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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Paving Stones CATEGORY

Jorge Neukirchen is vice president of Viking Pavers, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 296-0817 or by email.

Jorge Neukirchen

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Jorge Neukirchen: Interlocking Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

RICHMOND — Some people find professional success independently, but for Jorge Neukirchen, it resulted when he and his best friend interlocked their respective skills. “Prior to getting into the paver business, I was a mortgage broker,” he recounts. “My best friend, Mauro, had been in the interlocking paver industry for about five years, and he asked if I wanted to partner with him to start a business. With his hands-on knowledge of pavers and my business expertise, I knew it would be a winning combination, so I came aboard and never looked back.”

Today, as vice president of Viking Pavers, Jorge says his favorite part of his job is making his customers happy. “Unlike the mortgage industry, where clients were often disappointed with the outcomes they received, I have yet to see one face that isn’t smiling at the end of a paver project. When you know you’re building something the customer is going to enjoy for years, it’s an exciting and fulfilling thing to be a part of.”

Originally from Brazil, Jorge resides today in Contra Costa, where he appreciates the many positive traits of Bay Area life. “I don’t think there’s any place in the world that’s as beautiful as the Bay Area—any direction you look, you’re bound to get a scenic view. I also enjoy the diversity of population, which I feel is quite unique.”

Outside of work, Jorge spends his free time on a variety of active pastimes. “I’m a very family-oriented guy, so I enjoy spending time with my wife, Cinara, and our daughters,” he shares. “We like to go out on the weekends and spend time at the beach or in the city. I’m also a big fan of the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors, and I like fishing as well.”

In regard to his professional career, Jorge espouses the importance of treating others fairly. “I believe in treating people the way I’d like to be treated,” he affirms. “With every project we take on, our goal is to add something positive to the customer’s life. If we do the best job we can and treat the customer fairly, I think only good can come out of that.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first job?
A: Helping out in my dad’s bakery back in Brazil.

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in San Francisco.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Rome, Italy.

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

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Why Interlocking Pavers are a Smart Choice in the Bay Area

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RICHMOND — Here in the Bay Area, we have a lot of soil movement. One reason for this is the high amounts of clay found in much of the native soil. Since clay is prone to absorb and retain water, this causes… Read more

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Video: Benefits of Interlocking Pavers

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RICHMOND — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to installing a new driveway, walkway or patio, interlocking pavers offer several advantages over poured concrete. Today we’re in… Read more

Hayley Johnson is a veteran of the paving stones industry and owner of The Legacy Paver Group, a Diamond Certified company since 2013. She can be reached at (415) 886-2903 or by email.

Hayley Johnson

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Hayley Johnson: Paving a New Pathway

By James Florence, Senior Writer

SANTA ROSA — Hayley Johnson used to do PR and marketing for a high-tech firm, but after she became a mother, she realized it was time to pave a new professional pathway. “In 2001, I had my first daughter and took some time off of work,” she recounts. “While I was off, I decided to help my dad with his paver business and found that I liked it a lot, from the hands-on creativity to the direct client involvement…not to mention getting to work outside. My marketing career involved long hours and travel, so I knew if I went back, I would have to put my daughter in daycare. Ultimately, I decided to join my father in the paver business. When he retired in 2003, I bought him out and took it over.”
Today, as owner of The Legacy Paver Group, Hayley says her favorite part of her job is the endless creative possibilities. “Every project we do is a blank canvas—we’re not stuck to a single design, so there’s plenty of room for creativity, which makes it a lot of fun. I enjoy working with clients throughout their projects, translating their visions into custom designs and fine-tuning them as we go along.”
A resident of Santa Rosa (where she lives with her husband and business partner, Sean, and their two daughters), Hayley expresses her appreciation for life in the North Bay. “Compared to other regions of the Bay Area, Marin and Sonoma have more scenic, rural beauty, with lots of farmland and vineyards. I’m originally from the United Kingdom, and some parts of this area remind me of being in Wales—except with much better weather!”
Outside of work, Hayley spends her time on a variety of interests and pastimes. “I enjoy photography, reading, playing soccer and working out—basically, anything active or creative,” she says. “I also like hanging out by the pool with my family and hosting barbeques at our house.” Additionally, Hayley and her family like to travel as much as possible. “Besides visiting family in England, we like to see and experience new places. We’ve been to Africa, Cuba and all over Europe, so I would definitely say travel is our favorite activity.”
In her life and career, Hayley espouses the importance of having goals. “I’m a very goal-oriented person,” she explains. “Whether with my business or in my personal life, I find that having a goal to work toward helps me stay motivated, focused and engaged. Having goals also gives you a basis for structure and organization, which leads to more positive outcomes, so I think it’s a big key to success in work and life.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Hayley says she’d take her family on a trip. “Honestly, I don’t think about retirement—I enjoy running my business and could see myself doing it into my 70s and beyond. However, if I did retire, I would definitely do more traveling. Maybe I’d jump on a river cruise down the Danube. That would be a good way to kick things off.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?
A: I like everything from biographies and historical novels to chick lit. Basically, if something captures my interest, I’ll read it to death.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: South America. Brazil would be my first stop. I work with a lot of Brazilians and they’re a lot of fun. Plus, it’s a huge country, so I could spend a lot of time there.

Q: Do you consider yourself a dog person or a cat person?
A: I have both, so I don’t really have a preference, but overall I’m probably more of a cat person…just don’t tell my dog.

Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actress would you choose to play yourself?
A: No one—I’d have it be a documentary.

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

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Technical Aspects of a Paver Installation

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SANTA ROSA — When installing a concrete paver driveway or patio, it’s easy to get preoccupied with the aesthetic design, but it’s also important to consider the technical aspects. After all, while thinking about soil compaction may not be as… Read more

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Video: Technical Aspects of a Paver Installation

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SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning for a paver installation, it’s important to look beyond aesthetics and consider the technical aspects. Today we’re in Santa… Read more

Itamar M. Junior is co-owner of Atlas Pavers Co., a Diamond Certified company since 2016. He can be reached at (650) 469-3960 or by email.

Itamar M. Junior

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Itamar M. Junior: Paving a Livelihood

By James Florence, Senior Writer

After coming to the United States from his home country of Brazil, Itamar M. Junior immediately set to work paving a professional livelihood for himself. “I started out as a laborer for a large paving company, and from there I developed a passion for paver design and installation,” he recounts. “During the next several years, I did many projects and gained valuable experience in the trade. I also learned a lot about customer service. Eventually, I decided to take the knowledge and experience I’d accumulated and start an independent paver business, which I did with my partner, Candido Silva, in 2012.”

Today, as co-owner of Atlas Pavers Co., Itamar says his favorite part of his job is working with customers. “I like interacting with our clients and delivering exactly what they’re looking for. With each project, I take time to get to know the customer’s needs and expectations, which helps me ensure those expectations are met in the end.”

A resident of El Cerrito, Itamar spends most of his time outside of work with his family, consisting of his wife, Jenny, a 16-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. “I like hanging out with family, whether we’re going to the movies or swimming and barbequing at home,” he details. “We also get involved in charity events with the Masons of California, of which I’m a member.” In addition to family time, Itamar enjoys practicing martial arts (“I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu my whole life.”) and reading motivational books.

In regard to a professional philosophy, Itamar espouses the importance of achieving a balance between work and life. “As a business owner, I have to devote most of my day to my work, but I also realize the importance of family time,” he explains. “Even after I get home in the afternoon, I often still have work to do—phone calls, scheduling and organizing for the following day. However, I’ve made it a rule that at 8pm, I have to stop what I’m doing and focus on my family. I find that setting aside that time helps me maintain a healthy balance in my life.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Itamar says he’d do some globetrotting. “I would take my family and go explore the world. My first trip would probably be to Italy. I’ve always wanted to see Venice and ride on the gondoliers. And, of course, the wine is always good.”

Ask Me Anything!

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

Q: Is there a book that has been particularly influential for you?
A: “Chicken Soup for the Soul” by Jack Canfield.

Q: What’s your favorite kind of food?
A: Brazilian.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving. It’s a good time to give thanks for everything we have and share some of that with those who are less fortunate.

Q: Pancakes or waffles?
A: Waffles.

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Geotextile Fabric in Paver Installation

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A crucial component for installing a paver driveway is geotextile fabric, a permeable material typically made from polypropylene or polyester. Following the demolition phase, this fabric is laid over the soil and the pavers are placed on top of it.… Read more

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Video: The Role of Geotextile Fabric

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CONCORD — Host, Sarah Rutan: When installing pavers, the application of geotextile fabric will help ensure a firm foundation. To learn more, we’re in Mill Valley with Diamond… Read more

Andrew Headington is sales manager of System Pavers, a Diamond Certified company since 2004. He can be reached at (877) 303-8236 or by email.

Andrew Headington

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Andrew Headington: A Twofold Fulfillment

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

UNION CITY — As a lover of the arts and the outdoors, Andrew Headington feels fortunate to have found a job that fulfills his dual passions. “I’ve always had a passion for the arts, but at the same time, I’ve always been a very outdoorsy person, so when I heard about landscape architecture in college, it seemed like a good fit for me,” he explains. “I ended up getting my B.S. in landscape architecture from the University of Connecticut, and I’ve been in the field ever since.”

Today, as sales manager for System Pavers, Andrew says his favorite part of his job is the daily challenges it entails. “I love meeting new people and helping them solve their landscape and hardscape problems. Every day is a new challenge, which keeps things exciting.”

A resident of Marin (where he lives with his wife, Laurie), Andrew expresses his appreciation for the Bay Area’s temperate climate and lush landscape. “I have no complaints about the weather in Marin. It’s absolutely gorgeous up here. The best part is you can take part in outdoor activities basically year-round.”

Outside of work, Andrew can often be found pursuing one of his three main hobbies. “First off, I brew my own beer, which I’ve been doing for about 15 years,” he explains. “Secondly, I play guitar in a local band called Polkalicious that gigs around San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area. Basically, we take hits from the ’80s, ’90s, and today and turn them into polka songs. Thirdly, I’m an avid kiteboarder. Kiteboarding is like surfing, but you have a giant kite attached to your surfboard and use the wind to navigate your way around.” In addition to these pastimes, Andrew enjoys working on his house, hiking and snowboarding.

In regard to his professional career, Andrew espouses the importance of honesty. “It may sound a bit generic, but the phrase, ‘Honesty is the best policy’ is absolutely true, especially from a sales standpoint,” he says. “That’s why I always make it a point to be honest with customers, and I do my best to subvert the ‘used car salesman’ stereotype. I also try to be a good leader and have a positive impact on my coworkers.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Andrew says he would see the world. “I would definitely travel. In particular, I’d like to visit Southeast Asia. There’s some incredible development happening over there, with some really interesting designs and just a totally different way of life, so it’d be neat to experience that.”

Ask Me Anything!

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

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sol Food in San Rafael.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I’d go to the past to uncover some of the mysteries of ancient times. For example, I would love to go back and see how the Egyptians built the pyramids.

Q: What’s your favorite Bay Area brewery?
A: Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa.

Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The banjo that’s hanging on my wall. Maybe I’d start a bluegrass band in addition to my polka band.

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Benefits of a Dedicated Pedestrian Walkway

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UNION CITY — One aspect of home design that often gets overlooked is pedestrian access to the front door from the sidewalk or driveway. In these cases, getting to the front door can be an awkward ordeal, whether you have to… Read more

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Video: Benefits of a Dedicated Walkway

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UNION CITY — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to investing in home upgrades, one exterior improvement can increase both functionality and curb appeal. Today we’re in… Read more

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