Sean O’Brien: Roofing Livelihood
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
DUBLIN — When Sean O’Brien first started roofing as a teenager, it was just a way to make money on the weekends—he never realized it would lead to a lifelong livelihood. “During high school, I had a friend whose dad owned a roofing company, so we got recruited to help out on the weekends,” he remembers. “After graduating, I wanted to get into some aspect of construction, and since I had some experience with roofing, I figured that would be an ‘in.’ So, I walked into the largest union roofing company in Sonoma County, met the owner and somehow convinced him to hire me. To this day, I appreciate him for giving me a chance, because I’ve enjoyed my career in the roofing industry very much.”
Today, as general manager of Sierra Roofing & Solar, Sean says his favorite part of his job is serving customers. “At the heart of it, we’re a service company, and the service side is what I enjoy most. I just like going to customers’ homes and being the guy who can provide the service they need. That’s always been the thing that drives me, and I continue to find it rewarding.”
A lifetime Bay Area resident, Sean says there’s no place he’d rather be. “I spent my younger years in Marin and Sonoma Counties before moving to the East Bay in 2003. After all these years, I still think the Bay Area is the greatest place on earth. The weather, the people, the beaches, the mountains, the redwood trees…I love this place!”
Outside of work, Sean engages in a variety of active pastimes, from sports to family gatherings. “I enjoy playing golf, going to San Francisco Giants games and hanging out with my family,” he says. “Besides my wife, Sharon, and my two grown children, Kevin and Christina, I have a lot of family in the area, including my mom, four sisters and several cousins, so we spend a lot of time together.” However, as much as Sean likes staying active, every so often he likes to just unwind. “Going to the beach is the number one way I like to relax. Now that I live in the East Bay, I go out to Half Moon Bay most weekends to enjoy the serenity of the ocean.”
In his life and career, Sean espouses the importance of maintaining a temperate perspective. “I’ve found it’s always best to consider the long term and not get too caught up in what’s happening in the moment—especially if things aren’t going your way,” he advises. “Instead of getting frustrated by a momentary setback, it’s better to look at the big picture and do the best you can. After all, even if today wasn’t your best day, you get another shot tomorrow morning. The same is true if you’re having a great day—you should take pride in doing well, but you should also keep in mind that tomorrow may not be as successful. Basically, it’s all about keeping an even keel and doing the best you can every day.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Sean says he’d head to the golf course. “If the weather was nice, the first thing I’d do is grab my clubs and play a round of golf while everybody else is at work and the course is empty. In the long term, I hope to do a lot of traveling. My wife is already semi-retired, so we’re starting to look at places we’d like to visit when that time arrives.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird—I can’t remember the last time I stayed up past 9:30pm.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving. It’s like Christmas but without all the stress of buying gifts—just good food and good times with family.
Q: Music or talk radio?
A: I like them both. I usually toggle between NPR, sports talk and various music stations.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My baseball. Give me a glove, a bat, and a ball and I was a happy kid.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
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A: Gummy bears.