Export Reports From Local Top Rated Companies

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Featured Expert:
Christine Stahl: Realtor Extraordinaire

If you want to gain knowledge on specific local services and become a more savvy consumer, we encourage you to access the Diamond Certified Expert Reports through the search options on the right. These mostly industry-specific articles, tip sheets, videos and blog entries are created for consumers by local experts. The authors know what they’re talking about because they own or manage a local Diamond Certified company that’s been rated Highest in Quality. Each has contributed their expertise to create these reports for you and other consumers as a way to give back to their community.

This week we feature Christine Stahl. Christine is a 30-year veteran of the real estate industry and partner at Lommori Stahl Group of Re/Max Star Properties, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (650) 525-4162 or by email.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

Calvin Hoang is owner of C H Hardwood Floors, a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (408) 785-9860 or by email.

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Calvin Hoang: From High-Tech to Hardwood

By James Florence, Senior Writer

Calvin Hoang spent a long time aiming for a high-tech career, but he ultimately landed a more hands-on livelihood. “My father is a hardwood flooring professional, and I started working for him on the side while attending college,” he recounts. “After earning my degree in computer technology, I got a job in the high-tech industry but ended up being laid off. I returned to school, this time to pursue a degree in technical management, and also went back to working for my dad. After earning my second degree, I tried to get another high-tech job, but there was a lot of competition. Read more

Expert tip
The Long-Term Advantages of Solid Hardwood Floors
SAN JOSE — A commonly asked question about hardwood flooring is whether solid or engineered wood is a better choice. Each has its advantages—solid hardwood is durable and allows for customized color and design, while engineered hardwood is affordable, easy… Read more

Paul Jancis is a 15-year veteran of the automotive industry and owner of Driven Auto Care, a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (650) 530-0933 or by email.

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Paul Jancis: Shifting Gears

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MOUNTAIN VIEW — When asked how he got into the automotive field, Paul Jancis says it was anything but a gradual transition—more like an abrupt shifting of gears. “Basically, I had an early midlife crisis,” he explains. “I was in restaurant management and I wasn’t happy, so I did some soul searching and asked myself, ‘What do I really want to do with my life?’ I’d always been mechanically inclined and had a strong interest in cars, so I figured automotive work might be a good option. I didn’t have any experience, but I knew it was something I’d enjoy, Read more

Expert tip
The Importance of Manufacturer-Recommended Maintenance
MOUNTAIN VIEW — As vehicles get more expensive, it’s becoming more common for owners to keep their cars for longer periods of time. However, if you want your car to be reliable for the long term, you’ll need to be… Read more

Joe Stefani is estimator at Shelton Roofing Co., Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (650) 898-7900 or by email.

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Joe Stefani: Switching Gears

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MOUNTAIN VIEW — After spending his early career beneath the hood of a car, Joe Stefani decided to switch gears entirely and start working on rooftops. “Growing up, I had uncles who were in construction and roofing, but my passion was cars,” he remembers. “After high school, I started working as an auto mechanic, became a service estimator, and eventually got into RV repair and sales. At a certain point, I felt like I needed a change, so I decided to become a roofer. I didn’t have much experience, but it seemed like a good trade and it paid well, Read more

Expert tip
Annual Roof Maintenance
MOUNTAIN VIEW — As autumn advances toward winter, it’s a good time to do some preventative roof maintenance in anticipation of the rainy season. Start by clearing leaves, tree branches and other debris off of your roof, paying special attention… Read more

Joel Ramos Diaz is owner of American Canyon Collision Center, a Diamond Certified company since 2009. He can be reached at (707) 341-6953 or by email.

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Joel Ramos Diaz: Body Art

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

AMERICAN CANYON — Like his father before him, Joel Ramos Diaz decided to pursue a career in automotive work, but he found himself gravitating toward the more artistic side of the industry. “My dad was a mechanic, and growing up I always wanted to work in an auto shop,” he remembers. “My first job was as a detailer, and from there I jumped into body work, which is where I stayed. What I liked about body work was the visual nature of the finished product. As a mechanic, you can get a car’s engine running again, but when you do body work, Read more

Expert tip
Maintaining Your Car’s Headlights
AMERICAN CANYON — As the winter brings shorter days, it’s important to make sure your car’s headlights are in good operating condition. Over time, headlights can become foggy, which obscures the shine of the bulbs and reduces visibility while driving… Read more

Linda Gottuso-Guay is vice president of Manzanita Landscape Construction, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2004. She can be reached at (707) 602-7947 or by email.

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Linda Gottuso-Guay: A Natural Gift

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — When asked how she got into landscaping, Linda Gottuso-Guay credits both an innate ability and an uncommon opportunity. “I really believe part of it is genetic,” she says. “I come from a family of farmers on my mother’s side, and my father was a great artist and musician, so I was gifted with a passion for both nature and art. Later, when I met my husband, James, he recognized the natural talent I had. He was a structural engineer, and after we got married, we decided to put our talents together and form a landscaping business. Read more

Expert tip
Cause for Hope: Understanding the Landscape Recovery Process Following the North Bay Fires
SANTA ROSA — In addition to the lost homes and businesses, large portions of the landscapes in Napa and Sonoma Counties were destroyed by the recent North Bay fires, including both private and public areas. However, despite the… Read more

Mario Batz is a veteran of the moving industry and general manager of Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage, a Diamond Certified company since 2007. He can be reached at (415) 763-5980 or by email.

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Mario Batz: A Moving Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAFAEL — When Mario Batz got a job as a mover during college, he never thought it would turn into a lifelong career. “I needed a way to support myself while attending community college, so I took a job as a helper with a small moving company in Tiburon,” he recounts. “I liked the job—it was challenging and it paid well…plus, I was able to cancel my gym membership! Over time, I advanced from a helper to a driver to a foreman, until I was basically running the company for the owner.”

From there, Mario went to work for another Marin-based moving company, Read more

Expert tip
Downsizing Before a Move
SAN RAFAEL — The average four-person household in the United States accumulates 1,000 pounds of new possessions each year, which, over time, can amount to several tons of excess “stuff.” While the ensuing clutter can be bad enough,… Read more

Dane Marcy is service manager of Kelly’s Appliance Center, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 523-0016 or by email.

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Dane Marcy: Mechanically Motivated

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

COTATI — When asked what moved him to become an appliance repair technician, Dane Marcy says he was merely recapturing a missed opportunity. “I actually should’ve started working in appliance repair a lot sooner,” he says. “I’ve always been mechanically inclined—as a boy, I used to tinker around with everything from bikes to lawnmowers. When I was a teenager, my dad’s fiancée worked for an appliance company and I wanted to get a job there. However, it was too far from where I lived and it didn’t make sense for me to commute for $7 an hour.”

After high school, Read more

Expert tip
Avoiding Problems When Cleaning Your Stovetop
COTATI — Cleaning your stovetop may seem like a simple task, but if you aren’t careful, you can accidently cause problems with its functionality. In particular, you need to prevent moisture from getting into the wrong places. For example, if… Read more

Luis Baldenebro is a 19-year veteran of the construction industry and owner of Baldenebro Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 484-5042 or by email.

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Luis Baldenebro: The Big Finish

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

After commencing his building career, Luis Baldenebro continued to advance his abilities until he reached his goal of becoming a finish carpenter. However, his greatest accomplishment was still to come. “I started out building redwood fences but I was really interested in carpentry, especially fine finish work,” he explains. “I started taking classes and joined a company in Sonoma, where I worked my way to the level of journeyman. After gaining further experience, I began to think about starting my own business. The only thing I was hesitant about was the test I had to take to get licensed; Read more

Expert tip
Advantages of Screws over Nails
SAN RAFAEL — There are two main types of fasteners used in building and remodeling: nails and screws. While each has its uses, screws offer a couple of significant advantages that make them preferable for many applications. First,… Read more

Faraz Saiyed is COO of Stickr Quickr – DMV Express Services, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (888) 461-6998 or by email.

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Faraz Saiyed: An Express Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

FREMONT — Tired of long lines and poor service at the DMV, Faraz Saiyed was determined to find a better option. When he did, he couldn’t help but share it with others. “My business partner, Mohammed, and I did insurance before getting into this business,” he recounts. “One day, I went to the DMV to renew my car registration, only to the find the line was about five hours long. Plus, when it finally was my turn, the service was lousy. Mohammed had a similar experience and we were like, ‘There has to be a better way.’ We started looking into it and were surprised to find the DMV had a training program wherein one could actually become an independent DMV service provider. Read more

Expert tip
Dealing with Lost Vehicle Transfer Paperwork
FREMONT — Transferring a used vehicle can be a complex process that requires several pieces of documentation to complete. Whether you’re on the buyer’s or seller’s side of the transaction, if you’ve misplaced one of these documents, you… Read more

Jim Fisher is a third-generation water treatment professional and president of Culligan Water of Sonoma County, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (707) 706-3947 or by email.

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Jim Fisher: Thicker Than Water

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — It’s often said that blood is thicker than water, but in Jim Fisher’s case, the two are more or less inseparable. “My grandfather started the Sonoma County franchise of Culligan Water in 1945, so I’m the third generation of my family to run it,” he explains. “My grandfather was always a big influence on me—I was named after him, and growing up, I loved him and thought he was the greatest. I started working at his store as a teenager, which is where I really got exposed to the business and grew to like it. I had a dream of becoming a pro golfer, Read more

Expert tip
Water Filtration System Installation
SANTA ROSA — There are plenty of things a handy homeowner can install independently, but when it comes to a new water filtration system, it’s best to rely on the expertise of a professional. A lot of do-it-yourselfers make the… Read more