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

Eloy Baeza is a 27-year veteran of the plumbing industry and owner of Baeza Plumbing Service, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (831) 708-8920 or by email.

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Eloy Baeza: Making His Mark

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

GILROY — When Eloy Baeza started doing plumbing work as a young man, he didn’t realize he was preparing for a lifelong career. “My brother-in-law was a plumber, and as a teenager, I would sometimes go out and help him on jobs,” he remembers. “I learned a lot from him, which ended up coming in handy later in life.”

After high school, Eloy joined the military, but midway through his enlistment, an injury sent him back home. Fortunately, his prior experience in plumbing gave him something to fall back on. “I finished the last year of my enlistment with the National Guard,” he explains. Read more

David Breslin is a veteran of the construction industry and CEO of Current Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 754-3940 or by email.

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David Breslin: Building Inspiration

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — Unlike many building contractors, David Breslin didn’t have a family connection to the construction trades when he was growing up—he simply felt an innate inspiration. “From childhood on, I’ve always loved working with my hands,” he affirms. “I grew up in a small town in Ireland during the economic boom, so there was always a lot of work going on, which got me even more interested in building.” Following high school, David launched his construction career and began working his way up through the ranks. “I started out digging holes and getting coffee for the crews, and bit by bit, Read more

Expert tip
Do-It-Yourself Seismic Retrofitting
SAN FRANCISCO — As residents of “earthquake country,” homeowners in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area need to be proactive about preparing for the next “big one.” While part of this involves having supplies and an evacuation plan ready,… Read more

Colm Higgins is a veteran of the construction industry and co-owner of Current Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 754-3940 or by email.

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Colm Higgins: A Long Road to Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — As co-founder of Current Construction, Colm Higgins looks back on the long road that led to where he is today. “My father was a carpenter and taught me the trade when I was a young man,” he remembers. “At the time, he was living in New York while the rest of our family was in our home country of Ireland, so I would visit him during the summers and work with him. Later, after graduating from college with a business degree, I started looking into the kinds of careers I was eligible for. It didn’t take long for me to realize it wasn’t where I wanted to be. Read more

Expert tip
Proper Planning for a Remodeling Project
One of the most critical aspects of a remodeling project is planning. Not only does proper planning help ensure a quality final product, it also saves time and money during the course of the project. So, if you’re… Read more

Dawn Fore is an 18-year veteran of the cabinet industry and owner of Napa Valley Cabinet Company, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (707) 584-6668 or by email.

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Dawn Fore: An Unexpected Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NAPA — Dawn Fore never planned on becoming a professional cabinet designer, but after filling in at the business of a family friend, that’s exactly what happened. “It was a fluke, really,” she says. “My dad’s friend owned a cabinet shop, and when his designer had to go on leave due to a family emergency, I was asked if I could fill in temporarily. At the time, I was working for the school district’s athletics department—I must have been on spring break because I was available, so I agreed to help. I ended up having a lot of fun with it. Read more

Expert tip
Assessing Cabinet Construction Quality
NAPA — When looking at cabinets, you may notice a lot of them look the same. For example, every cabinet manufacturer nowadays has a painted shaker-style cabinet on the market. However, despite the apparent similarities, all cabinets are not created… 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.

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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, Read more

Expert tip
Geotextile Fabric in Paver Installation
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… Read more

Shane Ragan is a fifth-generation water well and pump professional and project manager at McLean & Williams, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 809-5945 or by email.

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Shane Ragan: Tapping the Wellspring

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NAPA — As a fifth-generation participant in his family’s well drilling and pump business, Shane Ragan is further deepening an already profound professional legacy. “I was pretty much raised in this company, which was started by my great-great grandfather in 1949,” he says. “My grandpa started paying me to clean up the shop when I was 11 and things progressed from there. By the time I was 15, I was running my own crew—I didn’t even have a driver’s license! After all these years, I’ve grown to love this work and appreciate being a part of my family’s legacy.”

Today, Read more

Expert tip
Monitoring Your Groundwater System
NAPA — While groundwater systems require ongoing maintenance by a professional manager, property owners can also assist with maintenance by monitoring system performance. This primarily consists of paying attention to unusual developments such as a PG&E bill that’s higher than… Read more

Steve Schafer is a manager at Allstar Plumbing, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 290-9870 or by email.

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Steve Schafer: A Helping Heart

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

When Steve Schafer first got into plumbing, he was merely looking for a steady paycheck, but in the end, his career turned out to be more rewarding than he’d ever expected. “After being in construction for several years, I suddenly found myself out of work,” he remembers. “I heard that plumbers made pretty good money, so I applied for a job. After I got started, I found that I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the fact that I got to help people every day. I also enjoyed the problem-solving aspect. It wasn’t all leaky faucets—I really had to use my brain!”

Not long after starting in the industry, Read more

Expert tip
Caveats for Trenchless Sewer Replacement
SAN JOSE — Trenchless technology has made the process of sewer line replacement much quicker and simpler than it once was. This is especially true of instances where a sewer line runs underneath a driveway or lawn, as the trenchless… Read more

Carlos Aguilera is a 15-year veteran of the remodeling industry and owner of A C A Remodeling Design, a Diamond Certified company since 2012. He can be reached at (877) 690-2026 or by email.

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Carlos Aguilera: Optimizing Spaces

By James Florence, Senior Writer

After several years working as a civil engineer, Carlos Aguilera decided to switch to what he calls a “more interesting” career. “I decided to transfer into the remodeling business after I found out how cool it is,” he explains. “My wife, Anna, was working as an interior designer, and designing houses seemed a lot more interesting than designing streets. There was more variety and opportunity for creative expression, and after a while, I decided to get into it. That was almost 20 years ago.”

Today, as owner of A C A Remodeling Design, Carlos says his favorite part of his job is optimizing his clients’ living spaces. Read more

Expert tip
Remodeling to Maximize Space
When it comes to remodeling, many homeowners underestimate what can be done with their interior spaces. A common assumption is that any changes made to a room have to conform to its existing layout. In reality, a room’s… Read more

Brad Hatch is a 30-year veteran of the plumbing industry and owner of Brad’s Plumbing, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (831) 708-8944 or by email.

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Brad Hatch: Plumbing Entrepreneur

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

When asked how he came to start his own plumbing business, Brad Hatch cites his family background, which consists of plumbers, entrepreneurs and, in some cases, a combination of the two. “I have a lot of family in the plumbing business, including my brother, an uncle and a few cousins,” he explains. “Many of my family members are or were self-employed as well. My uncle actually owned one of the largest plumbing companies in California, and at one time he had more than 200 people working for him. So, it was probably in my blood to one day start a plumbing business.”

Despite his many family connections in the trade, Read more

Expert tip
How to Retrieve a Ring Lost Down the Drain
SEASIDE — If you wear a wedding and/or engagement ring, you might worry about accidentally losing it down the sink drain while doing the dishes or washing your hands. However, if this happens to you, don’t panic—with a few simple… Read more

Taro Martinez has been working on staircases for 20-plus years and is president of Taro E. Martinez, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 303-4238 or by email.

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Taro Martinez: Stair Man

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

Taro Martinez used to be an auto mechanic, but when he got tired of that livelihood, he decided to take a step in a new direction. “After owning an automotive repair shop for several years, I needed a change in both career and scenery, so I moved from Los Angeles to Northern California,” he recounts. “Soon after my arrival, I was offered a job with a staircase builder. I’d never done any work like that—I doubt if I’d even cut a piece of wood in half before—but I decided to give it a try. Naturally, there was a steep learning curve in the beginning, Read more

Expert tip
Stair Tread Options
CONCORD — When replacing your staircase’s wood steps (also known as stair treads), you have a couple of options. The first is to use pieces of solid wood. The biggest advantage of this option is these are strong, sturdy… Read more