Paul Gerrard: Pursuing Excellence
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ALAMEDA — Originally from England, Paul Gerrard may have come to the United States in pursuit of adventure, but he stayed to pursue excellence in his trade. “My father was a plumbing and heating contractor, and I apprenticed with his company when I was a young man,” he recounts. “Having an itch for adventure and excitement, I left England in 1996 and came to the States. I found that plumbing in the U.S. was very different from what I was used to, so I basically had to relearn my trade.”
However, the nuts and bolts of the job weren’t the only differences Paul noticed between the plumbing industries in England and the U.S. “To be honest, when I first came here, I was a bit disappointed by what my trade looked like. The training I received in England was incredibly detail- and customer service-oriented, and I was taught to take pride in my profession. After coming to the U.S., it would’ve been easy to let my standards slip, but I made a conscious choice to not do that. Instead, when I started my business in 2000, I made it my goal to build a reputation for excellence in the plumbing industry.”
Today, as owner of Big Blue Plumbing, Paul describes several favorite aspects of his job. “I love meeting new people and the fact that we get to problem-solve and help people from all walks of life. I also enjoy developing our technicians, watching them learn and grow, and giving them careers that will serve them for their lifetimes.”
A resident of Oakland (where he lives with his wife, Kimberly), Paul spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “My passion is surfing, so I surf weekly and sometimes even daily throughout the year,” he details. “I also like doing long-distance motorcycle trips. Last year, we rode to Alaska and back, camping all the way.” When he’s not catching a wave or hitting the open road, Paul likes working on his house and spending quality time with his two adult children.
In his life and career, Paul shares one of his many professional philosophies. “Something everyone here has heard me say a thousand times is, ‘How we do one thing is how we do all things.’ That means if we’re going to dig a ditch, it should be a good ditch. If we answer the phone, let’s answer it better than what’s expected. It doesn’t matter if we’re redoing all the piping in a house or snaking a clogged toilet—we should be striving for excellence in every situation.”
When asked about his plans for future retirement, Paul replies that he’s in no hurry. “If I retired tomorrow, I would spend more time surfing and traveling. However, I feel like I already carve out the time that I need for my hobbies and interests, and I really love coming to work and running my business. So, while I look forward to having more free time one day, I am by no means ready to quit my day job.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: My wife and I are connoisseurs of local taco trucks. Currently, our favorite is the Guadalajara Taco Truck that’s typically on Fruitvale and International.
Q: If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would go?
A: I’d like to take a motorcycle trip through Patagonia and South America, just like the one Che Guevara took many years ago.
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Golden State Warriors. However, if we’re talking Grand Prix motorcycle racing, which I follow closely, Valentino Rossi is my favorite rider.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Go surfing.
Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Actually, I prefer podcasts. If I’m in my car, I’m usually listening to a podcast about neuroscience, history or culture. I love expanding my horizons.
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