NOVATO − As a plumbing professional in his home country of England, John Owens became well-versed in servicing radiant and hydronic heating systems, which are commonly found in European homes. Later, when he relocated to the United States, he found a unique opportunity to utilize his imported expertise. “I started my plumbing career while I was a technical studies student in college; I worked on the side as a maintenance plumber at a London hospital,” he remembers. “After moving to the U.S. in the mid-1980s, I focused more on conventional aspects of American plumbing, as boiler heating wasn’t very prevalent here. However, in the late ’80s, there was a resurgence in radiant and hydronic heating, and a market began to grow for it. Since I already had expertise in the field from my prior career in England, it put me ahead of the curve.”
Today, as owner of John Owens Services, Inc., John expresses an appreciation for the character of his Marin County clientele. “As a retail business and service company, we serve the public, and that’s something I really enjoy,” he says. “Working in Marin is particularly great because the vast majority of our customers are educated, successful people who appreciate the work that we do.”
Outside of work, John devotes much of his free time to his primary hobby: bicycles. “I have a big interest in both building and riding bicycles,” he affirms. “I personally build all the bikes that I ride, and I typically change my bike every six months. I particularly enjoy mountain biking through the Marin County area.” Additionally, John likes spending time with his wife, Diana, and their adult daughter, Gillian.
In his professional career, John espouses the importance of having the right focus. “I find that a lot of service companies tend to focus on what’s going to benefit them, which is why they continually make the same mistakes,” he observes. “Over the years, I’ve realized that as a service company, your purpose needs to be serving the customer, not serving yourself, and I think that’s been a major factor in my company’s success.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, John says he’d go back to work. “I would shift my focus toward something like the development of affordable housing. For a time, I worked as a general contractor and did a lot of low-income property projects. I found that kind of work very rewarding, so that’s something I’d like to get back into.”