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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Windows CATEGORY

Eric Warm is a 22-year veteran of the window industry and president of Quality Windows & Doors, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (925) 679-5959 or by email.

Eric Warm

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Eric Warm: A Heightened Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PLEASANTON — After several years in the carpet and upholstery cleaning industry, Eric Warm had reached a professional plateau. Fortunately, thanks to an uncommon drive to succeed (along with a helpful referral), he was able to advance his career to new heights. “I used to be an assistant plant manager at COIT, which was about as far as I could go up the ladder,” he recalls. “I got involved in the window industry when the plant manager at COIT referred me to a management job with a vinyl window manufacturer. From there, I got into window sales and consulting, and in 1989, I opened my own business.”

Today, as president of Quality Windows & Doors, Inc., Eric says his favorite part of his job is helping customers find the right products. “A big part of our job is learning our customers’ particular needs and matching them with products that meet those needs. After going through the process from selection to installation, it’s very satisfying to see the customer happy with the final result.”

Originally from Southern California, Eric moved to the Bay Area when he was 13 years old and today resides in Pleasanton with his wife, Marianne. Outside of work, he stays physically active by engaging in his favorite pastime: tennis. “I’ve been playing tennis since I was a kid,” he says. “I played in college, and I still play several times a week with friends and family.” Speaking of family, Eric also enjoys spending time with his and Marianne’s children, Nicole and Billy, and their grandson, Isaac.

In regard to his professional career, Eric espouses the importance of providing helpful expertise. “Since we have a showroom, we get a lot of customers who come in with questions,” he explains. “This makes it extra important for us to be on our game in terms of product knowledge, since they’re depending on us to help them make informed decisions. That’s why we strive to provide good communication and customer service in addition to quality products and workmanship.”

When asked what his future retirement might look like, Eric says he’ll continue to pursue the same activities he currently enjoys. “I’ll continue to play tennis, spend time with my kids and just enjoy life. Maybe I’ll compete on the senior men’s tennis tour!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Who’s your favorite tennis player?
A: Roger Federer.

Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: Batman.

Q: Pancakes or waffles?
A: Waffles.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music.

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Considering Home Value When Choosing Window Frames

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PLEASANTON — When it comes to choosing window frames, most people want to find the most cost-effective options available. However, another important factor to consider is how your choice may affect your home’s resale value. Depending on the home, even a quality… Read more

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Video: Window Frames and Home Resale Value

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PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: When choosing new window and door frames, an important yet often neglected consideration is how your choice can affect your home’s resale value.… Read more

Jeff Alexander is second-generation owner of Alexander Company, a Diamond Certified company since 2012. He can be reached at (650) 525-4171 or by email.

Jeff Alexander

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jeff Alexander: A Clear Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BURLINGAME — Long before he was second-generation owner, Jeff Alexander could see the clear opportunity his family’s window contracting business represented. “My dad started Alexander Company in 1971, and my brother, John, and I started getting involved as teenagers,” he recounts. “At first, we were helping in the field, but we gradually moved into sales and management. As the company continued to grow, we both saw a lot of opportunity for the future and decided to stick with it. Today, we’re second-generation owners, and since we both have kids who work for the business, we’re looking at possibly a third generation.”

After four decades in the business, Jeff says he still enjoys the simple satisfaction that comes from seeing the results of his work. “I like the transformation that occurs as we take a project from start to finish. It’s very satisfying to see how our work improves a home’s appearance and enhances the homeowner’s view.”

A resident of the San Francisco Peninsula, Jeff expresses his appreciation for work and life in the Bay Area. “I can’t think of a better place to live and work. Besides the nice weather, there’s a lot of opportunity here, which has helped us build a good customer base over the years.”

Outside of work, Jeff spends his time on a variety of active pastimes. “I enjoy playing golf and going to professional sporting events. Besides being a Giants and 49ers fan, I’ve jumped on the Golden State Warriors bandwagon in the last couple of years, as a lot of other people have.” Jeff also likes getting out and about with his wife, Rosie, and exploring San Francisco, the Wine Country and other parts of the Bay Area.

In regard to a professional philosophy, Jeff emphasizes the importance of integrity. “Our aim is to supply our customers with honest, professional service and run our business with integrity,” he affirms. “Basically, we try to treat our customers the same way we’d want to be treated.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jeff says he’d head to a tropical locale. “I would probably take a trip to Hawaii and just take a couple of weeks to rest and regenerate. After all, what better way to decompress than by relaxing on a beach?”

Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Waterfront Restaurant in San Francisco.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Summer—I enjoy the warm weather and long days.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: It depends on what I’m doing. When I’m running around during the day, I usually listen to sports talk radio, but when I’m home on the weekends, I like listening to music.

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

Q: What do you like on your pizza?
A: Salami and mushrooms.

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Choosing the Right Window Contractor

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BURLINGAME — When planning for a window replacement project, it’s crucial to hire the right contractor. Here are some attributes to look for in a window contractor: Longevity If a window contractor has been in business for many years, it indicates… Read more

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Video: The Key to a Successful Window Project

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BURLINGAME — Host, Sarah Rutan: When replacing your home’s windows, your most important decision will be which company you choose to work with. Today we’re in… Read more

Kevin Gundry is a 28-year veteran of the home improvement industry and CFO of Custom Exteriors, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 312-3507 or by email.

Kevin Gundry

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Kevin Gundry: Customizing Success

By James Florence, Senior Writer

PLEASANTON — After nearly a decade in the home improvement industry, Kevin Gundry took a seminal step to customize his professional destiny. “I got into selling home improvements back in 1989,” he recounts. “After working for a couple of different companies, I partnered with my friend, Jeff Kendall, to found Custom Exteriors in 1997. At first, we were basically going door to door, throwing flyers onto driveways and cold-calling past contacts. We grew substantially during the following decade, nearly doubling our business each year. When the 2008 crash hit, we had to weather some hard times, but we hung in there and have since been on the rise.”
Today, as CFO of Custom Exteriors, Inc., Kevin says his favorite part of his job is transforming people’s homes with exterior upgrades. “It’s amazing how something as simple as replacing windows can make a home look so much better. It’s really neat to see the impact of our work and get positive feedback from customers who have seen an improvement in their homes’ look and performance.”
A resident of Danville (where he lives with wife, Bianca, and their children), Kevin expresses his appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “I think the Bay Area is one of the best places in the world. With five kids, my wife and I don’t get to travel much, so it’s nice that we at least get to live in such a beautiful and diverse place.”
When he’s not working, Kevin likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors. “I’m a big backpacker—I probably backpack 100 miles every summer,” he details. “My goal is to backpack along the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Oregon, and every year I do another chunk of it.” Besides backpacking, Kevin enjoys fishing, camping and spending time with his family.
In regard to his career, Kevin espouses the importance of quality over quantity. “While we’re happy to see our company growing again, we don’t want to grow just for growth’s sake,” he explains. “After all, you can be a huge company, but if you aren’t making your customers happy, what good is it? That’s why we pay close attention to efficient management and customer satisfaction, with the goal of continually improving the way we run our business. By staying focused on what matters most, we hope to continue growing in both size and excellence.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Kevin says he’d do some long-deferred traveling. “I’d visit some countries I’ve never been to, which at this point is most of them,” he laughs. “The truth is, I’ve only been to Canada and Mexico, so there’s a whole lot more world for me to see. Of course, I would also spend more quality time with my family.”

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 Oakland Raiders.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “The Walking Dead.”

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio—mostly sports.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Chocolate ice cream.

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Double-Pane Window Innovations

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PLEASANTON — Double-pane windows have come a long way over the last decade, with today’s products incorporating several performance-enhancing innovations. One such innovation is the development of Low-E 366 glass, which contains layers of silver oxide that reflect radiant heat… Read more

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Video: Upgrading Double Pane Windows

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PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: Even if your home has double pane windows, if they’re more than 10 years old, you aren’t getting the benefits that modern… Read more

Eric Holder is a lifetime veteran of the window industry and owner of Able Glass Company, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (408) 256-3998 or by email.

Eric Holder

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Eric Holder: A Clear Perspective

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SANTA CLARA — With a family background in the glass and window business, Eric Holder always had a clear view of where his career path would ultimately lead him. “My father worked for this company back in the 1950s and eventually bought out the original owners, so I’ve been around it all my life,” he affirms. “After high school, I went to college and majored in business. By the time I graduated, my dad was at a point where he was ready to retire, so at the age of 21, I took over ownership of the company.”

Today, as owner of Able Glass Company, Eric says his favorite part of his job is taking care of customers. “I get the most enjoyment from achieving customer satisfaction. When a customer calls and is hysterical about a broken or leaking window, it’s very gratifying when we’re able to go out there, take care of the issue and leave them happy.”

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Eric resides today in San Jose with his wife, Shandi, and their three sons, Austin, Dylan and Evan. In addition to the Bay Area’s temperate weather, Eric says he appreciates the diversity of the landscape. “There’s an incredible variety of things to do here, especially since we’re so close to everything. Whether you want to go to the beach, the mountains or the city, you’re just a short drive away.”

Outside of work, Eric takes every opportunity to get outdoors and spend time with his family. “We love going to the beach, and we enjoy going fishing when we can,” he says. “Also, the boys are active in sports, so most weekends we’re attending their baseball or soccer games.” In addition to his sons’ sporting events, Eric likes keeping up with local professional sports teams. “I support all of our local teams, but I attend San Jose Sharks games the most, since they’re right here in town.”

In regard to his professional career, Eric believes in the importance of providing every customer with quality, attentive service. “It’s always been a pet peeve of mine to walk into a business and not be greeted or receive service, so I’m always thinking about my own business from that perspective,” he says. “I try to treat every customer with respect, get them the best value for their money and, most importantly, give them the end result they’re looking for. I just want them to be completely satisfied with everything.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Eric says he’d take an extended vacation. “I would take my family on a trip and just get away for a while. Running a business keeps me very busy, so it’d be nice to go to Hawaii and just spend a week or two relaxing on the beach.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Holder’s Country Inn in San Jose. My cousin owns it, so I’m there quite a lot.

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

Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: It’s a tie between “Scarface” and “The Godfather.”

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

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Bacon and poached eggs.

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Deciding Between New and Retrofit Windows

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SANTA CLARA — When replacing a window in your home, you have two basic options: installing a new construction window or doing a retrofit application. With a new construction installation, the existing window is removed (frame and all) and replaced with a… Read more

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Video: Comparing Window Frame Systems

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SANTA CLARA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to replace your home’s window frames, it’s helpful to know the full extent of your options. Today we’re in… Read more

John Gorman is a 30-year veteran of the window industry and owner of Save Energy Company, a Diamond Certified Company since 2002. He can be reached at (707) 702-1918 or at [email protected]

John Gorman

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

John Gorman: One Man’s Journey

By MATTHEW SOLIS, Senior Editor Diamond Certified Resource

John Gorman has been enjoying a successful career in the window and door industry for the past 30 years, but the path he followed to get to his current destination wasn’t always clear. In fact, a career in windows wasn’t even on John’s radar until he received an intriguing proposition from a trusted relative. “I was living in New York studying literature and got a call from my older brother,” he remembers. “He was working for a window company in Northern California and wanted to start his own firm, and he asked if I would join him. I said, ‘Sure, I’ll check out California for a little bit.’ Thirty years later, Save Energy Company is still going strong. My brother left in 1999 to do financial planning, but his wife, Pat, is still my business partner.”

When John arrived in the Bay Area, his affinity for his new environment was largely due to the natural beauty he found himself surrounded by—a stark contrast to the urban sprawl of New York and an attraction that remains strong three decades later. “I love living here because I’m surrounded by natural beauty,” he says. “Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area are two of my favorite places to spend time. You can be out in the headlands and see a bobcat with the San Francisco skyline in the background…it’s pretty impressive.”

John’s love of nature is conducive to his chosen profession—window installation work requires a lot of time spent outdoors, and Save Energy Company’s wide ranging service area gives him a chance to explore numerous regions of the Bay Area. “That was particularly great in the beginning when I needed to find my way around,” he says. “After a certain amount of years, I’d start to think, ‘Oh, I’ve never been on this street,’ instead of being all wide eyed and wondering how to get anywhere.”

As with any outdoor enthusiast, John enjoys spending his free time playing golf, hiking in the Marin headlands and taking long walks through his hometown of Petaluma. “If I can stay out of a car, I’m a happy guy,” he laughs. “I also like listening to music, going out dancing with my wife and spending time with my son. He really likes the outdoors as well and is into things like rock climbing and bodybuilding.”

John Gorman’s journey from New York literature student to head of a successful California business wasn’t always a straightforward one, but he considers the path he forged to be crucial for where he finds himself today. “I’ve always like the quote, ‘Not all those who wander are lost,’” he says. “Just because someone doesn’t have a set direction doesn’t mean they’re completely at a loss. It’s more about the journey than the destination. The journey is the destination. I’ve had to get comfortable with that over the years, but I understand it better at this point in my life. Each day is enough.”

 

ASK ME ANYTHING!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The 49ers. It took me a while to get rid of my New York allegiance, though—I grew up a Jets guy during the Joe Namath days and switched to the Giants as I got older, but I’m loving the Niners now.

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: The Grateful Dead. I admit it—I’m a Deadhead, which certainly made it easier to move out here 30 years ago. It was a lot of fun seeing them at places like the Greek Theater and Oakland Auditorium. I’ve probably seen them 30 or 40 times.

Q: Have you ever read a book more than once?
A: Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest gets all the praise—and deservedly so—but this was a great book in its own right. Oh, and Go, Dog. Go! of course…a classic!

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Coffee. I go back and forth, but I’d pick coffee if I had to.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Dog person. We have a Rottweiler/Australian shepherd mix named Rudy. He’s a good guy.

Q: Which superpower: flight or super strength?
A: Flight, because there’s no need for strength if I’m flying around. What could be more fun than that?

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How to Choose the Right Window Frames

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PETALUMA — In the past, homeowners who wanted to replace their windows were somewhat limited in their choices. Today, consumers can choose from a wide variety of window options and find a product that best fits their lifestyle, budget and… Read more

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Video: Three Window Frame Options

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PETALUMA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re shopping for windows, you’ll need to decide whether to have wood, vinyl, or fiberglass frames. So, we’re in Petaluma… Read more

Gary Kluck is a veteran of the home improvement industry and CEO of Quality First Home Improvement, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (877) 297-8594 or by email.

Gary Kluck

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Gary Kluck: On the Upbeat

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CITRUS HEIGHTS – Gary Kluck has a lot on his plate. Between managing a home improvement company with more than 180 employees to singlehandedly running a household, it’s easy to think the stress might get to him now and then. However, Gary says maintaining a positive outlook goes a long way toward achieving both inner peace and outward success. “I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy. I have a very upbeat personality, so when I do get stressed, I just stay calm and look at the positives of the situation, and pretty soon I’m back to normal.”

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Gary got his start in the construction industry at an early age. “I began working for my father when I was about 12 years old,” he remembers. “He was in home improvement and did a lot of concrete work and rough framing. I started out doing mostly grunt work, but I continued to learn and develop my skills, and I’ve been immersed in it ever since.”

Gary’s westward migration began in the early 1980s and included a five-year stint working in Colorado before he eventually reached Northern California. When the company he had been working for went bankrupt following a change of ownership, Gary reached out for advice on his next move. “I called the original owner of the business and asked him what I should do next,” he recalls. “He said, ‘Go do your own thing.’ I took his advice and started my own company, and it was the best decision I ever made.” Today, nearly a decade later, Quality First Home Improvement, Inc. is going strong with Gary at the helm.

In addition to running a business, Gary is employed as a full-time father and homemaker, raising his youngest of four daughters while his wife, Tamara, is pursuing her own career out-of-state. “A few years back, my wife decided to go to medical school to become a physician,” he explains. “She’s actually in Pennsylvania doing her residency right now, so I’m kind of like Mr. Mom for the next couple years.” Though his responsibilities keep him busy, Gary does find time to play golf with his friends on a regular basis. He also takes advantage of the occasional opportunity to get away from it all. “We have a cabin up at Eagle Lake, and we like to go out there to do some boating and fishing and just enjoy the peacefulness of nature.”

Gary attributes much of his personal and professional success to the power of positive thinking. “We attract what we think and feel, so it’s important to feel great and think great,” he says. “That’s what I tell all my employees, and it’s really how I built the company. When we started, there were four of us; now, there are 181. By putting out positive energy, we’ve been able to attract positive people who want to do good things.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: Green Bay Packers.

Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: Digging up worms in the garden when I was three or four years old.

Q: Do you do any celebrity impersonations?
A: I used to do a pretty good Humphrey Bogart, but it’s been a while.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Playing basketball. I could really jump—as a 6’1” forward, I could out-jump our 6’4” center!

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit by the fire.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.

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How to Prevent Concrete Cracks

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CITRUS HEIGHTS — Many homeowners like to tackle their own concrete projects, whether that means installing a patio cover or renovating a driveway. Laying concrete may seem like a simple task, but there are certain aspects that can complicate the process.… Read more

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Video: Solving a Common Concrete Issue

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CITRUS HEIGHTS — Host, Sarah Rutan: When laying concrete during a home project, one of the most common problems is cracks forming in your concrete. Today we’re… Read more

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