Chad Ray: Headfirst
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
BENICIA — Not knowing whether he’d sink or swim, Chad Ray jumped headfirst into what would ultimately be a successful plumbing career. “While looking for a new job, I decided to answer a craigslist ad for a plumber’s assistant,” he relates. “I had no plumbing experience whatsoever, but I liked working with my hands, so it seemed like something I’d enjoy. On my first day, we did a trenchless sewer replacement. It was basically trial by fire, but I passed and totally fell in love with plumbing in the process.”
After gaining further experience as a laborer, Chad moved up to being a field technician and ultimately went into management. While working as a manager for a local plumbing company, he became friends with a technician named Matt Harris, who had a dream of starting his own company. Not long after, Matt invited Chad to be a part of that dream, and Oak Plumbing Inc. was born.
Today, as operations manager of Oak Plumbing, Chad says his favorite part of his job is equipping his technicians to better serve customers. “My job is to support our technicians and set them up for success in the field. I love seeing the results of the customer service training I do with my technicians. Each time we get a 5-star review from a customer, I know I’ve done my job.”
A resident of Rocklin (where he lives with his fiancé, Jennifer, and stepdaughter, Alyssa), Chad spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I’m an avid bowler and golfer,” he details. “I also enjoy spending time with my family. Most of the time, we do whatever my stepdaughter wants to do, whether it’s eating at John’s Incredible Pizza Company or spending a day at Six Flags.”
In his life and career, Chad espouses the impact of everyday goodwill. “I believe random acts of kindness will change the world, because they have a tendency to spread and grow exponentially,” he explains. “For me, it all comes down to helping others and treating them fairly. In terms of running my business, this means focusing on customers rather than revenue, which I think is the formula for a truly successful company.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chad says he’d head to the nearest golf course. “Since we’re still a young company, work is pretty much my life at the moment, which is fine—I consider it an investment in my future. That said, if I were to retire, the first thing I’d do is play 36 holes of golf, uninterrupted. I’d turn off my phone and leave my headset at home. It would be glorious.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Dallas Cowboys.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Sacramento.
Q: Music or talk radio?
Q: Would you rather live in the city or the country?
A: The country.
Q: If you could talk to anyone living or dead, who would you choose?
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A: Nikola Tesla. His ideas were so revolutionary and I think he had a unique understanding of how the world operates.