Chet Heenan: From Firing Up to Wiring Up
By James Florence , Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ROHNERT PARK — As a chef-turned-electrician, Chet Heenan went from firing up ovens to wiring up electrical systems. “When I was a young man, I worked as a chef at a restaurant,” he recounts. “However, even though I had a job, I found it difficult to make ends meet, so I decided to answer an ad in the newspaper for an electrical apprentice. After landing the apprenticeship, I spent a couple of years training with an electrician by day and working as a chef by night. Once I became proficient in electrical work, I moved to make a full-time career out of it. Eventually, I ended up at Reyff Electric, which is where I’ve been for the last 11 years.”
Today, Chet says his favorite part of his job as a service manager is its rewarding nature. “What I enjoy most is being able to help people. Whether it’s assisting a senior citizen or seeing the look on a customer’s face when we turn on their revamped lighting for the first time, there’s a great feeling that comes from impacting somebody’s life, even if it’s in a small way.”
A lifelong resident of Forestville, Chet expresses his appreciation for the versatile landscape and lifestyle of West Sonoma County. “You can take me out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of me,” he laughs. “I really like the wide variety of landscape features here, from the redwoods to the vineyards to the Russian River. It’s fun to just explore and enjoy everything we have access to.”
Outside of work, Chet spends his time outside of work engaged in hobbies like cooking and reading. “I’m not a professional chef anymore, but I still do a lot of cooking to keep my skills sharp,” he says. “I’m also an avid reader of all types of books. To me, it doesn’t really matter what a book is about as long as it’s well-written.” When he’s not preparing food or absorbed in a novel, Chet enjoys hanging out with family and going on walks with his Australian Shepherd, Sadie.
In regard to his professional career, Chet espouses the importance of customer care. “When Ray Reyff first hired me, he told me his goal was to create lasting customer relationships, not just get wealthy off of one client. In his mind, the company’s purpose wasn’t to make as much money as possible—it was to provide a valuable service to the community. Since then, I’ve tried to apply those values in my daily work by keeping our customers’ best interests at heart.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chet says he’d dust off his chef’s hat and revisit his former livelihood. “I still have a passion for the culinary arts, so if I were to retire and had some money, I might open a restaurant—maybe a steak and seafood place with some French and Caribbean fusion going on.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite kind of food?
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Happy Dog in Sonoma. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure, but if you ask me, they make the best double cheeseburger anywhere.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Q: Do you have a favorite book?
A: “The Stand” by Stephen King.
Q: Do you collect anything?
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