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Gary Kluck is a veteran of the home improvement industry and CEO of Quality First Home Improvement, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2008. He can be reached at (877) 297-8594 or by email.

Gary Kluck

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Gary Kluck: On the Upbeat

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CITRUS HEIGHTS – Gary Kluck has a lot on his plate. Between managing a home improvement company with more than 180 employees to singlehandedly running a household, it’s easy to think the stress might get to him now and then. However, Gary says maintaining a positive outlook goes a long way toward achieving both inner peace and outward success. “I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy. I have a very upbeat personality, so when I do get stressed, I just stay calm and look at the positives of the situation, and pretty soon I’m back to normal.”

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Gary got his start in the construction industry at an early age. “I began working for my father when I was about 12 years old,” he remembers. “He was in home improvement and did a lot of concrete work and rough framing. I started out doing mostly grunt work, but I continued to learn and develop my skills, and I’ve been immersed in it ever since.”

Gary’s westward migration began in the early 1980s and included a five-year stint working in Colorado before he eventually reached Northern California. When the company he had been working for went bankrupt following a change of ownership, Gary reached out for advice on his next move. “I called the original owner of the business and asked him what I should do next,” he recalls. “He said, ‘Go do your own thing.’ I took his advice and started my own company, and it was the best decision I ever made.” Today, nearly a decade later, Quality First Home Improvement, Inc. is going strong with Gary at the helm.

In addition to running a business, Gary is employed as a full-time father and homemaker, raising his youngest of four daughters while his wife, Tamara, is pursuing her own career out-of-state. “A few years back, my wife decided to go to medical school to become a physician,” he explains. “She’s actually in Pennsylvania doing her residency right now, so I’m kind of like Mr. Mom for the next couple years.” Though his responsibilities keep him busy, Gary does find time to play golf with his friends on a regular basis. He also takes advantage of the occasional opportunity to get away from it all. “We have a cabin up at Eagle Lake, and we like to go out there to do some boating and fishing and just enjoy the peacefulness of nature.”

Gary attributes much of his personal and professional success to the power of positive thinking. “We attract what we think and feel, so it’s important to feel great and think great,” he says. “That’s what I tell all my employees, and it’s really how I built the company. When we started, there were four of us; now, there are 181. By putting out positive energy, we’ve been able to attract positive people who want to do good things.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: Green Bay Packers.

Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: Digging up worms in the garden when I was three or four years old.

Q: Do you do any celebrity impersonations?
A: I used to do a pretty good Humphrey Bogart, but it’s been a while.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Playing basketball. I could really jump—as a 6’1” forward, I could out-jump our 6’4” center!

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Sit by the fire.

Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin.

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Steve Daniel is president of Steve Daniel Construction Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (916) 229-9554 or by email.

Steve Daniel

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Steve Daniel: Born to Build

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SACRAMENTO — Raised in the construction trades, Steve Daniel was all but destined to become a builder like his forefathers. “My dad was a contractor and so was my grandfather, so it’s in my blood whether I like it or not,” he laughs. “By the time I was 13, my dad was taking me out on jobs regularly. He worked all the time and always needed help, and who do you think he was going to call to help him? That strapping young man sitting on the couch watching cartoons, that’s who!”

Following high school, Steve attended college, but it wasn’t long before he was back on the construction site. “I went to school with plans to be a chemical engineer, but I got bored with it after a year and a half and went back to work for my dad. In 1981, I got my contractor’s license, and I’ve been building ever since.”

Today, after four decades in the construction industry, Steve says his favorite part of his job is pleasing his clients. “I like to see the customer smile. I enjoy helping people, and it feels good to give someone exactly what they want at a price they can afford.”

A resident of Sacramento (where he lives with his wife, Linda), Steve spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I’m an outdoorsman, so I enjoy camping, hunting and fishing,” he details. “As a matter of fact, I was camping just this past weekend at 10,000 feet, on a mountaintop called Mount Patterson.” As far as day-to-day life, Steve enjoys reading, playing cribbage with Linda, and visiting with his children and grandchildren. “Between Linda and I, there are four kids and eight grandchildren, so we like to spend time with them whenever we get the chance.”

Looking back, Steve credits his professional success in part to his father’s instruction and influence. “My dad instilled a strong work ethic in me,” he explains. “He believed it didn’t take eight hours to do a day’s work, so he would do it in six. But he also put quality first. When he taught you something, you’d first learn how to do it right, and then you picked up speed as you got better at it. It was always quality first with him, whether it was a minor job or the overall project, and that’s the same way I approach the job today.”

When asked what he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Steve says he’d find ways to keep himself busy. “You always need a game; something to keep you creative and active. If you’re just sitting around and watching TV, you’re not being very creative, and that actually shortens your lifespan. So, the first thing I’d do is start on some of the projects I have around the house. That’s the thing about being a contractor—you’re so busy working on other people’s houses that you never get around to working on your own!”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?

A: La Rosa Blanca in Sacramento.

Q: If you could take a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?

A: I’d probably go to Washington, D.C. and visit the Smithsonian.

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?

A: Both—I’m happy with six hours of sleep.

Q: What types of books do you like?

A: I like good stories where the main character has to overcome the odds and win the day. Some of my favorite authors are Clive Cussler, James Rollins and Steve Berry.

Q: What’s your favorite season?

A: Spring. It’s when things come to life after winter. The trees are the greenest they’re going to be and all the colors are vivid. It’s very invigorating.

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