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Gary Lekan is a 42-year veteran of the locksmith industry and owner of First Lock & Security Technologies, a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (650) 204-4376 or by email.

Gary Lekan

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Gary Lekan: Locked In

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LOS ALTOS – While many people enter a professional field with full intention, for some, the catalyst of a lifelong career emerges from a completely chance occurrence. When asked how he became a locksmith, Gary Lekan relates just such an account. “I broke the key off in my car’s ignition, so I took it to a local locksmith shop where a friend of mine was working. There was a long line of customers, so he handed me a couple little extraction tools and gave me a quick rundown on what to do. Within a couple of minutes, I got the key out and handed the tools back to my friend. He was impressed by my promptness and said, ‘You might be good at this!’ That was the beginning of what has been an interesting career to say the least!” Today, nearly 40 years later, Gary continues to impress as owner of First Lock & Security Technologies.

Originally from Chicago, Gary moved to the Bay Area when, just a year into his locksmith career, his employer made the impulsive decision to move the business west. “I had just been out to visit my brother-in-law, who was attending Stanford, and I really fell in love with the Bay Area,” he remembers. “When I returned to Chicago, my boss came up with an idea to move the business out to California. Within four months, I was back on the West Coast.” Almost four decades later, Gary still appreciates the attributes that first attracted him to the Bay Area. “The hills, the ocean, the year-round greenery—there’s just so much beauty around here and I absolutely love it.”

In his life and career, Gary espouses the value of integrity as the key to happiness. “Rather than taking the easy way out of hard situations, you have to take the time to patiently work through your problems,” he says. “Life has its ups and downs, but if you live with integrity, you’re likely to come out on top in the end.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Gary says he would employ his expertise to help educate others in his trade. “I would like to start a locksmith school. There’s a lot of demand for qualified locksmiths these days, and I enjoy passing on my knowledge.” However, he says retirement wouldn’t be all work and no play. “I’d definitely try to do more of the things I love. I’d go on more ski trips, play more golf and spend more time working in my garden.”
Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: The Band.

Q: If you could immediately master a musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The saxophone.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Napoletana Pizzeria in Mountain View.

Q: Do you do any celebrity impressions?
A: I used to do Louis Armstrong when I was a kid.

Q: What’s your favorite dessert?
A: Cherries jubilee.

Q: What’s the most memorable situation you’ve encountered on the job?
A: I was changing the locks at this guy’s house, when all of a sudden he brings out an armful of two-by-fours and says, “OK, I need you to help me barricade these doors. My wife is coming with the police and they’ll be here any minute.” I said, “I don’t think so, you’re on your own!” and got out of there as fast as I could!

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Testing for Proper Door Functionality


LOS ALTOS — If a door in your home is difficult to close, lock or unlock, it could be more than a mere inconvenience. In fact, a doorknob latch or deadbolt that isn’t functioning properly can actually make your home more… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Testing a Deadbolt Lock

Complete Video Transcription:

LOS ALTOS —  Host, Sarah Rutan: If you're using a deadbolt lock on your home, you'll want to ensure it is properly installed. Today, we're… Read more

Randy Reed is a lifetime veteran of the locksmith trade and owner of Reed Brothers Security, a Diamond Certified company since 2013. He can be reached at (510) 456-0989 or by email.

Randy Reed

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Randy Reed: Born to Locksmith

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

OAKLAND — For Randy Reed, an early education in the locksmith trade set the stage for long-term professional success. “When I was growing up, my dad was a landlord and processed repossessions for six different banks in the Oakland area,” he explains. “He would take over the properties, manage them and turn them around so they could be resold. He taught my brother, Ron, and I to do lock work for him at a very young age. By the time I was seven, I was pretty much running his lock shop out of our basement.”

Later, while attending UC Berkeley, Randy worked nights as a locksmith to pay his tuition, and after he graduated, he partnered with his brother to open their own lock shop. “When Ron and I opened our shop back in 1981, it was just the two of us,” he says. “By 1990, we had more than 50 employees, and today we’re probably the largest locksmith and alarm shop of our kind in the state.”

Today, as owner of Reed Brothers Security, Randy says his favorite part of his job is exceeding his customers’ expectations. “Since we’re one of the largest locksmith shops in Northern California, we carry a wide selection of products, so I really enjoy matching customers with the right products and giving them a real ‘wow’ customer service experience.”

A resident of Alameda (where he lives with his wife, Laurel), Randy says he enjoys the dynamic character of the Bay Area. “It’s a fun place to live—there’s plenty to do, the weather is great and the food is even better. It’s nice living in a place where you don’t really have weather but you’re close to visiting it when you want to.”

Outside of work, Randy engages in a variety of pastimes and hobbies. “I love watching movies, backpacking, cooking, skiing and weight lifting,” he says. “I’m also an avid gardener—I grow vegetables, succulents and cactus—and I enjoy going to visit my kids at their colleges.”

In his life and career, Randy espouses the importance of addressing needs on a variety of levels. “My goal is to take care of everybody and keep them happy,” he says. “If my employees are happy, they stick around; if my customers are happy, they come back. The trick is finding ways to meet everybody’s needs.”

Ask Me Anything!

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

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Both. I’m a bit of a politics junkie, so I enjoy following the news and hearing arguments from different perspectives.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Otaez Mexican Restaurant in Alameda.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Scotland and Wales.

Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My 10-speed bike.

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Door Hardening 101


OAKLAND — One of the most common ways burglars break into homes is by kicking in an exterior door. The reason they’re able to do this so often is simple: the hardware on most doors doesn’t provide any real protection. By taking… Read more

Considerations for Choosing a Safe


OAKLAND — Your home may be equipped with a good security system, but if you own a lot of valuables, you should consider buying a safe. However, not all safes are alike, so it’s important to look for quality when making your… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Door Hardening 101

Complete Video Transcription:

OAKLAND — Host, Sarah Rutan: As your home’s first line of security, you’ll want to make sure your exterior doors are properly reinforced against break-ins. Today we’re in… Read more