Nic Ratel: Heating Up
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
GRASS VALLEY — Nic Ratel started working for Water Heaters Only, Inc. part-time during college, but once he decided to go full-time, his career began to heat up fast. “I started out working the late shift, answering customer calls and booking jobs,” he remembers. “At the time, I was studying graphic design and attending classes in the mornings. I actually had some plumbing experience—my father was a maintenance technician and I worked with him a lot throughout high school. At Water Heaters Only, I found that I enjoyed dealing with customers, and I eventually decided to join the company full-time. Over the past 11 years, I’ve worked my way up from answering phones to running the company’s entire Northern California operation.”
Today, Nic says his favorite part of his job is still interacting with customers. “I enjoy talking to people, hearing their stories and helping them with their water heater problems. I love it when I get a call from a customer who’s happy and excited about their experience with us—as a people-person, I find that very fulfilling.”
A resident of Sacramento, Nic spends his free time on a variety of pastimes, from working out to hanging out. “I’m an avid weightlifter,” he reveals. “I have a friend who’s a competitive bodybuilder and we work out together regularly. I also enjoy going four-wheeling, range shooting, and hanging out with friends and family.” Additionally, Nic likes to pursue his passion for music. “I love all kinds of music and play a few different instruments, including trombone, guitar and drums. I don’t play in a band or anything—it’s just something I do for fun on my own.”
In regard to his professional career, Nic espouses the importance of customer care. “Essentially, I try to treat every customer like family,” he explains. “Our technicians are trained to be personable and make sure customers are well taken care of. The goal is that by the end of each job, we’ve not only served a client, we’ve made a friend.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Nic says he’d take his first real vacation. “I’ve been working ever since I got my first work permit at the age of 12. I’ve never taken a real vacation—it’s always been just one or two days here and there. So, if I retired, I would take a week or two and go somewhere tropical, like the Caribbean.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could immediately master a musical instrument, what would you choose?
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Q: Would you rather live in the city or the country?
A: I do appreciate the city, but if I had to choose, I’d probably pick the country. I grew up in Grass Valley, so I’m a country boy at heart.
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: Mementos from life experiences, like photos and concert tickets.