Albert Nahman: Crash Course to Success
By James Florence, Senior Writer
BERKELEY — Whereas most budding professionals make a point of gaining field experience before offering their services, Albert Nahman got hired first and asked questions later. “I had just moved from San Francisco to North Lake Tahoe and was looking to get into a trade,” he recounts. “One day, while working in a restaurant, I overheard a customer say he needed a plumber to work on some condominiums in Squaw Valley. I spoke up and volunteered my services. I didn’t know much about plumbing, but within a few weeks, I was on the job. It was pretty haphazard, I have to admit!”
Despite taking a crash course at the outset, Albert’s gutsy move ultimately led to a successful career. “I may not have had any experience with plumbing, but I was extremely motivated and quickly learned the ropes,” he says. “I did a lot of reading on my own and learned from other professionals when I had the opportunity. Thirty-six years later, I’m still at it and running my own business. It just goes to show how far a little determination can take you.”
Today, as owner of Albert Nahman Plumbing and Heating, Albert says his favorite part of his job is interacting with people. “I have many long-term employees, and I love seeing them grow and develop over the years. Of course, I also enjoy serving our clients. It’s very gratifying to receive positive feedback and know we’re doing a good job.”
A resident of Berkeley (where he lives with his wife, Marjorie), Albert expresses his appreciation for his adopted hometown. “As everybody knows, Berkeley is a unique place. My business is actually within a mile of my house, so I feel very connected to the community I serve. Plus, I have a lot of family close by, so it really feels like home to me.”
Outside of work, Albert likes to stay active, whether with sports or volunteer work. “I’ve been playing in a softball league for many years, and so far they haven’t kicked me off the team,” he laughs. “I’m also a board member for Rebuilding Together East Bay-North, which rehabilitates homes for low-income and disabled residents of Berkeley, Richmond, and Emeryville.” Additionally, Albert enjoys spending time with family, including his and Marjorie’s three children and three grandchildren.
In regard to a professional philosophy, Albert says it’s all about the clients. “I really feel that I’m here to serve my customers. Obviously, as a business, we have to make a profit, but my main focus has always been helping people. I think my employees and I do this very well by treating our customers with the utmost respect and doing the best work we possibly can.”
When asked how his life might look if he were to retire tomorrow, Albert doesn’t anticipate a lot of change. “I don’t think things would be much different, honestly. I like my life and enjoy running my business and spending time with my grandchildren. Maybe I’d do a little more traveling, but other than that, I’m not pining for any big changes.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Coffee or tea?
Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1959 Ford Fairlane. It was the family car that was handed down to me, and people used to make fun of me because wherever I drove, a big cloud of black smoke followed me.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Any kind of fruit pie, especially blueberry, raspberry or boysenberry. Put a dollop of ice cream on the side and I’m in heaven.
Q: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
A: The Beatles.
Q: If you could speak to any famous person, living or dead, who would it be?
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A: I’d want to speak with somebody like Gandhi, the Buddha or Jesus—one of those people who actually figured it out, so to speak, and lived their life without letting material things get in the way.