DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

Joel Gruber is owner of Gruber Painting, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 741-0231 or by email.

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Joel Gruber: Choosing a Focus

By James Florence, Senior Writer

SAN JOSE — After years of splitting his livelihood between two seasonal jobs, Joel Gruber came to a point where he had to choose between a paintbrush and a snowboard. “Over a six-year period following high school, I worked two jobs,” he explains. “During the summer, I was a painter, and during the winter, I was a ski lift operator up at Squaw Valley. It was an awesome time. Eventually, however, I realized I needed to choose a focus. Ultimately, I chose to go with painting. Since I had a lot of experience, I decided my best move would be to start my own business. Read more

Expert tip
Choosing the Right White for Your Trim
SAN JOSE — When it comes to choosing interior paint, most homeowners tend to focus on wall and accent colors, but it’s also important to consider trim color. Although trim is generally white, choosing the right hue of… Read more

Sami Dadon is owner of P A Remodeling/Sami & Sons, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 827-8917 or by email.

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Sami Dadon: Living the Dream

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MILPITAS — Ever since he was a child growing up in Israel, Sami Dadon always dreamed of moving to the United States, and eventually, he made that dream come true. “My father was a contractor and I worked in construction for more than 25 years in Israel,” he explains. “When I was nearing my 50th birthday, I told myself it was now or never, so I moved to the U.S. and made my dream a reality. I opened my own construction company, and soon after, two of my four kids came to work for me, so it has become quite the family affair.”

Sami relates some of the differences he found working construction in the U.S. Read more

Expert tip
How to Prevent Price Increases in Construction
MILPITAS — One of the biggest issues homeowners encounter when working with building contractors is unexpected price increases. This is typically done through the use of change orders, which provide contractors with a means of altering a project’s… Read more

John Alden is managing member of Mountain House Estate, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 948-6943 or by email.

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John Alden: An Inspired Estate

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CLOVERDALE — Between his past livelihoods as an agricultural engineer and a real estate broker, John Alden has a pretty impressive professional resumé. However, one credential he never imagined he’d add is owner-operator of a wedding venue. “Not in a million years did I expect to be doing this,” he laughs. “It was sort of a coincidence, really. After living in Carmel for several years, I decided to move north of the Bay Area to be closer to my family’s timber and vineyard properties.

There was a property I’d driven by many times—over the years, I watched it be developed and go into foreclosure. Read more

Expert tip
Choosing a Focus for Your Wedding
CLOVERDALE — Every couple wishes they had an unlimited wedding budget, but unfortunately, very few have that luxury. Still, many couples operate as if they were on an unlimited budget and spread themselves too thin in the process.… Read more

Tommy Ngai is owner of Exclusive Auto Care and Auto Body, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 273-5409 or by email.

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Tommy Ngai: Exclusive Expertise 

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

REDWOOD CITY — Few automotive professionals can boast equal expertise in mechanical and body work, but that’s precisely Tommy Ngai’s claim to fame. It all began with an early introduction to the field. “I’ve been working on cars since I was 12 or 13 years old,” he recounts. “Growing up on a farm, my first encounters with auto repair work consisted of fixing tractors. My brother-in-law owned a gas station that had a little repair shop, and I went to work for him as soon as I was old enough.”

During subsequent years, Tommy worked at Honda and Subaru dealerships before opening his own repair shop in 2012. Read more

Expert tip
The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Auto Body Inspection
REDWOOD CITY — You probably know that before buying a used vehicle, you should take it to a professional mechanic to have it checked out. However, an additional step you might not be aware of is having your… Read more

Scott Yeaman is president of Yeaman Auto Body Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 412-9572 or by email.

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Scott Yeaman: An Educator at Heart

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PALO ALTO — Soon after he started doing auto body work to supplement his day job, Scott Yeaman realized he could make a better living if he made it his main career. “I used to be a math and science teacher in Palo Alto and Los Gatos,” he recounts. “I’ve always enjoyed working on and driving cars—I restored my ’55 Chevy and raced Porsches. My uncle had an auto body shop in Oakland and offered to give me some work to help me make ends meet. After training with him, I started doing auto body jobs on the weekends and during winter and summer breaks. Read more

Expert tip
2 Beneficial Additions to Your Auto Insurance Policy
PALO ALTO — When buying auto insurance, it’s important to know what you’re getting. Many people have a limited understanding of what’s included in their policies, and as a result, they may miss out on some beneficial perks.… Read more

Pat Martinez is owner of West Coast Mechanical, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (831) 241-5070 or by email.

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Pat Martinez: Service-Oriented

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LIVERMORE — After years working on the outskirts of the HVAC industry, Pat Martinez decided to venture further in, not realizing just how far those first few steps would eventually take him. “I used to work as a warehouse manager for a supplier of HVAC air filters,” he recounts. “At a certain point, I was feeling tired of managing people and wanted to do something a little more hands-on. I saw these HVAC technicians coming into the warehouse every day and I figured, ‘Why not try that?’ I ended up getting into the union and becoming an apprentice. The funny thing is, Read more

Expert tip
Understanding HVAC Maintenance
LIVERMORE — You’ve probably heard that HVAC maintenance is important, but you may not know why it’s important or what exactly it consists of. To provide further insight, here’s some basic information on HVAC maintenance. Why is HVAC… Read more

Luiz Cardoso is owner of Select Pavers, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 713-1094 or by email.

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Luiz Cardoso: A Select Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

HAYWARD — A career setback can be disheartening, but Luiz Cardoso isn’t the type to lose heart easily. Even after being laid off from his long-time position, he kept his head up, and as a result, he was able to spot an even bigger opportunity. “I used to be a manager for Comcast, where I supervised more than 80 employees,” he recounts. “In 2012, the company started downsizing its managers and I was let go. It was a sad day, but with the experience and training I had under my belt, I knew I wouldn’t be out of work for long.”

Unable to find another managerial job that paid as well, Read more

Expert tip
An Important Factor for Paver Selection
HAYWARD — When choosing pavers for a home project, it’s important to consider the scope of your options. There are a lot of characteristics to look for in a paver, including color and material type. However, an additional… Read more

Forest Kirk is president of Forest Tree Services Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 927-1019 or by email.

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Forest Kirk: Professional Growth

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Thanks to an early introduction to the tree service industry, Forest Kirk was able to achieve uncommonly rapid professional growth. “When I was growing up, my mom’s boyfriend owned a tree service business,” he explains. “When I was 11 years old, I started working with him after school and during the summer. I’d also go with him to Fort Ross, where we’d clear out forested areas and process the timber into firewood. Following high school, I started working for another tree service company and trained with a certified arborist. A couple of years later, I decided to start my own tree service business. Read more

Expert tip
Annual Tree Maintenance
SANTA ROSA — Maintaining your trees once a year will ensure their long-term health, make your property safer and save you money. Almost all trees require a similar annual maintenance regimen. This includes: •  Trimming back excess growth… Read more

Paul Gerrard is president of Big Blue Plumbing, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 962-6113 or by email.

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Paul Gerrard: Pursuing Excellence

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ALAMEDA — Originally from England, Paul Gerrard may have come to the United States in pursuit of adventure, but he stayed to pursue excellence in his trade. “My father was a plumbing and heating contractor, and I apprenticed with his company when I was a young man,” he recounts. “Having an itch for adventure and excitement, I left England in 1996 and came to the States. I found that plumbing in the U.S. was very different from what I was used to, so I basically had to relearn my trade.”

However, the nuts and bolts of the job weren’t the only differences Paul noticed between the plumbing industries in England and the U.S. Read more

Expert tip
Technologically Advanced Water Heater Options
ALAMEDA — Question: Which of the plumbing appliances that you use every day has had no technological advancement in more than 100 years? Answer: your water heater. The traditional storage tank water heater was designed and patented in… Read more

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