DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

Rafi Benbenishti is owner of HSR, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 344-6763 or by email.

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Rafi Benbenishti: Home Repair Extraordinaire

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

MARTINEZ — Following an unplanned relocation to an unfamiliar country, Rafi Benbenishti found his professional calling in the home maintenance and repair industry. “I’m originally from Israel,” he explains. “In 2000, I went traveling abroad and visited Thailand, Australia, and the Philippines, to name a few. Eventually, I came to the United States, where my brother was living at the time. What was meant to be a short visit ended up being a permanent stay. I started working in the home repair industry and spent the next several years learning everything from duct repair to insulation upgrades. In 2011, Read more

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Avoiding Fire Hazards With Dryer Vent Maintenance
MARTINEZ — Fifteen thousand homes burned. Fifteen deaths. Four hundred injuries. $99 million in property damage. Contrary to what you might expect, these disturbing annual figures aren’t the result of arson or wildfire. The real culprit is much… Read more

Thomas Carrell is general manager of Crandall Roofing Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 387-4025 or by email.

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Thomas Carrell: Going for the Goal

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Besides being a second-generation roofer, Thomas Carrell has always been involved in sports, including a 15-year stint playing semi-pro football. So, when an opportunity arose to purchase the roofing business he worked for, he went for it like a quarterback on third and goal. “My father was a roofer, so I got into the industry when I was a teenager,” he remembers. “I spent the better part of a decade working for him and learning the trade. After I gained enough experience on the installation crew, I took an estimating position with Crandall Roofing. About 15 years later, Read more

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3 Crucial Aspects of a Fire-Resistant Roof
SANTA ROSA — Fire safety has always been a concern with roofs, but with the recent wildfire crises in California, it’s more important than ever. To ensure your roof is optimally fire-resistant, consider the following aspects: Roofing materials… Read more

Jose Calderon is owner of Diamond Image Pool Service, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 219-8326 or by email.

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Jose Calderon: Diving Back In

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

VACAVILLE — After taking a brief detour from his pool service career, Jose Calderon decided to dive back in and go deeper than ever before. “My first pool service job was with a company in San Jose,” he recounts. “Jim, the owner, was like the Mr. Miyagi of pool service and taught me everything I know about chemistry and maintenance. Later, when I took a job selling cars, I gave my position to my younger brother, Christopher, who ended up starting his own pool service business in Sacramento. A few years after that, I was thinking about starting a pool service business myself, Read more

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Three Aspects of Pool Maintenance
VACAVILLE — To get the most enjoyment out of your swimming pool, you’ll need to keep it maintained. Here are three crucial aspects of pool maintenance:   1. Chemistry “Chemistry” refers to chemicals that are added to the… Read more

Eric Zugnoni is owner of Antioch Napa Auto Care, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 257-4631 or by email.

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Eric Zugnoni: A Student of the Industry

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — Most auto mechanics attend ongoing educational courses, but few can be classified as true students of the industry. Eric Zugnoni falls into this classification, and his educational enthusiasm is a big part of what propelled him to professional success. “During my early years as a technician, I attended a lot of industry-related classes,” he says. “I heard about a teacher in Concord who was highly recommended, so I started attending his classes on topics like advanced drivability and emissions. He became a mentor to me, and when I was laid off by Bank of America, Read more

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An Unintended Consequence of Extended Oil Change Intervals
ANTIOCH —As automotive technology continues to evolve, vehicle maintenance needs are changing as well. One of the biggest examples of this is oil change intervals. For many years, the standard oil change interval was 3,000 miles, but the… Read more

Miquan Johnson is owner of Johnson’s Insulation, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 335-6956 or by email.

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Miquan Johnson: An Insulation Fascination

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

OAKLAND — Miquan Johnson had already started down his career path when a unique opportunity led to a permanent change in direction. “I initially started my career in the construction field, where I learned how to do framing and electrical work,” he recounts. “Later, while attending college, I was offered a job doing insulation upgrades for low-income families through a government program. We would go in and reinsulate the walls, attic, and crawl space at no charge to the homeowner. It was really rewarding work, and it sparked an interest in insulation and its impact on energy efficiency. I’ve been doing insulation ever since, Read more

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Improving Insulation in a Drafty Home
OAKLAND — Is your home drafty? Do you have trouble maintaining a consistent comfortable temperature throughout? If so, you may be thinking about replacing your HVAC system with something more powerful. However, this would be a mistake. In… Read more

Peter Freeman is COO of Good Green Moving, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 649-6433 or by email.

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Peter Freeman: Moving it Forward

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PETALUMA — Peter Freeman has always been interested in business and innovation, so when he got the chance to work for a cutting-edge enterprise, he was all in. “I joined Good Green Moving when I was still in college,” he says. “I was majoring in economics and applied mathematics, with the hopes of starting my own business when I finished. I got connected with Jonathan Cook, the company owner, through my mom, who is a real estate agent. His company was doing a lot of innovative things with data and software to improve efficiency and environmental sustainability in the moving industry. Read more

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Drawbacks of Moving Long Distance With a Van Line
PETALUMA — Any move can be difficult, but when it comes to scale and complexity, long-distance moving is in a league of its own. Transporting your household goods from California to another state is a massive endeavor that… Read more

Ian Hlinka owner of IMH Construction, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 829-3779 or by email.

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Ian Hlinka: Slow and Steady Success

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SEBASTOPOL — After 25 years in the construction business, Ian Hlinka looks back on his gradual progression from apprentice to owner of a sizeable firm. “I’ve been in construction since I was 16,” he says. “My father-in-law got me a job building tract homes with a general contractor, where I learned to do framing. I continued to do framing for seven years or so, then I started working for a developer building custom homes and commercial buildings in Petaluma. In 2004, he was starting to get out of the business, so I decided to get my license and go out on my own. Read more

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Planning Your Construction Project
SEBASTOPOL — A crucial aspect of planning a construction project is researching and choosing finishing products like countertops, appliances, flooring, cabinetry, and plumbing fixtures. To ensure product availability and timely delivery, it’s best to choose and order these… Read more

Chih Ling Han is president of Acme Sunshades Enterprise Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 992-4017 or by email.

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Chih Ling Han: From Software to Sunshades

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

HAYWARD — After investing a decade into a steady career in software, Chih Ling Han took a radical leap of faith and dove headfirst into an unfamiliar industry. More than a decade later, he has no regrets. “After 10 years working as a software engineer, I realized that I wanted to be my own boss and run my own company,” he recounts. “However, I didn’t want to start from scratch and found a brand-new company, so I decided to buy an established one. In 2009, I acquired Acme Sunshades Enterprise. Since I didn’t have any prior experience in the sunshade industry, Read more

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Awning Options
HAYWARD — When it comes to exterior shade solutions, awnings are a common choice for home and business owners. When choosing an awning, it’s important to be aware of your options, including fabric and metal designs. Here’s some… Read more

Matthew Iribarne is head of glazing operations at B & L Glass, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 308-4875 or [email protected]

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Matthew Iribarne: In His Element

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Not long after ascending to upper management at an established glass company, Matt Iribarne realized he belonged in the field rather than in an office. “My grandfather had a glass business and I got involved at a young age,” he explains. “Right out of high school, I joined a union, went through an apprenticeship program, and worked in the field for 18 years before moving into estimating and project management. Eventually, I became vice president of the company.” However, despite reaching an upper rung on the proverbial ladder of success, Matt couldn’t help but feel he’d lost something along the way. Read more

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Five Factors for Glass Selection
SANTA ROSA — When selecting glass products for a home or building, considering these five factors will help you make an informed choice: 1. Climate control Tinted and low-E coated glass products reduce heat transfer from the outside,… Read more

Marco Vargas is co-owner of D A Reed Plumbing Company, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 402-5632 or by email.

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Marco Vargas: Plumbing Pride

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

LIVERMORE — When Marco Vargas got hired as a laborer for a local plumbing company, he had no idea just how far this initial step would take him. “In 2005, I got the opportunity to do some work for a local plumber who had a big project going,” he recounts. “I ended up staying with the company, and over time, I moved up through the ranks. Eventually, there came a point when I was basically running the whole operation. When the owner, David Reed, saw how well the company was doing under my watch, he decided to make me co-owner. Read more

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How to Maximize Your Water Heater’s Lifespan
LIVERMORE — The average lifespan of a conventional water heater is eight to 12 years. To maximize your water heater’s lifespan, take the following maintenance steps: 1. Flush the tank. By removing sediment buildup on the bottom of… Read more