DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

Angel Garcia is owner of Gar-Cal Corporation, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 346-5017 or by email.

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Angel Garcia: Expanded Expertise

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LIVERMORE — Starting out in a subset of the remodeling industry, Angel Garcia gradually expanded his expertise to encompass all aspects of construction. “Several of my family members were in construction, so I basically followed in their footsteps,” he recounts. “My first job was installing garage doors when I was 18 years old. Later, I started doing handyman services, which I enjoyed so much that I decided to get my general contractor’s license. In 2011, I started Gar-Cal Corporation, and today we handle every aspect of construction, from foundations to framing to whole home remodeling.”

Angel says his favorite part of his job is the opportunity for creative ingenuity. Read more

Expert tip
The Importance of Project Preparation
LIVERMORE — No matter what kind of home improvement project you’re planning, chances are you’ll need to invest some time and money into preparation. Doing so will allow you to get the best possible result with your project.… Read more

Billy Alcantara is owner of Safeshield Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 276-5607 or by email.

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Billy Alcantara: An Unexpected Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BENICIA — Following a hiatus from the construction industry, Billy Alcantara found himself drawn back into the field by an unexpected opportunity. “I’ve always been a hands-on type of person, so right out of high school I put on a toolbelt and got into construction,” he remembers. “My older cousin got me into the trade and showed me the ropes. A few years later, I left the construction field to work in sales, and after that I took a job in the manufacturing field. After the financial crash in 2008, my wife and I began to invest in and fix up real estate properties. Read more

Expert tip
Choosing Siding for a Hillside Property
BENICIA — If you’re planning to replace the siding on your home, you have a lot of options to choose from. For example, fiber cement siding has become very popular due to its fire-, water- and termite-resistant characteristics.… Read more

Niv Goldman is owner of Alley Cat, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 523-6064 or by email.

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OAKLAND — After a bad experience as an employee, Niv Goldman decided the best way to maintain his professional ethics was to take matters into his own hands. “While working as a salesperson for a large attic cleaning company, I kept getting complaints from unhappy clients,” he recounts. “I tried to work with the company owner to rectify the issue—I didn’t feel right setting expectations higher than what I knew we could provide. Eventually, I knew I had to move on. Instead of going to work for another company and ending up in the same situation, I decided to get my contractor’s license and start my own attic cleaning business.”

Knowing he’d need help getting his new business off the ground, Read more

Expert tip
Identifying and Treating a Rodent Infestation
OAKLAND — It’s not always easy to know when rodents have infested your home—after all, they’re quite good at hiding. Fortunately, even if you can’t see them, there are plenty of clues that can alert you to their… Read more

Chris Marcus is CFO of Miracle Plumbing Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 620-4975 or by email.

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Chris Marcus: Like Father, Like Son

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — Having been raised by a plumber, it’s no surprise that Chris Marcus grew up to become one himself. “My father, Phil, has been a plumber since before I was born,” he recounts. “I started going to work with him when I was eight or nine years old. As time went by, I started doing bigger and more complex projects, and by the time I was 16, I had pretty much decided I was going to do plumbing as a career. After doing my own thing for several years, I ended up going into business with my father, Read more

Expert tip
Making Water Heater Maintenance Financially Viable
SAN JOSE — Regardless of what type of water heater you have, if you want it to achieve its full lifespan, you’ll need to maintain it consistently. A traditional water heater needs to be flushed annually to remove… Read more

Gabriel Martinez is owner of Supreme Comfort HVAC, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (831) 217-3172 or by email.

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Gabriel Martinez: One Step Toward Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MORGAN HILL — When Gabriel Martinez took a job in the HVAC industry at age 18, he had no idea just how far that initial step would eventually lead. “My first job after high school was working in a warehouse for a heating and air conditioning distributor,” he recounts. “A few years later, I got into the field doing maintenance and installation for a couple of contractors. I liked being out in the field—the day goes by much faster when you aren’t stuck in the same place. About four years later, in 2006, I decided to go into business for myself. Read more

Expert tip
The Importance of Changing Your HVAC Air Filter
MORGAN HILL — A crucial aspect of maintaining your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is regularly replacing its air filter. The purpose of an HVAC air filter is to catch dust, dirt, pet dander, smoke particles… Read more

Rashid Yahya is CEO and Chief Pilot of Pacific States Aviation, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 399-1989 or by email.

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Rashid Yahya: Achieving Liftoff

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CONCORD — Originally from India, Rashid Yahya came to the United States to get his lofty professional aspirations off the ground. “After getting my engineering degree in India, I came to Northern California and attended the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics,” he recounts. “After earning my pilot’s license, I went on to become a flight instructor at the school and gradually worked my way up to becoming director of flight operations. Since then, my focus has been managing flight schools and pilot training programs for domestic and international students alike.”

In 2011, Rashid joined Pacific States Aviation, where he helped the small fixed-base operator achieve a much-needed liftoff. Read more

Expert tip
2 Considerations For Choosing a Flight Academy
CONCORD — If you’re planning to enter a flight training program, be sure to choose a high-quality school that gives you the best possible experience and training. Here are two things to consider when choosing a flight academy:… Read more

Bryan Keding is manager of Floor Coverings International, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 679-5935 or by email.

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Bryan Keding: A Flooring Focus

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CONCORD — Bryan Keding entered the home improvement field as a young man, but it wasn’t until he joined forces with his brothers that his career really took off. “I started as a house painter,” he recounts. “My two brothers, Kreg and Reggie, also worked in the home improvement industry, and we eventually decided to go into business together. In 2007, we started a home remodeling company and later narrowed our focus to flooring installation. After some time, we realized we could provide better service if we had more control of the material side, so we added a franchise that would allow us to sell flooring as well as install it. Read more

Expert tip
The Impact of a Quality Floor Finish
CONCORD — When choosing a hard surface flooring product, a lot of homeowners focus on the thickness of the material. However, a more important attribute to look for in this type of flooring is the quality of the… Read more

Peter Breslin is owner of A1 Transfer Moving & Storage, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 742-1907 or by email.

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Peter Breslin: A Unique Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Not long after moving to San Francisco from his home country of Ireland, Peter Breslin was given a unique opportunity to become a business owner. “I came to the United States when I was 25 and immediately started working in the moving industry,” he recounts. “During the next couple of years, I became friends with the owner of the company I worked for. He wanted to get out of the business, so he gave me the opportunity to buy it from him. I’ve been running things ever since—well over 30 years.”

Today, as owner of A1 Transfer Moving & Read more

Expert tip
3 Tips for Planning a Move
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — When it comes to moving, a little proactive planning can go a long way toward avoiding unforeseen problems. Here are three tips for planning your move: 1. Set aside sensitive items. Before you start… Read more

Paul Cooper is president of Pipe Spy Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 493-7957 or by email.

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Paul Cooper: From Solar Panels to Sewer Pipes

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BERKELEY — For Paul Cooper, a short-lived career in the solar industry led to a long-term livelihood as a plumber. “I got started in plumbing after the demise of the first wave of the solar energy industry that blossomed from the mid-70s to the early ’80s,” he recounts. “President Carter installed solar panels on the White House and the government created tax credits for homeowners who did the same to their homes. I jumped on that wave and got into the solar business around that time. A few years later, when Ronald Reagan became president, he removed those panels that President Carter had installed. Read more

Expert tip
Sewer Lateral Compliance: The Basics
BERKELEY — If you’re planning to sell or remodel your home, one thing you’ll need to consider is sewer lateral compliance. According to requirements enforced by the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), a sewer lateral must be… Read more

Gary Robertson is president of Robertson Renovations, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 276-5605 or by email.

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Gary Robertson: A Lifelong Builder

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

WALNUT CREEK — Reflecting on a career that spans more than four decades, Gary Robertson says his beginnings as a builder go all the way back to childhood. “My grandfather was a builder in Canada, and when we visited, he would have me work with him on different projects,” he remembers. “During my teen years, I would work during the summer for various contractors doing things like painting and repairs. In 1976, I moved from my home state of Massachusetts to Northern California, where I started a small handyman business. Over the next few years, I got my painting and general contractor licenses and continued to grow my business into a full-scale remodeling firm.”

Today, Read more

Expert tip
Taking a “Hands-On” Approach to Home Remodeling
WALNUT CREEK — When it comes to remodeling, a lot of homeowners just point to a picture in a magazine and say, “I want that.” The problem with this approach is that the homeowner has no tangible experience… Read more