MENLO PARK − Following a year spent living abroad, Mike Rebholtz returned home and started working in a trade that would furnish him with a lifelong career. “I had a buddy whose family lived in Aviano, Italy, right at the foot of the Alps,” he explains. “After I graduated high school, I sold everything I had and went to live there and ski, which lasted a year. After I got back, I needed a real job, so I joined the trade union and started working in HVAC.” As a mechanically inclined individual, Mike says he quickly took to the trade. “I’ve always been good with my hands and liked building things, so working with sheet metal and manufacturing ductwork was something I enjoyed right off the bat.”
In 1985, Mike founded Rebholtz Mechanical, which functioned as a unionized HVAC contracting firm for more than 20 years before closing its doors amid the economic downturn of 2008. In 2011, Mike re-emerged on the professional scene with Alternative Heating & Air Conditioning Solutions, Inc. As his first non-union business venture, Mike says he’s enjoyed the refreshing change of pace. “We’re able to do a lot of things we couldn’t under union constraints, like bring in plumbers and electricians, which allows us to provide our customers with more options. It’s been really fun to get a fresh start after so many years in the industry.”
Originally from the Sacramento region, Mike resides today in Red Bluff Shores with his wife, Julie. When asked his favorite part of living and working in the Bay Area, he says he appreciates the diversity of the population. “I originally planned to move up to Oregon and live in the country, but I’ve grown to like the diversity we have here. Overall, I find that consumers in the Bay Area tend to be very educated and open-minded.”
Outside of work, Mike engages in a wide variety of active pastimes. “I can’t get enough of the outdoors, whether it’s riding my motorcycle, fishing or backpacking in the Sierras,” he says. As a licensed pilot, Mike says he and his wife also enjoy flying to nearby destinations for weekend trips. Additionally, he likes spending time with his three children, Courtney, Shane and Shelby, all of whom are currently attending college.
In regard to his professional career, Mike espouses the importance of doing the right thing. “The main things are to be fair and honest, see things from each customer’s perspective, and give them what they want,” he says. “If a customer wants something that’s not in the contract, I’ll usually tell my guys to include it anyway, because I’m less concerned about who’s right than I am about making sure my customers are happy.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Mike says he’d head out on a long trip. “I’d probably take Julie and the kids and shoot up to Alaska for a few weeks, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. Ideally, I’d like to fly there and stop in Oregon and Washington along the way to visit friends and family.”