Jim Gitas: Green Aspirations
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
PLEASANTON — Before he was providing energy solutions for Bay Area homeowners, Jim Gitas had an accomplished career in a different type of Green business. “I used to own one of the largest independent mobile paper shredding companies in the Bay Area,” he explains. “I got started working with my mom when I was nine years old. She was a pioneer in the recycling industry—in 1979, she created one of the first mobile document shredding trucks. I remember riding in the passenger seat and watching people’s reactions as this huge beast roared down the street. When I reached adulthood, I decided to keep working in the recycling industry, and that’s where I stayed for 20 years until I sold my company.”
While Jim could have retired comfortably at this point, he felt there were still big things in store for his professional career. “I was too young to retire and decided I wanted to get into another aspect of Green business,” he says. “I was particularly intrigued by solar and started researching it. In 2007, I started my own solar and energy efficiency company, and I’m still at it today. I’ve been trying to break the laws of physics since I was a kid, so this is the closest I can get to doing it!”
Today, as CEO of Your Energy Solutions, Jim says his favorite part of his job is interacting with customers. “Besides having a passion for renewable energy, I really enjoy meeting different people. My job allows me to do that and enrich their lives as well, which is very rewarding. I’ve had many customers contact me over the years and tell me how happy they are about their decision to switch to solar. When everyone is happy, it makes your job very enjoyable.”
A resident of Danville (where he lives with his wife and two children), Jim likes to stay active in his free time. “I walk 10 miles a day during the week and try to get in a 20-mile walk on the weekend,” he says. “It was actually my dog, Revel, who got me into walking. He’s half Pomeranian and half Husky, both of which are very hyper breeds, so he needs to walk a lot to get all that energy out.” Jim also enjoys aquatic activities like fishing and jet skiing, and he has a special passion for music. “I play piano a little bit and was a singer when I was younger. Both of my kids are very involved in music, so we’ve kind of become a musical family, which has been a really cool experience.”
In regard to a professional philosophy, Jim shares a bit of wisdom he received from his mother. “My mom imparted a lot of her values to me and my brothers, and we all carry that forward to this day,” he affirms. “The biggest lesson I learned from her is to treat your customers the same way you want to be treated. We’re all customers at some point, so it’s important to show your customers respect and treat them ethically and honestly. If you plant good seeds, you get good fruit, so that’s what I try to do every day.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The guitar. I’ve never really been able to play it because my fingers are too big.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Both. I only sleep about four hours a day—I go to bed around 2am and get up around 6am.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: Those big, wooden cable spools. As a kid, I found one and learned how to stand up and walk around on it, kind of like a unicycle. To this day, if I see one, I’ll jump up on it and roll around. It really trips people out!
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
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A: Ice cream.