Charles Irwin: House of Dreams
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
GILROY — Charles Irwin received an early education in the construction field by doing something most kids only dream of: building a house. “When I was 14 years old, my parents decided to sell our house in San Jose and build our own,” he remembers. “Over the next four years, I spent all my holidays, weekends and vacations working on the house. Besides the realization that I enjoyed working with my hands, that experience taught me a lot about construction and got me started in the field.”
Following high school, Charles further expanded his versatile skill set by working in various industry capacities. “I was a roofer for a while, did drywall for a bit and was also a framer,” he recounts. “Eventually, I decided to go back to school and get my CAD degree, which led to a career in civil engineering. After about nine years of designing traffic signals and roadway plans, I decided to get back into construction, which is what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years.”
Today, as owner of Irwin Construction, Charles says his favorite part of his job is breathing new life into old spaces. “I like taking an old, beat-up kitchen and turning it into somebody’s dream kitchen. The process of transforming something a client doesn’t like into something they love is very exciting for me.”
A lifetime resident of the South Bay (where he lives with his wife, Tricia), Charles spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I’ve always loved cars and racing, and I used to do dirt track racing over in Watsonville,” he says. “My latest passion is car restoration—right now, I’m rebuilding a ’33 Dodge sedan.” Charles also enjoys going shooting at the archery range and spending time with his family, including his two grown children, Branden and Samantha.
In his life and career, Charles espouses the importance of integrity. “I believe that a person is only as good as their word,” he explains. “If somebody says they’re going to do something, it’s important that they do it. That’s why I never promise our customers anything I can’t deliver, and I always deliver what I promise.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Charles says he’d take a long vacation. “I’d probably take a trip to Italy. I’m Italian, and my wife was actually born in Italy, so I think that would be a really special vacation for both of us.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Vikings” on the History Channel.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Maurizio’s in Morgan Hill.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Halloween—even though both of our kids are grown up, we still get dressed up and go out!
Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?
A: The Greatest American Hero.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
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A: The past. I think it would be really cool to go back to the Renaissance period and see all the art and technology as it was being developed.