DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

Paul James is senior landscape designer at Koch & Associates, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 758-5705 or by email.

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Paul James: From Avocation to a Vocation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

FREMONT — While Paul James initially regarded his interest in horticulture as a mere hobby, he later turned his avocation into a lifelong career. It all stemmed from his first job at a local plant nursery. “When I turned 16, I started working at a nursery down the street from my house,” he remembers. “At first, I was just loading plants into customers’ cars and that sort of thing. Then customers started asking me how to choose and care for plants, and over time, I learned a lot and became more interested in gardening and landscaping. I certainly thought of it more as a hobby than a career, Read more

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3 Reasons to Hire a Landscape Design/Build Company
FREMONT — There are several ways to go about a landscape remodeling project. Some people choose to hire a landscape designer or landscape architect to complete a plan, which they then submit to various contractors to get bids… Read more

Kao Saephanh is owner of Climate Solutions, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (916) 252-5084 or by email.

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Kao Saephanh: Adventures in HVAC

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ELK GROVE — Following high school, Kao Saephanh decided to jump headfirst into a wholly unfamiliar industry. While it was a little scary at first, he soon learned to embrace the adventure. “After high school, I decided to skip community college and go to trade school,” he recounts. “Initially, I wanted to become an auto mechanic, but the sales rep talked me into HVAC. He told me that HVAC techs got to travel to different cities and work in all sorts of different places rather than being stuck inside a garage all day. What he didn’t tell me was they also worked in 120-degree attics and crawl spaces, Read more

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How to Clean an A/C Condenser Unit
ELK GROVE — One simple DIY task you can do to maintain your HVAC equipment is clean your air conditioning system’s outdoor condenser unit. However, before you do this, it’s good to learn how a condenser unit works.… Read more

Andres Serva is owner of Sersiv Roofing Corporation, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (831) 706-2045 or by email.

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Andres Serva: Trading His Badge for a Roofer’s License

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SUNNYVALE — After trying out a career in law enforcement, Andres Serva decided to leave the Force and join the roofing industry. “I became a police officer in 2016, but after a few years I started to consider other career options,” he recounts. “Working in law enforcement was becoming more challenging due to all the politics and liability involved. Also, the job required a substantial time commitment. My father-in-law was a roofing contractor, so I became interested in the field and eventually decided to make the change. I started out in a minor role and worked my way up to management. Read more

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3 Things to Look for When Hiring a Roofer
SUNNYVALE — A roofing project is a major investment—not only in terms of money but also in terms of your home’s long-term integrity. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a contractor that will give you confidence in the… Read more

Rick Telly is CEO of Unique Pavers, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 686-5509 or by email.

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Rick Telly: An Interlocking Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — In the wake of the 2008 recession, Rick Telly found a job opportunity that, while technically outside of his expertise, nevertheless interlocked with his prior professional experience. “I started in the construction industry in 2001, when my brother-in-law got me an entry-level position as a prepping detailer,” he remembers. “I’ve always been handy and enjoyed building, so it was a good fit. I would go into the newly built homes and handle finishing details like drywall touch-ups and lighting—whatever was needed to get them ready for turnover. Following that, I worked as a backend quality assurance superintendent for a new home developer. Read more

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3 Ways to Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space
SAN JOSE — Do you have a large back or front yard that you’d like to get more use out of? Good news: There are plenty of options for you to do just that. Here are three ways… Read more

Cory Lacey is owner of The Lacey Construction Company, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 219-8310 or by email.

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Cory Lacey: A Fortunate Foundation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Looking back on his 26-year career in the construction industry, Cory Lacey credits much of his success to a fortunate foundation. “When I got into construction in my early teens, I was fortunate enough to train with a group of seasoned industry veterans who worked in the high-end market,” he details. “I started out working on multimillion-dollar homes in areas like Belvedere, Tiburon and Sausalito, so I consider myself very lucky to have had that kind of introduction.”

Cory didn’t take his advantageous introduction for granted; rather, it motivated him to work even harder. Read more

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Tips for Stretching Your Remodeling Budget
SANTA ROSA — If you’re remodeling your home for the first time, your biggest concern is probably whether you can afford it. While remodeling isn’t cheap, there are many ways to stretch your dollar so you can get… Read more

Bianca Clark is operations manager of Mighty Men Services, LLC, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (415) 484-5041 or by email.

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Bianca Clark: A Mighty Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BENICIA — With a professional background in the wine and hospitality industries, one might wonder how Bianca Clark ended up working at a pest control company. It all stemmed from a family connection. “Growing up, I had family members in the pest control industry, so I’ve always been around it,” she explains. “I worked in the hospitality and wine industries in the Napa Valley for about 15 years. In 2018, my mom started Mighty Men Services. I was getting tired of working long hours and weekends, so it piqued my interest. A couple of years later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and I was laid off from my job. Read more

Expert tip
Hiring a Rodent Exclusion Company
BENICIA — When hiring a rodent exclusion company, there are things to look for and things to look out for—that is, signs that a company may not be a good choice to hire. One big red flag is… Read more

Ana Maria Robles is president of Bella Medical Skin Care, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (510) 254-5887 | (415) 506-5748 or by email.

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Ana Maria Robles: A Beautified Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

HAYWARD — For Ana Maria Robles, a career in the skin care field began with an early opportunity. “When I was in junior high, I received a scholarship to attend a beauty school during the summer,” she recounts. “I continued to pursue that through high school and earned my cosmetology license at age 18. At that point, I wasn’t interested in doing hair or makeup, so I decided to attend college to become a surgical technologist. Through that, I got a job assisting a plastic surgeon. Many of his surgical patients were interested in skin care, so he suggested that I attend esthetician school so I could handle that aspect of his business. Read more

Expert tip
3 Skin Care Tips
HAYWARD — Even simple tips can help you make the most of your skin care regimen. Consider the following guidelines: •  When applying a skin care product, first apply it to your fingertips and then to the targeted… Read more

Pete French is Senior Project Manager at AMM Fencing. He can be reached at (925) 452-7988 or by email.

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PLEASANTON — After 18 years working behind a desk for AT&T as an associate director of engineering, Pete French decided to leave the cubicle behind for a more “alfresco” career. Following a three-year stint with another fence construction company, he joined AMM Fencing as a senior project manager in 2020.

These days, Pete enjoys the outdoor work of providing construction estimates, working with crews and communicating with customers throughout the Tri-Valley area. He boasts of the “top-notch” job that AMM offers its customers and feels an immense sense of accomplishment when he, along with his team members, stands back and observes a finished job well done.

Pete attended junior college in San Diego. Read more

Expert tip
The Importance of Staining a Wood Fence
PLEASANTON — Stain is a coating that’s applied to a wood fence after it’s installed. With just a single application, it penetrates the inner and outer layers of the wood to provide an exquisite look and optimal protection… Read more

Alan Deaton is Senior Project Manager at AMM Fencing. He can be reached at (925) 452-7988 or by email.

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Alan Deaton: A Collaborative Disposition

PLEASANTON — The son of a carpenter, Alan Deaton has been involved in the construction industry his entire life. Beginning as a teenager, he became involved in construction planning, installation and oversight. He grew to enjoy working with fences and arbors in particular.

Born and raised in San Leandro, Alan attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. After stints working for JB Fence and Deaton Carpentry, Alan joined the team at AMM Fencing in 2018.

Today, as AMM Fencing’s senior project manager, Alan spends most of his time interacting with customers. After listening to their needs and wishes, he then proposes a design, Read more

Expert tip
Ensuring Code Compliance With a New Fence
PLEASANTON — So, you’ve decided to install that fence you’ve always dreamed of. However, there are some pretty important details that need to be finalized first. Each city has its own regulations when it comes to fencing and… Read more

Leland Char is owner and general manager of AMM Fencing. He can be reached at (925) 452-7988 or by email.

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Leland Char: Going for Greatness

PLEASANTON — Leland Char acquired AMM Fencing in May 2021 and has since served as the company’s owner and general manager. With a decade of experience working for such high-profile companies as Walmart, Facebook and McKinsey & Company (along with three degrees in business and engineering from the University of Southern California), Leland holds the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure his customers’ approval, his employees’ growth, and his company’s success.

Leland felt the first spark of interest in running a construction business while working as director of operations for BuildZoom in 2015. There, he managed a team of 40 global employees who were dedicated to the company’s mission of matching quality contractors to available projects. Read more

Expert tip
Knowing When to Repair or Replace Your Fence
PLEASANTON — A high-quality fence can last two decades, but eventually nature takes its toll and some sort of update is necessary. If your fence requires such an update, you’ll need to determine whether it makes more sense… Read more