Bill Shepherd: A Plumbing Affinity
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN JOSE — A third-generation plumber, Bill Shepherd was introduced to the trade at an early age and never looked back. “My family has been doing plumbing since the 1930s, starting with my grandpa,” he recounts. “I did my first job when I was six years old, when I helped my dad install a toilet at a neighbor’s house. From that point on, I basically fell in love with plumbing. I really enjoyed working with my hands and just had a natural ability for it.” During his teen years, Bill regularly worked for his father on afternoons, weekends and during summers before coming on full-time after high school. After 10 years of managing the business, Bill bought his father out and became its sole owner.
Today, as owner of Shepherd’s Plumbing Heating & AC, Inc., Bill says his favorite part of his job is solving tough problems. “I enjoy fixing something that nobody else can. Time and time again, we’re called into customers’ homes to deal with problems that other plumbers haven’t been able to fix. When we provide an effective solution, the customer is very happy, and that’s a great feeling.”
A resident of Sunnyvale (where he lives with his wife, Anna, and their four children), Bill spends his time outside of work on a wide range of active pastimes. “I love my job, but I also love my hobbies,” he says. “I’m a scuba instructor and I teach scuba lessons in Scotts Valley. Most of my family scuba dives as well, so we enjoy doing that as a family. We’re also into fishing, camping, backpacking…basically, if it’s outdoors, we’ve probably done it.” Additionally, Bill and his family regularly engage in charity work through their church, whether locally in their community or in foreign countries.
In regard to his professional career, Bill says his philosophy hinges on two essential values. “When it comes to dealing with customers, we’re all about honesty and integrity. Even if we’re installing something under a house or in the walls where no one is ever going to see it, we still make sure it looks nice and is done properly. Likewise, we’ll never sell customers something they don’t need. If there’s a less expensive solution available, we’ll tell them about it. I believe this approach has helped us build relationships of trust with our customers.”
When asked what he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Bill says he’d become more involved in international charity work. “I don’t ever plan on retiring, but if I did, I would probably spend more time going to impoverished countries and helping those in need. I currently do a fair amount of charity work overseas—for example, after the big earthquake in Haiti, we went down there to help with disaster relief. If I had more free time, I’d look for more opportunities like that.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I’d go back to the mid-19th century. I love that time period and the ideals and people associated with it.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Normandy, Germany, to see the World War II battlefields. I’m a pretty big history buff, so that would be fascinating to see.
Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
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A: Driving in the Bay Area.