FOSTER CITY – Dan Ford has been a member of the Silicon Valley community for many years, but before he was painting local homes and commercial properties, he was immersed in an industry more closely associated with the region’s namesake. “I was in software sales for 13 years and actually rose to the rank of senior account manager at IBM,” he recounts. “One day I just decided I didn’t want to do it anymore, and that I wanted to work for myself instead.”
Rather than start from scratch in an entirely new industry, Dan decided to fall back on one with which he had previous experience: painting. “It may sound like a radical change, but for me it was a very synergistic transition,” he says. “I worked in the painting business during my college years, so I was familiar with the trade, but I also learned a lot about customer service in my sales career.” In 2004, Dan founded CertaPro Painters of Silicon Valley.
Today, 10 years after his seminal career transition, Dan says his favorite part of his job is interacting with customers. “I spend a lot of time meeting with potential clients, which is something I really enjoy. Some people are surprised to be meeting directly with the company owner rather than a sales representative, but it’s an approach that enables me to form relationships with my clients from the get-go.”
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Dan first came to the Bay Area on a trip to visit his brother, and he liked it so much that he never left. Twenty-one years later, he continues to appreciate the many benefits of living and working in Northern California. “People complain about how expensive it is to live and do business here, but there are two sides to the coin,” he says. “There are definitely a lot of expenses, but there are also a lot of opportunities in the Bay Area that aren’t available elsewhere.”
When he’s not working, Dan can often be found enjoying the outdoors with his wife, Anamaria, and their three-year-old daughter, Gabriella. “We like to take advantage of the many outdoor opportunities this area affords, whether going for hikes or mountain biking,” he says.
In his career, Dan says the key to success lies in building a good reputation. “At the end of the day, the ability to grow your business within the community you serve is built around one thing: your reputation. There are numerous aspects that go into building your reputation, starting with how you treat your clients and extending to the quality of workmanship you provide.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dan says he’d invest more time into his family and his community. “In addition to being more involved at my daughter’s school, I’d want to do some volunteer work in the area. Like most people, my schedule is spread pretty thin, but if I had more free time, I’d put some of it toward doing things that benefit others.”