Dan Pitcock: High Voltage
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
OAKLAND – Dan Pitcock has been involved in the electrical industry since he was a young man, but there was a span of time during and after college when he had another equally electrifying occupation. “I worked for Bill Graham Presents from the mid ’70s to the early ’80s as a security supervisor at concerts,” he says. “I’m a pretty big guy, so they put me at the front of the stage, which gave me the opportunity to see a lot of iconic bands perform during their heyday. I remember working a Rolling Stones show where Mick Jagger was trying to untie some balloons and asked me if I had a knife. About 20 knives came flying out of the crowd and landed on the stage. He cut the balloons off and everybody cheered as they flew up over the crowd. Another time, I got a Dutch rub from Steven Tyler!”
Long before he was supplying the muscle at rock ‘n’ roll shows, Dan was fully immersed in electrical work. As he describes, it was merely a family affair. “I come from a family of electricians, including my father and my uncles. My parents started Roberts Electric Company in 1960, and I basically grew up in the business. By the time I was 12, I was working during the summers for my parents, and I continued to do that through college. In 1992, I took over the business.” In addition to building on the traditions of quality and service that have characterized Roberts Electric Company since its inception, Dan has put his own spin on things by expanding the business to handle larger commercial and industrial jobs.
While Dan’s role as owner of Roberts Electric Company keeps him busy throughout the workweek, on weekends he’s likely to be on the sidelines at one of his son’s soccer games. “My son, Shane, plays on Bay Oaks, which is a Class 1 team in the Bay Area that competes nationally,” he explains. Dan has been participating in local youth sports ever since Shane, now a high school senior, first got involved with them as a boy. “I coached little league for many years, and I’m on the Board of Directors for a couple youth baseball organizations.” Dan says being a part of his son’s athletic career has been a continual source of enjoyment and paternal bonding. “It’s been something that we’ve been able to share for a number of years, and it’s been a great joy. Shane wants to play soccer in college, so I look forward to supporting him in that as well.”
Looking back on his life and career, Dan takes pride in knowing he’s made a positive impact on his local community. “I’ve always enjoyed helping people and improving their lives through electricity, so it’s very gratifying to know that I’ve been able to make a difference,” he says. When asked what he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dan says he’d spend some time traveling abroad. “I used to speak Spanish and French pretty fluently, so I’d like to visit those countries and get re-immersed in that. I’d also like to get outdoors more and enjoy things like bird watching and hiking.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: Even though I grew up in Oakland, I’ve always been a Giants and 49ers guy. And, of course, I have to support my Cal Bears.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: I like a mix of old school and new school. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of newer stuff like Arcade Fire and Band of Horses, but I also like Led Zeppelin and the classic rock I grew up with. I’m just a child of the ’70s who has lived through all these different phases and learned to appreciate newer styles. I’ve even warmed up a bit to the rap music my son listens to!
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I’d go to the past, because I’d like to see the Bay Area before it became settled and populated. When the first Spanish explorers came through here, they described all kinds of amazing things—whales beached on the Bay, grizzly bears, and huge amounts of birds and fish.
Q: What kind of books do you read?
A: I’ve always enjoyed sci-fi and fantasy books—I used to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy every year—but lately, I’ve been reading historical accounts of life in the United States.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: I’m a big taco truck guy. Oakland has some great taco trucks, so when I’m in the mood, I enjoy a good local taco.
Q: What’s your favorite smell?
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A: Organic roses. The ones that aren’t hybridized have a really amazing perfume.