Raul Galvez: Still Getting His Hands Dirty
By James Florence, Senior Writer
ANTIOCH — After nearly 40 years in the heating and cooling business, Raul Galvez spends a lot of time in the office, but he hasn’t lost the taste for field work. “I still enjoy getting my hands dirty,” he affirms. “If you stop practicing your trade, you start to lose your skills, so I make it a point to stay fresh and connected with HVAC work. It’s just a part of who I am, and I don’t want to lose that.”
Originally from Peru, Raul began his HVAC career by studying refrigeration as a young man. When he came to the United States, he was glad to find not only that his skills were relevant, but the conditions for performing the work were improved as well. “Doing HVAC in Peru was challenging,” he recounts. “For example, it was a lot harder to get parts—sometimes I just had to repair the old ones because I couldn’t get my hands on replacements. By comparison, working in the U.S. was great. Any time I needed a part, I could just go buy it.”
After working for a few different companies throughout the years, Raul decided it was time to strike out on his own and founded California Heating and Cooling in 2007. Today, he says he enjoys running his own business, not least because it allows him to focus more on customer service and education. “Most people don’t know anything about their HVAC systems, so I like educating customers about maintenance and how to maximize system performance. I’ve always liked helping people, so this is a great way to do that.”
A resident of Antioch (where he lives with his wife, Gladys), Raul expresses his appreciation for the unique character of the Bay Area. “I love it here. The weather is amazing, the people are great—it’s kind of its own thing. I’ve been to a lot of different parts of the United States and there’s no place quite like it.”
Outside of work, Raul spends most of his free time relaxing. “Now that our kids are grown up, Gladys and I get to do a little more relaxing,” he says. “When your kids are small, most of your time is dedicated to them, but our youngest daughter is about to turn 19, so we’re on the verge of an empty nest. We like going out to dinner on weekends and traveling. I go back to Peru at least once a year and we often go to Florida to visit Gladys’ parents.”
In regard to a career philosophy, Raul espouses the importance of professional pride. “The number one thing I teach my employees is to take pride in their work,” he explains. “When you take pride in your work, you’re going to do your best, which will increase the quality of the result. If you’re proud of your work, there’s a good chance the customer is going to be happy with it as well.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Raul says he probably wouldn’t. “I’m don’t really plan to retire because I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing. I like running my company, being with my guys and working in the field.” However, he admits there’s at least one item on his bucket list. “I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, rent a Ferrari and drive on an autobahn. There’s no point owning a Ferrari in California, where the maximum speed is 65 miles per hour, but to spend a few days driving on the autobahn where you can go as fast as you want…now that sounds like fun.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: A night owl.
Q: Music or talk radio?
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Black Angus Steakhouse in Brentwood.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Stay home, relax and watch some TV.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
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A: “How It’s Made” on the Science Channel. I like to learn new things and it’s fascinating to see how factories operate.