Expert Reports From Local, Top Rated Companies

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS HUB
Diamond Certified Expert Contributors

Alex Rodriguez is owner of A-Rod Auto Collision, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (408) 622-0473 or by email.

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Alex Rodriguez: A Family Operation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — For years, Alex Rodriguez and his family had talked about starting an automotive business. Finally, by aligning their skills and resources, they successfully followed through with their dream. “I come from a big family, and we’ve always worked on each other’s cars,” explains Alex. “A few of my relatives have professional auto body experience and we’d often talk about starting our own business. After working for 34 years as a construction equipment operator, I was getting ready to retire and I had the money to purchase a business, so we all decided it was time to make it happen.”

Since founding A-Rod Auto Collision in San Jose in 2016, Read more

Expert tip
How to Assess a Scratch on Your Vehicle
SAN JOSE — If there’s a scratch on your vehicle’s body, you may assume the area will need to be repainted. However, this may not be the case. Vehicle body scratches often look similar, but their impact can vary substantially… Read more

Jim Gardner is owner of Jim Gardner Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 254-5887 or by email.

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Jim Gardner: A Sound Structure

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

OAKLAND — After more than 20 years doing structural work, Jim Gardner has established himself as an expert in his field. However, the foundation of his professional expertise didn’t form overnight; rather, it was something he built up gradually. “After college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I worked a bunch of different jobs, including firefighter, swim instructor and river rafting guide,” he recounts. “When my mother moved to the Bay Area from Southern California and bought a house, I offered to fix it up for her. I’ve always been handy, but I’d never done any real construction work at that point, Read more

Expert tip
Solutions for Drainage Problems
OAKLAND — When it comes to drainage, most homeowners don’t realize there are two different types of water that need to be addressed: surface water and subterranean water (also known as groundwater). Furthermore, these two types of water each require… Read more

Kevin Sollitt is a 32-year veteran of the HVAC industry and president of Temperature Perfection, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (510) 200-8950 or by email.

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Kevin Sollitt: Unexpected Growth

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

FREMONT — As a budding HVAC professional, Kevin Sollitt was always looking for opportunities to grow in his career. However, he never expected he’d grow to the point of starting his own company. “Right out of high school, I went to work for a local HVAC company in Fremont,” he remembers. “I soon realized the chances of moving up in the company were pretty low, so I left after a couple of years and found a company where I could grow. A few years in, I was promoted to service manager—a position that came with a lot of responsibility but little authority. Read more

Expert tip
Air Quality Solution for Allergy Sufferers
FREMONT — One thing many homeowners ask about is how to improve their home’s air quality to alleviate their allergy issues. In such instances, I recommend investing in a medical-grade air filtration system. These systems purify indoor air by providing… Read more

Steve Ionis is president of Rayne Plumbing and Sewer Service, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2004. He can be reached at (408) 283-0600 or [email protected]

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Steve Ionis: The Long Road

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN JOSE — If you ask Steve Ionis where he’s from originally, he’s likely to reply that there’s no such thing as “original”—an apt response from a man whose upbringing took place in various spots around the world. Steve was born in Shanghai, China, his parents having emigrated from Russia several years prior. Soon after his birth, the rise of Mao Zedong compelled them to relocate to the recently formed state of Israel, where the family resided for six years before moving again, this time to Tokyo, Japan. After he graduated high school, Steve spent three years in the Israeli army, Read more

Expert tip
A Green Way to Deal with Hard Water
SAN JOSE — Hard water is a common problem in the Bay Area—not only does it leave people with a rough feeling when they come out of the shower, it often causes damage to homeowners’ water pipes, water… Read more

Harold Bloom has been selling homes in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties since 1985. He can be reached at (650) 605-3928 or by email.

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Howard Bloom: Still Having Fun

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Reporter

LOS ALTOS — When asked what inspired him to get into real estate, Howard Bloom says it was more fun than his day job. “Before I was a real estate agent, I worked as a hospital administrator. In 1982, I started buying and reselling government-repossessed properties. Pretty soon, I was buying two or three properties a year. Eventually, I decided real estate was more fun than being in meetings all day. Plus, I was using a lot of the same skills I used at my job: dealing with people, solving problems and negotiating contracts. In 1985, I began doing real estate full-time and have been at it ever since.”

Today, Read more

Expert tip
Choosing a Quality Real Estate Agent
LOS ALTOS — If you’re looking to buy a home, one of the first things you should do is choose an agent to represent you. However, just any agent won’t do—to ensure a successful outcome, you’ll need to choose a… Read more

Kyle Unciano is sales manager at American Window Systems, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2010. He can be reached at (707) 879-8946 or by email.

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Kyle Unciano: A Window of Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NAPA — Kyle Unciano was in between jobs, contemplating his next move, when he happened upon a window of opportunity. “I had worked in fine dining for years and came to a point where I needed a change,” he remembers. “Around that time, my grandparents needed some extra help in the office at the family business, American Window Systems. They started the business in 1992 and have kept it in the family ever since—in fact, my brother is one of their lead installers. I started working in the office part-time, and from there I moved up to sales manager.”

Today, Read more

Expert tip
Replacing Windows in Stucco Homes
NAPA — When it comes to replacing residential windows, there are two different methods in use: new construction and retrofit. With the new construction method, the windows and frames are completely removed and replaced, a process that requires disrupting sections… Read more

Chris Testa is sales manager at Sure Roofing & Waterproofing, a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (415) 493-8959 or by email.

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Chris Testa: A Sure Trajectory

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — After four decades in the roofing and construction industries, Chris Testa has no regrets about the trajectory his professional livelihood has taken. “I started working in construction while attending college in the ’70s, and from there I got into roofing,” he explains. “What I like about roofing is it’s the finishing touch to any building—it serves both as the protection for the overall structure and its crowning architectural detail. Few people dream of getting into roofing when they’re a kid, and I certainly didn’t, but I ended up here and I’m quite happy I did.”

Today, Read more

Expert tip
How to Maximize Your Roof Investment
SAN FRANCISCO — Let’s face it: replacing a roof is expensive. It doesn’t matter whether you buy the cheapest roof available or the most expensive—either way, it’s a big, messy job that costs a lot of money. For this reason,… Read more

Kevin Comerford is president of Service Champions, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 444-4444 or by email.

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Kevin Comerford: Taking the Lead

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PLEASANTON — Kevin Comerford has roots in the HVAC industry, but it took some time for him to realize his place in his family’s legacy. “My father, Don Comerford, started his business, Comerford Heating and Air, in 1971, so I basically grew up in the industry,” he recounts. “After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in journalism, I went to work for the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. I enjoyed working with small-business owners so much that it renewed my interest in my parents’ business. I was also fascinated with the innovative developments that were happening in the HVAC industry at the time. Read more

Expert tip
5 Steps to Prepare Your HVAC System for Winter
PLEASANTON — Following the heat of summer and the mildness of fall, the cold winter weather brings an entirely different set of heating and ventilation needs for the home. To ensure your HVAC system is equipped for optimal performance, consider… Read more

Russell Calhoon is project manager at Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 385-8993 or by email.

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Russell Calhoon: A Firm Foundation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ANTIOCH — By the time Russell Calhoon started working for a concrete contractor, he already had a firm foundation in the trades. “I’m a third-generation builder,” he explains. “I grew up in construction and worked for my dad from childhood all the way to adulthood. My dad taught me a lot, both on and off the jobsite. He actually taught apprenticeship classes on roof framing and stair framing at a local college, and I often went with him to those. We eventually became partners in a business that held licenses in foundation work, general construction, plumbing, electrical, solar power and sewer work.”

After his father retired, Read more

Expert tip
Often-Overlooked Aspects of a Concrete Project
ANTIOCH — If you’re planning a concrete project, be sure to consider the following aspects: Minimum cost Most concrete contractors have a minimum charge for concrete work. If you only have one small project in mind, it might not meet… Read more

Chris Hampton is owner of CDH Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 207-6954 or by email.

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Chris Hampton: A Simple Motivation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ROHNERT PARK — Chris Hampton’s involvement in the construction trade began with a simple motivation. “I wanted to work outside,” he explains. “At the time, I had been working in warehouses and kitchens since I was 13, and I just knew it wasn’t for me. I started getting into outdoor work like landscaping and concrete, and I gradually gravitated toward fine carpentry like cabinets and trim work. In 2010, I started my own construction and home repair business, and I’m still running it today.”

Today, as owner of CDH Construction, Chris says his favorite part of his job is simply doing the work. Read more

Expert tip
Considerations for New Baseboards
ROHNERT PARK — If you’re planning to install new baseboards in your home, there are a couple of things you’ll need to consider. One is the type of material to be used. You essentially have two choices: authentic wood or… Read more