Steve Villa: An Unlikely Ascent
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN RAFAEL — Few people go from sweeping floors to managing operations at the same company, but Steve Villa did that and then some. “I started at Rafael Floors back in high school,” he remembers. “Ron Leach, the original owner, was my next-door neighbor, and he offered me a job in his warehouse. I would come in every day after school and sweep the floors, run errands, and make deliveries. From there, I became an apprentice installer and continued to work part-time through college. After graduating with a degree in business administration, I returned full-time as an administrative assistant. Later, I went into sales and did that for about 14 years until Ron made me a partner in 2005. When he retired in 2015, I took over as sole owner of the business.”
Today, as owner of Rafael Floors, Abbey Carpet Center, Steve says his favorite part of his job is helping customers find the right products for their needs. “Choosing a new floor can be challenging for people, especially since it’s both an expensive and semi-permanent decision. For that reason, I enjoy educating our customers about their options and helping them make wise, informed decisions.”
A resident of Novato, Steve spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I spend the majority of my time outdoors, whether hiking, biking, or playing golf or tennis,” he says. “I also spend a lot of time with my family. My parents and siblings all live in Novato and we’re very close, which is nice. We even like vacationing together.”
After 40 years at Rafael Floors, Abbey Carpet Center, Steve looks back at his unlikely ascent to ownership. “My experience has been pretty unique,” he reflects. “Most people go from one job to the next, looking for better opportunities along the way. I feel pretty fortunate that I was given those kinds of opportunities within the same company. All in all, it has been quite a journey.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Actually, I’d like to see more of the United States…maybe get an RV and do the Route 66 thing.
Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: I like them all, but I’d probably choose spring because of the new growth and nice weather.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: If I’m not working, I enjoy watching sports.
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: It’s a tie between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. I grew up rooting for the Packers.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Cars. I have a small collection that includes a 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, a 1974 Chevy pickup and a 1991 Camaro convertible.
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