Steve Hand: A Love for the Trade
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
PETALUMA — A lifelong builder, Steve Hand is passionate about the work that he does. Case in point: Even after switching careers due to an economic recession, he managed to find his way back to the livelihood he loved. “I spent my early career working as a carpenter, doing everything from remodeling bathrooms to building entire homes,” he recounts. “When the recession hit in the early 1980s, I left the trade for a while and became an auto mechanic. I actually ended up getting ASE Certified and working for Toyota for 10 years.” However, despite finding success in another field, Steve couldn’t stay away from his former occupation for long. “I started doing handyman work on the side for my daughter’s property management company. At first, it was mostly small jobs, but it made me realize how much I missed building. Eventually, I decided to get my license and return full-time to the trade.”
Today, as president of The Hand Group Inc., Steve says his favorite part of his job is the customer interaction. “At this point in my career, I’m not doing the hands-on work; rather, I supervise projects and work with customers. In particular, I enjoy the opportunity to be more directly involved with my clients.”
Originally from Albany, New York, Steve says he moved to the Bay Area on a lark. “I first came to the Bay Area to visit my sister. It was February and I said, ‘This is your winter weather? This is fabulous! I have to find a job here!’” Today, as a resident of Petaluma (where he lives with his wife and business partner, Pat), Steve expresses his appreciation for his adopted hometown. “Petaluma used to be a little cow town, but it has grown into a beautiful city. It’s a great place to live and work.”
Outside of work, Steve spends as much time as he can on the water. “We do a lot of boating on the delta,” he affirms. “That’s another nice thing about living in the Bay Area: you can boat all year-round!” Steve also likes spending quality time with his family. “My son is a foreman for a local construction company and my daughter works for a mortgage company. I also have three grandchildren, who I like to see as often as possible.”
In his life and career, Steve espouses the importance of staying positive. “Don’t look back; just go forward,” he advises. “Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially as you get older, but it’ll take you a long way. It certainly helps if you’re doing something you like for a living. Personally, I enjoy running our company and working together with my employees and customers—it’s fun! There’s no point in going to a job that you hate, so I recommend finding something you enjoy.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Steve says he’d devote more time to his favorite activities. “I’d spend as much time as I could with my grandkids and riding around in my boat. It’s like I said: You have to do what you enjoy.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: For baseball, it’s the San Francisco Giants, and for football, it’s the Green Bay Packers.
Q: What was your first car?
A: A Volkswagen bus.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Q: The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
A: The Beatles.
Q: If someone made a movie about your life, what actor would you want to play you?
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A: Johnny Depp, because he can play both a hero and a villain.