Russell Calhoon: A Firm Foundation
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ANTIOCH — By the time Russell Calhoon started working for a concrete contractor, he already had a firm foundation in the trades. “I’m a third-generation builder,” he explains. “I grew up in construction and worked for my dad from childhood all the way to adulthood. My dad taught me a lot, both on and off the jobsite. He actually taught apprenticeship classes on roof framing and stair framing at a local college, and I often went with him to those. We eventually became partners in a business that held licenses in foundation work, general construction, plumbing, electrical, solar power and sewer work.”
After his father retired, Russell decided to switch gears and transition from hands-on building to management. “I went to work for some high-end general contractors as an estimator, and from there I progressed to project manager and production manager, which gave me a chance to learn the other side of the business,” he says. “During that time, I also went to construction management school and got my license. Later, while in between jobs, I did some subcontracting work for Paradigm Concrete & Construction. I asked the owners if they knew anyone who needed someone with my skills, and they said they did. Ten years later, I’m still here.”
Today, as project manager at Paradigm Concrete & Construction, Inc., Russell says his diverse professional experience continues to benefit him in his day-to-day work. “Having a background in all aspects of construction is really helpful because it enables me to look at each project as a whole. This allows me to properly prepare for each individual phase and prevent problems for subsequent subcontractors on the job.”
A resident of Martinez (where he lives with his partner, Lanakila), Russell spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “My main activity outside of work is bocce ball,” he details. “I belong to the Martinez Bocce Federation and I’m a two-time national champion—I won titles in 1996 and 2003. I also enjoy sailing, which I’ve been doing all my life. I got my sailing license when I was nine years old.” Additionally, Russell enjoys going to the movies and spending time with his two adult sons, Alex and Ryan.
In regard to his professional career, Russell espouses the importance of fairness. “I believe a contractor deserves to make money and their client deserves a quality job for a fair price,” he explains. “As a contractor, if you aren’t being fair with your clients, you aren’t going to last in this business. It’s all about maintaining that balance of mutual benefit.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: The Warehouse Cafe in Port Costa. They have awesome prime rib.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Hang out with Lanakila and watch a movie or play cards.
Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: Neither—I like being in the moment.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect Mexican folk art.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Tahiti. My father planned to sail there with me when I was a kid and we never did, but I’m still planning to get there someday.Read more