Eric Kennedy: A Clear Career
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
NOVATO — When Eric Kennedy started cleaning windows for additional income during college, he never thought it would lead to a lifelong livelihood. “My roommate and I were looking for a way to make some extra money, so we decided to try window cleaning,” he recounts. “We bought some tools, went out and did a couple of stores at the Northgate Mall. We did OK, but it didn’t really go anywhere, so I got a job working for a local window cleaning company where I could get formally trained. It turned out to be a natural fit—I enjoyed the physical work, as well as getting to work in and around beautiful homes all day. Almost 30 years later, I’m now co-owner of the same company I first started working for, along with my business partner, Damon Turner.”
As co-owner of Smart Window Cleaning, Eric says he appreciates the balance his position affords. “I’m not out cleaning windows anymore—I work in the office now—but I enjoy training our employees and passing on my knowledge of the trade. I also go out and do estimates for homeowners around the Bay Area, which gives me a nice balance between working in the office and being out in the field.”
A resident of Petaluma (where he lives with his wife, Suk Yen, and stepson, Aiden), Eric expresses his appreciation for its mellow pace of life. “It’s hard to beat North Bay living, especially here in Petaluma. In particular, my family and I love the Petaluma downtown area—besides having a historic aesthetic, it just has a good vibe.”
Outside of work, Eric can often be found riding bicycles with his family. “We like to put our bikes on the car and go riding in different spots around the Bay Area, like Tiburon or along the San Francisco Marina,” he says. “We also like eating out and going to the movies.”
In regard to his professional career, Eric acknowledges the contributions his employees have made to his company’s ongoing success. “The fact that what we do is seasonal can make it hard to retain employees, so we’ve been very fortunate that they keep coming back,” he explains. “If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be successful, so we really appreciate them and make an effort to maintain those relationships. It gives us a lot of pride that they continue to be a part of our team.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Eric he’d spend more time abroad. “My wife and I have a dream of buying a second home in Indonesia, which is where she’s from, and living abroad part-time. We’d continue to maintain a home here, so we could just go back and forth as we pleased. Hopefully that’s something we can afford to do one day.”
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: For Mexican food, it’s Mi Pueblo; for Vietnamese, we go to Thang Long; and for Italian, we like Sugo Trattoria.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: My skateboard.
Q: If you could immediate master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The piano.
Q: Would you rather live in the city or the country?
A: Probably the country. Fortunately, Petaluma has a nice mix of both, so I appreciate that.