Ron Kiesel

Ron Kiesel: A Door of Opportunity

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NOVATO — After losing his livelihood to an economic downturn, Ron Kiesel was fortunate to come across a brand-new door of opportunity. “In the early 2000s, I was a project manager for a housing developer based in Mexico,” he recalls. “Living part-time in Mexico and part-time in Truckee, I had the best of both worlds. However, when the economy crashed in 2008, it all ended. The Mexican economy is very dependent on the U.S. economy, so, not surprisingly, the housing market took a big hit, which put me out of a job. While figuring out what to do next, I had a conversation with my good friend, Danny, who owned a successful fireplace door business in Southern California. He figured if his business model worked in SoCal, it could work up north as well. The next thing I knew, I was selling fireplace doors in the North Bay Area.”

Today, as president of Fireplace Door Guy LLC, Ron says his favorite part of his job is the creative possibilities. “I build all of my doors from scratch, so when it comes to design, it’s pretty much a blank canvas. That allows my customers to be as creative as they want with their designs. One time, a customer gave me a picture of the moon and stars, and I incorporated it into the door design. That keeps things interesting and makes my customers really happy.”

A resident of Novato (where he lives with his wife, Andrea), Ron spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I have a ’99 Mustang Cobra convertible that I enjoy driving when the weather is nice,” he says. “I also have a condo in Scottsdale, Arizona, and I go down there every year for MLB Spring Training.”

In his life and career, Ron espouses the value of a positive mindset. “Wherever I am, I make the best of it,” he explains. “When I was in Mexico, I was happy there; when I was in Truckee, I was happy there; and now that I’m back in the Bay Area, I’m happy to be here doing what I’m doing. Life is full of transitions, some of which are planned, some of which are unexpected, but as long as you can roll with the changes and stay positive, you’ll be all right.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Ron says he’d head to a tropical locale. “I like warm, tropical climates, so I’d probably take a vacation somewhere in the Pacific Islands—preferably somewhere I haven’t been yet, like Jamaica.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first job?

A: Selling car parts.

Q: Music or talk radio?

A: Both. I listen to sports radio on KNBR in the morning and Pandora on my phone the rest of the time.

Q: What kinds of music do you like?

A: Mainly country and classic rock.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?

A: Sun Chips.

Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?

A: I’d go back to the 1950s and ’60s. Things were so much simpler and easier back then. Sure, we have a lot more conveniences today, but things are also a lot more complicated. I miss the simpler times.