Gary Robertson: A Lifelong Builder
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
WALNUT CREEK — Reflecting on a career that spans more than four decades, Gary Robertson says his beginnings as a builder go all the way back to childhood. “My grandfather was a builder in Canada, and when we visited, he would have me work with him on different projects,” he remembers. “During my teen years, I would work during the summer for various contractors doing things like painting and repairs. In 1976, I moved from my home state of Massachusetts to Northern California, where I started a small handyman business. Over the next few years, I got my painting and general contractor licenses and continued to grow my business into a full-scale remodeling firm.”
Today, as owner of Robertson Renovations, Gary says his favorite part of his job is turning each client’s vision into reality. “I enjoy interacting with customers, finding out their desires for their projects and seeing their reactions when we deliver the results.”
A resident of Santa Cruz (where he lives with his partner, Heidi), Gary spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I’m an avid surfer, though I haven’t been doing much of that lately due to an ACL injury,” he details. “I also enjoy mountain biking and woodworking. Heidi’s and my biggest hobby is gardening—we grow all types of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Heidi is a retired teacher, and each year she donates several plants to local schools for their fundraiser auctions.”
In regard to his life and career, Gary espouses the importance of being fully invested. “I live life to the fullest, and that’s also how I approach my business,” he explains. “My crew and I always give 100 percent to whatever we’re doing. As far as the day to day, I try to be appreciative of what I have, give whenever I can and be present in whatever I’m doing.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Gary says he’d relocate to a tropical locale. “I’d move to the big island in Hawaii and continue to garden, but with more tropical plants. We actually had a property in Hawaii we were going to build on, but we lost it to a volcano. It’s now under 90 feet of lava, so we’re currently looking at other possible locations. Worst-case scenario, I may just stay here in Santa Cruz. Our current home is only six blocks from the beach, so that’s not bad.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite Bay Area restaurant?
A: The French Laundry in Yountville.
Q: If you could go surfing anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: New Zealand. There’s a coastal town called Raglan that has really nice waves.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sometimes, Heidi and I will go for a walk in the rain. Other times, we’ll stay inside, relax and do a puzzle.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: Neither—I’m happy right here in the present.
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