels. Regardless of which you have in your home, it’s beneficial to gain an understanding of how each functions. Fuse box As… Read more

Updating Your Interior Lighting

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OAKLAND — If you’re looking to update the lighting in your home, there are several available options, but the best lighting is always that which most improves your home’s functionality and energy-efficiency. When it comes to choosing a light bulb,… Read more

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Video: Understanding Your Electrical System

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OAKLAND — Host, Sarah Rutan: Whether a fuse box or circuit breaker, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of your home’s electrical system. Today we’re… Read more

Joe Greenwood is a 34-year veteran of the electrical trade and owner of Greenwood Electric, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2010. He can be reached at (415) 742-1947.

Joe Greenwood

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Joe Greenwood: An Electric Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Expert Reporter

SAN RAPHAEL — While working as a laborer on a construction site, Joe Greenwood was presented with an unexpected opportunity that eventually led to a lifelong career. “When I was 18 years old, I was working for a general contractor as a jack-of-all-trades, doing everything from painting to carpentry,” he remembers. “One day, we had an electrician on site—a man I knew from church named Al. Out of the blue, Al asked if I’d be interested in apprenticing with him to learn to be an electrician. I replied, ‘Sure, I’d love to.’”

Following his apprenticeship, Joe gained further experience by consecutively working for three different electrical contractors. While most people would’ve struck out on their own at this point, Joe instead decided to increase the depth of his industry knowledge through formal education. “I was thinking about going into lighting design and sales, so I went back to college and majored in managerial psychology,” he explains. “After earning my degree, I considered going back to get my master’s degree, but I was so wiped out from the previous couple of years that I decided to take a break from school. Soon after, I got my license and started my own electrical company in 1991.”

Today, as owner of Greenwood Electric, Inc., Joe says his favorite part of his job is giving people a better impression of his industry. “Like many trades, the electrical industry often gets a bad reputation, which is why I love working with my customers and gaining their trust. By providing excellent service, I hope to leave each of my clients with a positive feeling about their interaction with my company.”

A lifelong resident of Marin County (where he lives with his wife, Cara), Joe expresses his appreciation for the well-rounded character of the Bay Area. “I like living in the San Francisco Bay Area,” he affirms. “It’s diverse and forward-thinking, and there’s always something going on.”

Outside of work, Joe spends as much time as possible at high altitudes. “I’m a pilot and fly as often as I can—usually on the weekends, but sometimes during the week if I get a chance,” he explains. “I fly both a single-engine and multi-engine airplane, and I’m currently in the process of earning my commercial rating.” Joe also enjoys playing golf, going on mountain hikes with his dog, Beau, and hanging out with family and friends.

In regard to his personal career, Joe espouses the importance of taking care of both his customers and himself. “I treat my customers the way I’d want to be treated, which is why I make it a priority to return phone calls, listen to their needs and give them what they want,” he says. “However, I also make it a point to take care of myself. Running a small business is pretty much non-stop, but there are times when I need to take a break and re-energize. That way, I can make sure I have enough energy to give my customers the best possible service.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Joe says he’d take his aviation avocation to new heights. “After I earn my commercial rating, the next thing I want to do is become a Certified Flight Instructor and get into teaching. So, if I were to retire tomorrow, I’d probably redirect all my efforts toward that goal and start passing my piloting knowledge and experience onto others.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sorella Caffe in Fairfax.

Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: JFK’s assassination. I was six years old, and I remember it had a big impact on everyone around me.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Watch a movie.

Q: Who’s your favorite actor?
A: Robert Duvall.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Being a very social guy, as well as playing brass instruments in the school band.

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A Foolproof Way to Reset a Circuit Breaker

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SAN RAFAEL — A common electrical issue is when the power goes out in a certain area of the home. More often than not, this is due to a tripped circuit breaker, which is something you can easily fix yourself by going… Read more

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Video: Troubleshooting a Power Outage

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SAN RAFAEL — Host, Sarah Rutan: In the event of a power outage, there’s a simple way to test if the cause was a tripped circuit breaker. Today… Read more

Jay Kats is owner of Revolt Electric, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 412-9754 or by email.

Jay Kats

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Jay Kats: All Revved Up

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SUNNYVALE — For Jay Kats, a love of cars ultimately led to a career as an electrician. “I’ve been working on cars since before I was old enough to drive,” he affirms. “In the course of learning mechanical work, I also learned how to work with the electrical aspects of automotive. However, when it came time to get a job, I didn’t want to be a mechanic, mainly because I didn’t like being stuck in one place, even if it was a garage. Since I was well-versed in automotive electrical, I decided I would learn to do electrical work on a wider scale and become a professional electrician.”

Today, as owner of Revolt Electric, Jay says his favorite part of his job is the problem-solving aspect. “I like the challenge of finding solutions for unique or difficult situations. Whether I’m creating a particular lighting design or troubleshooting a mysterious issue, I enjoy coming up with effective, budget-friendly solutions for my customers.”

A resident of San Jose (where he lives with wife, Danielle, and their son, Jaydan), Jay spends his free time on a number of pastimes, including his longtime hobby of automotive work. “I still enjoy working on cars,” he says. “These days, my main thing is resto-mods—basically, modifying older cars with newer parts. For example, I put a fuel-injected motor, air bag suspensions and other modern technology in my 1972 Pontiac LeMans. It’s a lot of fun to blend the old with the new.” When he’s not working in his garage, Jay enjoys relaxing and spending time with his family. “We take a lot of mini-vacations to places like Santa Cruz—anywhere nearby where there’s water, basically.”

In his life and career, Jay espouses the importance of honesty. “My philosophy is basically to treat people how I’d like to be treated,” he explains. “A big part of that is being honest and giving customers only what they actually need. This approach has helped my company build a lot of customer trust and loyalty over the years.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jay says he’d take a long vacation. “I don’t travel much because of the business, which is why my vacations tend to be short and semi-local. So, if I were to retire, I’d definitely do some traveling. Maybe I’d go to Bora Bora—I’ve always wanted to stay in one of those huts over the water.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first job?
A: When I was 14, I worked as an attendant at the Elks Lodge.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Golden State Warriors.

Q: What’s one website you visit on a daily basis?
A: Ecmag.com, which is the website for Electrical Contractor Magazine. It’s a great resource that helps me stay up-to-date with the industry.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Brownies.

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How to Identify Unsafe Circuit Breakers

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SUNNYVALE — Like most inconspicuous household components, residential electrical panels are often overlooked, which is why many Bay Area homes still have their original circuit breakers. The problem is that some old circuit breakers pose significant safety hazards. Two examples of this… Read more

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Video: Identifying Unsafe Circuit Breakers

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SUNNYVALE — Host, Sarah Rutan: Even if your home is well-maintained, a faulty circuit breaker could put it all at risk. Today we’re in Sunnyvale with Diamond Certified… Read more

Barbara Ragsdale is a 40-year veteran of the electrical industry and president of Knights’ Electric, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. She can be reached at (707) 726-2909 or by email.

Barbara Ragsdale

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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!”

Ask Me Anything!

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.

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The Benefits of LED Lighting

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WINDSOR — If you’re still using incandescent bulbs to light your home, it’s a good time to consider the benefits of LED lighting, as it represents a more cost-effective and energy-efficient option. While they’re more expensive outright, LEDs offer far… Read more

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Video: Advantages of LED Lighting

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WINDSOR — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning on updating the lighting in your home, you'll want to consider the advantages of LED lighting. Today, we’re… Read more

Sergey Ivanov is a veteran of the electrical industry and owner of Bit Electrical Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 530-0979 or by email.

Sergey Ivanov

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Sergey Ivanov: A Surge of Ambition

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DALY CITY — Bolstered by a firm sense of ambition, Sergey Ivanov left his home country of Russia to pursue a better life in the United States. “I came to the U.S. with my wife and daughter in 2000,” he affirms. “I had already been working as an electrician in Russia for about seven years and was ready to take my skills to a place that provided more opportunity. Coming to a new place was challenging, especially becoming acquainted with the language, but I was determined to succeed. In 2006, I got my license and started my business, and it has been going very well.”

Today, as owner of Bit Electrical Inc., Sergey says his favorite part of his job is restoring and revamping his clients’ power. “I enjoy solving my customers’ problems and improving the safety and functionality of their electrical systems. At the end of the day, that’s what gives me the most satisfaction.”

A resident of Daly City (where he lives with his wife, Lilia, and their son, Max), Sergey expresses his appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “We live in the most beautiful place in the world,” he says. “Everything is great, from the weather to the food and entertainment. We love it here.”

Outside of work, Sergey likes spending time with family and friends. “My son is involved in martial arts, so I go with him to practice and encourage his progress,” he says. “I also enjoy taking walks with my family, going fishing with friends and traveling. Besides going on vacation to places like Hawaii and Mexico, we take regular trips to San Diego to visit my daughter, Kristina, who is currently attending college.”

Nineteen years after coming to the U.S., Sergey has no regrets about his big decision. “Since coming here from Russia, our lives are much better,” he says. “We own a house, I have a business and my daughter is going to college. It just goes to show the kind of opportunity that’s here. You can do anything you want to do, and that makes me very thankful and proud to be here.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Sergey says he’d reconnect with some old friends. “I would take a trip to Russia and visit some friends I haven’t seen in several years. It’s hard to come to a new country and leave everyone you know behind, and early retirement would provide a good chance to reestablish those old connections.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird—I usually wake up at 5am.

Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?
A: Books about history.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Water Grill in San Diego.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Christmas.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Relax and watch TV or read, or maybe play Legos with my son.

Read more

GFI Protection in Ungrounded Homes

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DALY CITY — Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFIs) are commonly used in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas where the presence of water brings an increased risk of electric shock. However, not everyone knows that GFIs are also a good protective… Read more

Avoiding Dangerous Conditions with Electrical Fuses

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DALY CITY — Long before circuit breakers were developed, homes used to get their electricity from fuses. This is still the case for some homes that have their original fuse boxes. However, even if they’re functional, using fuses to power… Read more

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Video: Avoiding Electrical Fuse Burnout

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DALY CITY — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you find yourself using bigger and bigger fuses to fulfill your home’s power needs, it’s time to update… Read more

Chris Bennett is a 14-year veteran of the electrical industry and owner of Bennett Electric, Inc. a Diamond Certified company since 2005. He can be reached at (925) 229-3318 or by email.

Chris Bennett

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Chris Bennett: All Wired Up

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CROCKETT — In light of his family’s professional heritage, Chris Bennett seemed destined for a career in the plumbing industry. However, he gradually realized he preferred connecting wires to soldering pipes. “My dad and my grandpa were both plumbers,” he explains. “One summer, when I was about six years old, I went out on a job with them where they were replacing a septic tank. It was 100 degrees out and you couldn’t get away from the smell. At that point, I pretty much knew I didn’t want to be a plumber.” As he grew older, Chris found himself gravitating more and more toward the electrical field. “Besides being cleaner work than plumbing, I liked that electricians got to see the results of their work after the fact. Rather than having it hidden behind a wall, they got to see it light up the space.”

After completing a five-year apprenticeship program at Construction Craft Training Center, Chris got a job doing solar installations for swimming pools before being hired at Mulder Electric, a local electrical service company. Thirteen years later, when owner Matt Mulder retired, Chris took over the business and changed its name to Bennett Electric, Inc.

A resident of Crockett (where he lives with his wife, Kristen, and their daughter, Dahlia), Chris expresses his appreciation for the mellow atmosphere of his sparsely populated locale. “I like the fact that Crockett is kind of a sleepy little town situated amidst the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area,” he says. “It’s close to everything that’s going on but far enough away that you don’t have to deal with all the craziness. Plus, since I hate traffic, I love that there’s only one stoplight in the middle of town!”

Outside of work, Chris devotes the bulk of his time to his alternate career as a full-time family man. “My daughter is about to turn 2, so she keeps me and her mom pretty busy,” he says. “She’s really into animals right now, so we spend a lot of time at the Oakland Zoo, as well as checking out the cows and horses at local farms.” On rare occasions when he’s not occupied with work or family, Chris can usually be found in his garage working on a vintage car. “I have a passion for old Japanese cars, and I always have a few restoration projects going. I love working on my stuff and then beating the heck out of it when it’s done!”

In regard to his professional career, Chris espouses the importance of fulfilling obligations. “As a business owner, I feel obliged to serve my customers and get things done for them in a reasonable time and manner,” he explains. “Having a sense of professional obligation is important to me. Some people might feel like it’s a burden, but for me, it’s a source of motivation.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chris says he’d head out to the garage. “I’d get back to working on my cars. I have five old Datsuns sitting around on my property, so if I suddenly had some extra time, I’d really go hard on finishing those restorations.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Oakland A’s.

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1966 Volkswagen Beetle.

Q: What’s your dream car?
A: A 1971 Nissan Skyline.

Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: Diving off the McLeod River Bridge at Lake Shasta.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: Legos.

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