Kevin Oliva: Building a Dream
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
PETALUMA — Given his natural love of building, when Kevin Oliva got a chance to do it professionally, it was practically a dream come true. “During my mid-20s, I was doing landscaping work, and even though I enjoyed the building parts like constructing decks and fences, I wasn’t really into the planting and gardening aspects,” he recounts. “So, when my friend asked if I wanted to work for his new construction company, I didn’t hesitate. After working for a couple of different contractors over the next few years, I got my license in 1992 and started my own company.”
Today, as owner of California Dreaming Construction, Kevin says his two favorite parts of his job are customer interaction and industry innovation. “I really enjoy working with and getting to know my clients. The other thing I like is the fact that I’m constantly learning. There are always new products coming out and new ways of doing things, so I enjoy staying up-to-date with the ongoing developments.”
A lifetime resident of the North Bay Area, Kevin expresses his appreciation for the temperate local climate. “I love the weather here—I don’t know how people live in areas where it’s always raining or where there’s extreme heat or cold. Also, we have a pretty good economy in the Bay Area, so it keeps us busy as a business.”
Outside of work, Kevin is a self-described car nut and can often be found in his garage, tinkering with his latest project. “I’m really into muscle cars, primarily Pontiac GTOs,” he says. “After working on one, I’ll drive it around for a while before selling it and starting on a new one. I’ve been working my way up to a special edition GTO called The Judge, which I had when I was younger.” In addition to working on cars, Kevin enjoys watching sports (“I love local teams like the 49ers, Giants, Warriors and Sharks.”) and hanging out with his sons, Nick and Daniel. “My boys are really into computers and film, and they’re always working on some new film project. It’s kind of like how I am with cars.”
In his life and career, Kevin espouses the importance of maintaining high standards of quality. “I never have and never will cut a corner when doing a job for someone,” he affirms. “I always go the extra mile to make sure things are done right, because I never want to get a call back. Of course, there will always be minor issues that need to be addressed, but I’ve never had a major complaint about my workmanship, which I think is a direct result of keeping things at a high standard.”
When asked what his life might look like if he were to retire tomorrow, Kevin says he’d spend more time on his automotive avocation. “I’d be at my shop, working on cars. Currently, I wake up early every morning for work, so I guess instead of heading to the jobsite, I’d head to the garage.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Do you have a favorite TV show?
A: I have a couple, both car-related: “Graveyard Carz” and “Street Outlaws.”
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Finnegan’s Marin in Novato. My boys love it, so that’s where we always go.
Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Classic rock—I’m always listening to 97.7 The River.
Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Being into cars and motorcycles. I actually used to do motocross racing.
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: Car parts.