Steve Margraf: A System for Success
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SONOMA — Like many professional firefighters, Steve Margraf began another vocation on the side to fill in the gaps between his 24-hour shifts. What he didn’t realize was that his secondary livelihood would lead to something much bigger. “While working as a firefighter in Napa, I met the owner of a phone and network systems company who was looking for additional help,” he remembers. “At first, he just needed an extra hand for a big job he was doing in Sonoma, but I ended up working for him for the next five years. He would often take off and go traveling for a month, during which time I would basically run his business for him—a lot of responsibility for a 22-year-old!”
While his position was comfortable enough, Steve saw bigger things on the horizon. “I started looking into the audio/video field, particularly home theaters, and there seemed to be a lot of opportunity,” he says. “I built a strong professional network over the years, so I was able to get a few jobs and continued to learn and improve my capabilities as I went. In 2005, I got my contractor’s license and started my own company.”
Today, as owner of Margraf Systems, Inc., Steve says his favorite part of his job is the process of designing systems that meet his customers’ needs. “Every project comes with a new set of challenges, so I enjoy getting in there and finding solutions. Our customers put a lot of trust in us to provide systems that are reliable and easy to use, which is a big challenge, but it’s also what I like most about what I do.”
A resident of Sonoma (where he lives with his wife, Cassandra, and their daughter, Fay), Steve expresses his appreciation for life and work in the North Bay. “It’s easy to take for granted how good we have it living in the Bay Area. The people are really friendly, the weather is fantastic and, with all the new construction that’s going on, there’s a lot of professional opportunity for someone in my line of work.”
Outside of work, Steve devotes the bulk of his time to family activities. “Our daughter is two years old, so these days I’m really enjoying being a dad and doing the family thing,” he affirms. “We like getting out and going on hikes or to the beach…mainly just finding great spots to enjoy the outdoors.” Steve also enjoys cultivating his property. “I really like gardening and creating edible landscapes. I’ve always thought it was cool to grow your own food.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Steve says he’d get involved with another livelihood. “I get bored pretty easily, which is why I like to stay busy. So, if I were to retire from my current field, I would probably move on to something like real estate. There are plenty of homes out there that need updating, which would be a fun thing to be involved in. Of course, it might not be a bad idea to kick back and relax a little more than I currently do.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite movie genre?
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: I’m kind of both. I probably don’t sleep as much as I should.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect seeds for gardening. There are some pretty interesting heirloom seeds out there, so it’s fun to try and grow new things.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My remote-controlled car.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Fresh fruit, especially figs.