Daniel Gagne: Plumbing Pride
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
NOVATO — When Daniel Gagne began his plumbing career, he had no idea of the level of success he’d one day attain. “My dad was a plumber, so I was introduced to the trade at a very young age,” he recounts. “After high school, I worked for the family business for a while, and after doing some traveling in my 20s, I ended up in Marin County, where I got a job with a local plumbing company. In 1996, my brother and I co-founded our own plumbing business, which focused on new construction and remodeling work in Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties.”
Three years into their joint venture, Daniel and his brother decided to reorient their focus toward service and repair; little did they know it would completely change the face of their business. “We joined a plumbing organization that specialized in training owners how to run profitable service and repair businesses,” he explains. “Through this organization, we were introduced to Benjamin Franklin Plumbing—a brand concept one could license that included a ready-made logo and everything. I liked the concept and decided to sign up. Once we began advertising as Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, things really took off. Our business exploded, and within three years, our staff had quadrupled in size. Ten years later, we have almost 100 employees and three different locations in the Bay Area.”
Today, Daniel looks back with pride upon his accomplishments of the past decade. “I never really intended to build such a big business—I was more interested in being able to write my own story. Still, I feel proud of the things we’ve accomplished as a company. We kind of pioneered, at least in the Sonoma-Marin area, the way plumbers are perceived by creating a cleaner, more professional presentation. I’m also proud of the fact that we provide our employees with good wages and full benefits so they can live comfortably and take care of their families.”
A resident of Fairfax (where he lives with his wife, Ann), Daniel spends his time outside of work engaged in a variety of active pastimes. “Ann and I love getting out into nature and going hiking at local national parks. We also love to travel—we take about three major trips each year. We were recently in Bali, where Ann hosted a retreat that she put together, and afterward we visited her daughter in New Zealand. We both have family outside of the country, so we have plenty of reasons to travel.”
In regard to a professional philosophy, Daniel believes that having happy employees translates to having happy customers. “We’ve discovered the best way to ensure our customers stay satisfied is to put our employees first,” he explains. “When your employees are happy, they’re more invested in doing good work and treating customers right, and when that happens, everyone wins.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Daniel says he’d embark on a Greener lifestyle. “I would probably buy a property somewhere with lots of nature around it, build a self-sustainable home and plant an organic garden. I think it would be a very peaceful and rewarding lifestyle—to live in harmony with the Earth.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite style of music?
A: World music, especially Latin-based.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: I like to eat healthy, so I prefer things like wild berries and raw veggies.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’d like to spend some time in Southeast Asia and visit Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. I’m attracted to the culture and history there, including all the old temples and artifacts.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Do some cooking and watch a good movie.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Both. I usually wake up early during the week, but I like staying up late on the weekends.