Joe Greenwood: An Electric Opportunity
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Expert Reporter
SAN RAPHAEL — While working as a laborer on a construction site, Joe Greenwood was presented with an unexpected opportunity that eventually led to a lifelong career. “When I was 18 years old, I was working for a general contractor as a jack-of-all-trades, doing everything from painting to carpentry,” he remembers. “One day, we had an electrician on site—a man I knew from church named Al. Out of the blue, Al asked if I’d be interested in apprenticing with him to learn to be an electrician. I replied, ‘Sure, I’d love to.’”
Following his apprenticeship, Joe gained further experience by consecutively working for three different electrical contractors. While most people would’ve struck out on their own at this point, Joe instead decided to increase the depth of his industry knowledge through formal education. “I was thinking about going into lighting design and sales, so I went back to college and majored in managerial psychology,” he explains. “After earning my degree, I considered going back to get my master’s degree, but I was so wiped out from the previous couple of years that I decided to take a break from school. Soon after, I got my license and started my own electrical company in 1991.”
Today, as owner of Greenwood Electric, Inc., Joe says his favorite part of his job is giving people a better impression of his industry. “Like many trades, the electrical industry often gets a bad reputation, which is why I love working with my customers and gaining their trust. By providing excellent service, I hope to leave each of my clients with a positive feeling about their interaction with my company.”
A lifelong resident of Marin County (where he lives with his wife, Cara), Joe expresses his appreciation for the well-rounded character of the Bay Area. “I like living in the San Francisco Bay Area,” he affirms. “It’s diverse and forward-thinking, and there’s always something going on.”
Outside of work, Joe spends as much time as possible at high altitudes. “I’m a pilot and fly as often as I can—usually on the weekends, but sometimes during the week if I get a chance,” he explains. “I fly both a single-engine and multi-engine airplane, and I’m currently in the process of earning my commercial rating.” Joe also enjoys playing golf, going on mountain hikes with his dog, Beau, and hanging out with family and friends.
In regard to his personal career, Joe espouses the importance of taking care of both his customers and himself. “I treat my customers the way I’d want to be treated, which is why I make it a priority to return phone calls, listen to their needs and give them what they want,” he says. “However, I also make it a point to take care of myself. Running a small business is pretty much non-stop, but there are times when I need to take a break and re-energize. That way, I can make sure I have enough energy to give my customers the best possible service.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Joe says he’d take his aviation avocation to new heights. “After I earn my commercial rating, the next thing I want to do is become a Certified Flight Instructor and get into teaching. So, if I were to retire tomorrow, I’d probably redirect all my efforts toward that goal and start passing my piloting knowledge and experience onto others.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sorella Caffe in Fairfax.
Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: JFK’s assassination. I was six years old, and I remember it had a big impact on everyone around me.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Watch a movie.
Q: Who’s your favorite actor?
A: Robert Duvall.
Q: What were you most known for in high school?
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A: Being a very social guy, as well as playing brass instruments in the school band.