SAN MATEO − Long before he was painting professionally, Daniel Morra had little interest in the trade—or any other, for that matter. “After high school, a couple of general contractors I knew offered to get me involved in the construction business, but it didn’t really appeal to me,” he remembers. However, after helping a friend with a painting project, Daniel caught a glimpse of what would later develop into a successful livelihood. “Everything changed for me in 1999, when I helped my friend paint his new house. I realized that house painting was something I could make a living at and actually enjoy doing as well. I decided to start painting houses on my own, and eventually I took on some employees and became a corporation.”
Today, as president of Innovation Painting Plus, Daniel says he still enjoys the before-and-after transformation that his everyday work entails. “Sometimes we’ll get to work on an old Victorian house that hasn’t been cared for in a long time, and after we’re finished, it makes a huge impact. Seeing the effects of my work keeps me excited and makes me feel good about what I do.”
Born in Argentina to native Italian parents, Daniel came to the United States as a teenager—a transition he describes as hard but manageable. “It wasn’t easy for me, but it was even tougher for my parents, who had difficulty adapting to the language.” Today, as a resident of San Mateo (where he lives with his wife, Angie), Daniel expresses his appreciation for the people of the Bay Area. “I love the people, the way they think and the fact that they come from all different parts of the world. The sheer diversity is pretty extraordinary, especially in San Francisco. It’s not something you see in most other places.”
In keeping with his love of diversity, Daniel devotes as much time as possible outside of work to travel. “Traveling is a big part of my life,” he affirms. “I love seeing different places and meeting different people, both in the U.S. and abroad.” Daniel also enjoys personal hobbies like collecting vintage toys, watching soccer and rugby, and playing with his mini rat terrier, Pine. “From a distance, she looks like a Chihuahua, but she has a different personality than most dogs her size. For instance, she’s a hunter.” In addition to hanging out with his canine cohort, Daniel takes time to keep up with his son, Frederico, who is currently attending college.
In his life and career, Daniel espouses the importance of showing respect for his clientele. “People can tell the difference between a painter who cares and one who doesn’t,” he says. “That’s why I train my employees to treat each house they work on as if it was their own. When you take care of the client’s house and treat it with respect, the client will notice.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Daniel says he’d allot more time to his favorite activity. “I would definitely do a lot more traveling. There are still plenty of places I’d like to see, including Tahiti and the Holy Land.”