Joel Ledesma: A Fitting Career
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN FRANCISCO — Whereas many people discover their life’s calling early on, for Joel Ledesma, finding his niche as a plumbing professional came at the end of a lengthy pursuit. “I used to have a lot of dead end jobs—at various points, I was a bartender, a soccer referee and a massage therapist, but none felt like it suited me,” he says. “When I started plumbing, I could immediately sense something was different. It came easy to me, and it didn’t even feel like work. I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect, and it felt good to stand back and look at my accomplishments.”
Not long after starting a job with a local plumbing company, Joel felt the entrepreneurial urge and opened his own business in 2005. “By doing my own thing, I figured I could create an environment where I’d be comfortable and have greater control of things like pricing and customer care.” While he’d intended it to be a small, one-man operation, Joel soon found his business growing at a rapid rate. “At first, it was just me and a helper, but we started getting busier and busier. I never thought we’d get to be as big as we are now.”
Today, as owner of Atlas Plumbing & Rooter, Joel says he enjoys being on the cutting edge of industry innovation. “I like the challenge of learning new things and keeping up with the latest plumbing technology. Not only is it neat to see all the innovation, it’s also becoming easier to do what we do, thanks to advancements like trenchless sewer line replacement.”
As a resident of San Bruno (where he lives with his wife, Sarah; daughter, Julia; and son, Joely), Joel appreciates the perks of living and working in the San Francisco vicinity. “In such a large and old city, there’s no shortage of strange things for a plumber to come across. Every so often, I’ll see something I’ve never seen before, like a 50-year-old copper-lined water heater.” Joel says he also enjoys the close-knit character of his San Bruno community. “It’s a small neighborhood, so everyone knows each other, which I really like.”
Outside of work, Joel enjoys spending time with family and attending local sporting events. “I’m a sports guy, so I like going to Giants and 49ers games, but I also enjoy taking my kids to places like the zoo,” he says. Regardless of the destination, Joel’s outings also give him an opportunity to practice his hobby of photography. “I enjoy photography, whether I’m taking pictures of my kids, animals at the zoo or athletes at sporting events.”
In regard to his career, Joel espouses the importance of professional integrity. “If someone is unhappy with my service, I don’t dodge their phone calls; rather, I get to the bottom of it, even if it means refunding their money,” he explains. “I just want to be as fair as possible, which is something I think my customers appreciate.”
When asked what he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Joel says he’d transition into a full-time career as a stay-at-home dad. “I’d stay home with my kids, take them to school and pick them up afterward. I currently coach my daughter’s soccer team, so I’d probably be more involved with that as well.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Trapeze Restaurant in Burlingame.
Q: What kind of movies do you like?
A: I like goofy comedies like “Dumb and Dumber” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
Q: Did you play any sports in high school?
A: I played baseball and basketball, but I particularly excelled at soccer.
Q: What was your favorite video game as a child?
A: Super Mario Bros.
Q: If you could talk to anyone living or dead, who would it be?
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A: Freddie Mercury, just because I’m a big Queen fan.