Expert Reports From Local, Top Rated Companies

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

Lamar Spalding is president of All In One Home Services, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 938-6251 or by email.

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Lamar Spalding: An Unlikely Inspiration

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DUBLIN — With a background in product management, Lamar Spalding never expected to one day own a home repair business. However, in the course of renovating his own home, he was struck by an unlikely inspiration. “In 1989, I purchased a ‘fixer upper’ and spent the next seven years working on it,” he remembers. “During this time, I worked with a lot of contractors and was quite amazed at the inconsistency of my experiences. Some contractors were really organized and on top of things while others seemed like they were just winging it. This made it challenging to find the right professionals for the job, Read more

Expert tip
How to Choose a Quality Contractor
DUBLIN — A successful home improvement project starts and ends with the choice of a quality contractor. So, how can you be sure to choose one? Follow these steps: Find a few good candidates. There are several different starting points… Read more

Michal Johnson is owner of Grout Works Bay Area, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 385-8936 or by email.

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Michal Johnson: A Hands-On Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — After working in the petrochemical industry for nearly three decades, Michal Johnson decided to pursue a more hands-on career. “During my 28 years in the petrochemical industry, I traveled a lot and worked in oil refineries all over the nation,” he recounts. “After being transferred to Northern California in the early 2000s, I began thinking seriously about starting my own business. I love working with my hands and had accumulated a lot of home improvement experience from flipping investment properties. I particularly enjoyed working with tile, so that seemed like a good thing to specialize in. I started my own tiling business in 2011 and have been doing it ever since.”

Today, Read more

Expert tip
How to Prevent Soap Scum in Your Shower
ANTIOCH — One of the biggest problems with showers is keeping them clean. Over time, shower tiles accumulate soap scum, which can be hard to remove. What makes soap scum so difficult to deal with is the fact that it… Read more

Jamie Duran is president of Solar Harmonics Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 335-6905 or by email.

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Jamie Duran: A Solar Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BRENTWOOD — Jamie Duran spent his early career working in an environment that stifled his entrepreneurial spirit, so when he saw an opportunity to start his own business, it was like a ray of sunlight piercing the dark. “Before getting into solar, I worked in finance,” he remembers. “I’ve always been very entrepreneurial, but there’s little opportunity to exercise that trait in the financial world. There are a lot of rules and, worse still, a lot of politics, so it was a constant uphill battle to affect any real, positive change.”

In the mid-2000s, Jamie took notice of an increasing trend toward clean energy, Read more

Expert tip
Energy Saving Tips for Your Swimming Pool
BRENTWOOD — Everyone loves swimming pools, but no one loves the expenses required to maintain them. Between filtration and heating, a swimming pool consumes a lot of energy, which is anything but cheap, especially in California. Fortunately, there are a… Read more

Ehsan Rezaee is owner of Molly Maid of Sonoma County, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 219-6365 or by email.

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Ehsan Rezaee: A Clean Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PETALUMA — Ehsan Rezaee had often dreamed of running his own business, but he never imagined it would be a house cleaning franchise. “My younger brother, Hesam, and I had been talking about starting a business together,” he recounts. “Originally, we thought about running a restaurant franchise, but one day he called and told me about a house cleaning franchise he’d found. I didn’t know anything about house cleaning, but it seemed like a good opportunity and we decided to give it a shot. In 2013, we opened the Sonoma County branch of Molly Maid. It took some time to get fully acquainted with the industry, Read more

Expert tip
How (and When) to Clean Your Dishwasher
PETALUMA — Your dishwasher cleans your dishes, but sometimes it needs to be cleaned as well. Here are some signs that it’s time to clean your dishwasher: Reduced effectiveness in washing Calcium stains from the hard water An… Read more

Chad Wolffe is CFO of Vulcan Garage Services Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 827-8993 or by email.

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Chad Wolffe: A Fitting Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — When Chad Wolffe first looked into becoming a garage door technician, he found it was a good fit in more ways than one. “Before I got into garage door service, I was a technician for DirecTV,” he recounts. “One thing I didn’t like about my job was that I always had to access hard-to-reach places. If I wasn’t up on a 40-foot ladder, I was squeezing into a tight crawl space or attic. Being a larger guy, this was a constant struggle. Eventually, I decided to look for a different line of work and put my resume online. Read more

Expert tip
Garage Door Maintenance
SAN JOSE — Like any mechanical device, a garage door has a lot of moving parts that require periodic maintenance. Fortunately, maintenance is pretty simple for a garage door. All you need to do is lubricate its rollers, hinges and… Read more

Ona Hennessey is owner of Hennessey’s Construction and Fence, a Diamond Certified company. She can be reached at (925) 335-6933 or by email.

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Ona Hennessey: Building a Livelihood

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

BRENTWOOD — Like many working mothers, Ona Hennessey once struggled to maintain a balance between career and family. Eventually, she decided the best solution was to build her own livelihood. “I worked for several years at Sierra Lumber and Fence, where, as manager of the retail department, I handled things like sales and ordering materials,” she recounts. “Being a working mom, I always wished I had a little more flexibility with my job, and by the time I was pregnant with my fifth child, I had put a lot of thought into my professional future. With all the experience I’d acquired working for Sierra, Read more

Expert tip
3 Signs That it’s Time to Replace Your Fence
BRENTWOOD — A failing fence can be easy to ignore, but between its important function and the potential risks of failure, it’s an important issue to address. While in some cases it may be possible to repair your fence, in… Read more

Mike Creeden is owner of Marco Roofing, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 405-5996 or by email.

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­­Mike Creeden: A Twofold Education

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

FREMONT — During his college years, when Mike Creeden wasn’t studying for his classes, he could often be found working on a rooftop. What he didn’t realize was that both activities were preparing him for his future career. “While earning my degree in business administration, I worked for my uncle’s roofing business on the side,” he remembers. “After I finished college, my uncle asked me to run his company for him. It was the best opportunity I had at the time, and between my college degree and my roofing experience, I was qualified for the job, so I took it.”

Five years later, Read more

Expert tip
The Proper Way to Walk on a Tile Roof
FREMONT — Whether to hang Christmas lights, wash upper-story windows or retrieve a wayward ball lost by the neighborhood kids, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to get up on your roof at some point. Naturally, safety should be your main… Read more

Cory Wikstrom is secretary of Vulcan Garage Services Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 827-8993 or by email.

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Cory Wikstrom: Working in Doors

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — Starting in his early 20s, Cory Wikstrom has spent nearly his entire professional career working in doors—garage doors, specifically. “Right out of high school, my younger brother got a job with a garage door company owned by his friend’s family,” he remembers. “It seemed like a good job, so I decided to apply and got hired. I spent the next eight years there before moving on and working for a few other garage door companies.”

Eventually, Cory started talking with his friend/co-worker Chad Wolffe about starting their own garage door business. However, one element was still missing. Read more

Expert tip
Making the Most of Your Replacement Garage Door
SAN JOSE — When purchasing a replacement garage door, smart choices can help you make the most of your investment. Here are a few tips: Consider money-saving alternatives. A high-end, carriage-style wood door can cost more than $10,000. For a… Read more

Michael Fahey is CEO of Vulcan Garage Services Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 827-8993 or by email.

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Michael Fahey: Garage Door Guru

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — When Michael Fahey answered an ad for a management position, he had no idea where it would lead him…especially because it didn’t specify the industry. “It was just a generic ad placed by an owner looking for someone to run his company for him,” he recounts. “It wasn’t until later that I found out it was a garage door company. With my background in sales, marketing and home improvement, I had all the qualifications the owner was looking for, so I decided to give it a shot.” In 2018, nearly a decade later, Michael took the knowledge and experience he’d accumulated and started an independent garage door service company with partners Cory Wikstrom and Chad Wolffe. Read more

Expert tip
The Benefits of a Wi-Fi Enabled Garage Door
SAN JOSE — One upgrade all homeowners should consider is converting to a Wi-Fi enabled garage door. Incorporating Wi-Fi into your garage door’s motor will allow you and your family members to open and close the door from a smartphone… Read more

David Drowty is president of Top Priority Roofing, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 659-6987 or by email.

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David Drowty: A Professional Priority

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ARBUCKLE — When David Drowty started working as a roofer in his late 20s, he thought he was just getting into a trade, but it was actually the beginning of something bigger. “Initially, I saw roofing as just another job—a step up from my prior job working at Costco, but nothing particularly life-changing,” he recounts. “However, I ended up developing a real passion for both the work itself and the customer service side. I also began to develop a vision for starting my own roofing company. I’d worked with a lot of different contractors, and in most cases I felt I could do a better job taking care of customers. Read more

Expert tip
Understanding the Roof Replacement Process
ARBUCKLE — When it comes to replacing a roof, many homeowners are unfamiliar with the process. To get some clarification, read the following step-by-step overview. 1. First, the homeowner must request bids from one or more roofing contractors. Once a… Read more