NOVATO − Most electrical professionals get their start in the industry by landing an apprenticeship or going to trade school, but for Michael Martins, it all began with rock and roll. “I was a roadie back in the ’70s and ’80s,” he explains. “I worked with almost every band that was popular back then: David Bowie, ZZ Top, Fleetwood Mac, you name it. I got into stage lighting, which was where I learned how to do electrical work. By 1985, I was tired of working every weekend and decided I wanted a nine-to-five job, so I started doing electrical wiring for a general contractor. After that, I worked for an electrical contractor until I eventually decided to strike out on my own.”
Today, as owner of AC Electric, Michael says his favorite part of his job is the satisfaction he gets from lighting up his customers’ lives. “I love transforming my clients’ homes by upgrading their lighting. A lot of times, I’ll come into a house that’s poorly lit and spend the day making improvements, and by the time I leave, everything is bright and looking great. That gives me a good feeling of accomplishment.”
Originally from the East Coast, Michael moved to the Bay Area when he was 18. Today, as a resident of Novato (where he lives with his wife, Deborah), Michael expresses his appreciation for life in the North Bay Area. “You can’t beat the weather, and the people are great, too,” he says. “California is very progressive, so I fit right in here.”
Outside of work, Michael’s favorite pastime is cruising around on his Harley-Davidson. “Deborah and I are weekend warriors, and we’ve put about 30,000 miles on our bike over the last four years,” he affirms. “I think we’ve checked out every road within 300 miles of where we live. One time, we rode all the way to Big Sur, ate some hamburgers and rode home.” Additionally, Michael and his wife enjoy exploring various Bay Area hiking trails with their dog, Sandy Lou.
In reference to a professional philosophy, Michael says the key to success in business is simply making people happy. “I’m big on taking care of people. I always try to give my customers a good value for their money and leave them completely satisfied with my service. I know they appreciate that because I’m able to run my business primarily on referrals, which is only possible if you have a loyal clientele base.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Michael says he’d commence a new life on the road. “I’d buy a 32-foot RV and travel around the country. There’s so much road in the U.S., we could ride every day for the rest of our lives and still not see half of it. I’ve been to about 40 states, and I’d like to show my wife some of the places I’ve been, like Monument Valley, Independence Pass and the Grand Canyon.”