Beyond the Boardroom

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Jeff Blakeslee

Author: Alexandra Russell
December, 2015 Issue

Jeff Blakeslee


Born and raised in Santa Rosa, Jeff Blakeslee is deeply connected to his Sonoma County home. “My father, John Blakeslee, founded Blakeslee Electric in 1963 as a sole proprietorship,” he says. “The company was incorporated in 1983, and I purchased it in 1987. It was a small company at the time with just six employees.”

The company has grown under his watch, providing not only electrical services to Northern California commercial, industrial and residential customers, but also the latest technology in preventative maintenance and power quality analysis. It also has a full-service telecom department and offers ground-up solutions for both new construction and retrofits.

What did you do professionally before joining the family company?

I was involved with the electrical industry, working for my father, from a young age. Back then, you could have your 13-year-old son on the job all summer and nobody said anything about it. During my high school years and while attending SRJC, I also worked at a local company called Wolfard Glass Blowing. There, I did everything from maintaining machinery to mowing the lawn. It was a great job that provided work hours that made it possible for me to work and go to school.

What’s appealing about your industry?

I really feel like I was born for this industry. Modern electrical and telecommunications systems are complicated, and to be at the top of your game you have to embrace technical processes. Anybody who knows me understands that anything technical and detailed is right in my wheelhouse.

Do you have a big family?

Not too big, just two boys, 14 and 18 years of age, plus one useless cat.

Are you married?

I’ve had the privilege of being married to my wife, Diane, for more than 32 years.

Did you go to college?

College wasn’t my thing. After graduating from Santa Rosa High School, I attended a couple years of business courses at the SRJC and decided to go to work full time. I think Albert Einstein was right when he said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

What do you love to do outside of work?

Family, of course, is a given. Both of my sons are into music and hockey (I think in that order), and there are many events for both of those activities. My boys and I also enjoy off-road motorcycle riding when we can get a free day at the same time.

For myself, I play guitar in a local country band and restore classic cars. I can’t decide which I like better, and I seem to need a balance of both to make it all work. Diane and I also like to explore breakfast locations around Sonoma County on Sunday mornings, often in a classic car.

Describe one of your happiest life moments.

I can remember times with each of my boys, when they were just months old, and I would turn on the music and dance them to sleep. I knew instinctively that I was forming an unbreakable bond with them, and I remember thinking, “Wow, what if I’d missed this?” I hope this routine contributed to the love of music and natural rhythm they both have.

How much poetry have you written in your life?

None, but I’ve written a few songs.

If you could go back in time to any era, what date would you choose?

Not that far back actually—just far enough that honesty, respect and personal responsibility were more important than political correctness and your Facebook profile. Hopefully, that would be far enough back that I could somehow anticipate and foil the invention of cell phones.

What’s your idea of a great dessert?

It’s still hard to beat apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

What the hobby or activity that takes up most of your time outside of work?

Guitar. I love (and hate) that the better you get, the more there is to learn.

What song would be absolute torture to have to sit through over and over again?

Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart.”

What subject didn’t you pay attention to in school that you now wish you had?

History. It turns out to be kind of important—who knew?

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?

That would be the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Assembly Manual. And no, I wouldn’t recommend it. The ending is predictable.

What would you like to be known for?

I’d like my family to think I’m a good father and husband. After that, it would be nice to be thought of as a positive influence on the folks I associate with.



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