Bill Place: A Clear Trajectory
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ROHNERT PARK — Bill Place’s professional path may have started vaguely, but it became as clear as day after he entered the glass industry. “Out of high school, I got a job washing cars at Hansel Ford in Santa Rosa,” he remembers. “I was looking for something with more of a future, so I asked the auto glass guy if he needed any help. He didn’t, but he referred me to a friend in the residential glass business, which led to me getting a job.” Later, Bill joined the union and got into the commercial side of the glass business, where he performed installations on high-rise buildings in San Francisco. “I worked in the city for about 14 years, during which time I became a superintendent and ran crews of up to 50 guys. Eventually, I decided to switch gears to something less stressful, so I got my contractor’s license and started my own glass business in Rohnert Park.”
Today, as owner of Nor Cal Glass Products, Inc., Bill says his favorite part of his job is bringing his customers’ visions to reality. “I really enjoy working with customers, taking on creative challenges and finding products or techniques that work for particular applications.”
A resident of Rohnert Park (where he lives with his wife, Lisa, and their four children), Bill spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I enjoy riding my Harley, taking getaways to the mountains and spending time with my family,” he details. Additionally, Bill volunteers his time to charitable activities. “Lisa and I belong to a nonprofit called Seeds of Learning, which sends volunteers to countries like Nicaragua to build schools for underprivileged communities. It’s a great way to travel and get immersed in other cultures, all while making a positive impact. I also sit on the board for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Santa Rosa.”
Looking back on his life and career, Bill describes the genesis of his altruistic disposition. “I guess it all goes back to my parents. Besides being involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, they were always there to help whenever friends or family needed something. All someone had to do was call and my folks would help them however they could. Today, I feel a similar impulse to help those in need, so it must have been passed down to me.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Bill says he’d take a relaxing vacation. “I’d probably book a trip to somewhere like Mexico or Fiji and just chill out for a bit. We work long hours and get really busy with the day-to-day, so we enjoy using our vacations to relax and recharge.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Chips and salsa.
Q: Reality TV or documentaries?
Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I would travel back to the late 1950s—the “American Graffiti” days. I just think that was a cool time period.
Q: Music or talk radio?
Q: What kind of music do you like?
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A: Mostly classic rock. I grew up in the ’80s, so I enjoy a lot of the same music I grew up listening to.