Steve Molof: Paving a New Pathway
By James Florence, Senior Writer
SAN MATEO — At a seminal point in his sales career, Steve Molof decided to leave the upscale corporate environment he’d grown accustomed to and pave a new professional pathway. “I used to work for a big-time market research company in San Francisco’s financial district—very much your typical corporate desk job,” he remembers. “My roommate at the time was a sales manager for a large Bay Area paving company, and he was always trying to get me to come work with him. I saw the opportunity with how the industry was growing, and I was also attracted by the prospect of getting out of the office setting and into the real world, where I could interact with regular people. Finally, after a couple of years of my roommate’s persistence, I interviewed with his company and was hired.”
Steve excelled in his new position and soon became one of the company’s top salespeople. However, as time went on, he felt a growing sense that a bigger opportunity awaited. “I was enjoying my new job, but I wished it was less profit-driven and more about serving the customers,” he explains. “Over time, I thought more and more about what a more customer-centered business might look like.” Eventually, Steve devised a plan to make his vision a reality. “My colleague, David Tetrault, and I drove down to L.A. and met with the owner of a business called Modern Paving. The company didn’t have a presence in Northern California, so we pitched our proposal to open a division in the Bay Area. In 2013, we opened our branch office in San Mateo and have been going strong ever since.”
Today, as vice president of sales at Modern Paving, Inc. – Peninsula, Steve says his favorite part of his job is the personal interaction. “For us, it’s not just about making a sale and providing a product in return—it’s about establishing relationships. We partner with each customer and work closely with them throughout the entire process, so it’s a real collaborative effort.”
A resident of San Mateo (where he lives with his wife, Jessica, and their son, Liam), Steve explains how the Bay Area’s vibrant and diverse character translates to a more enjoyable career. “We have a lot of opportunities for creativity because we work with so many different types of people. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about working with concrete pavers—every installation is unique and you’re only limited by your imagination, so when you have a really diverse clientele who all have unique and creative ideas, it makes the job a lot of fun.”
Outside of work, Steve spends the bulk of his time hanging out with his family. “Jessica and I just had our first child last year, so life has changed a lot since then—it’s been a lot of diapers and formula,” he laughs. “We spend most of our downtime hanging out with our son at home or at the park.” Steve also enjoys following his favorite sports team, the Oakland A’s, as well as reading about World War II. “I’m sort of an amateur World War II historian. I probably read five or six books about it each month. There’s just so much history there and it never ceases to fascinate me.”
In his life and career, Steve espouses the virtues of putting forth your best effort. “Growing up, I was responsible for mowing the lawn, and I took a lot of pride in it—I used to try to make it look just like the Oakland Coliseum. Ever since then, I take ownership of everything I do and always try to do my very best. Whether I’m washing the dishes or putting in a beautiful outdoor living space, I want it to be something I can stand behind and take pride in.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Steve says he would get involved in a new professional venture. “If I retired and had some money, I’d invest in an emerging market type of business that benefits the environment, like renewable energy. Since I wouldn’t need money, I’d donate the profits to charity, so that would be a real win-win.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: “The Winter Fortress” by Neal Bascomb.
Q: If you could live in the city or the country, which would you choose?
A: The country.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sole Ristorante Italiano in San Mateo.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My baseball, mitt and bat.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Chocolate chip cookies and milk.
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