Beyond the Boardroom

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Richard Kirby

Author: Alexandra Russell
August, 2015 Issue

In 2003, Kirby Construction was founded in Santa Rosa with the simple idea of providing quality construction in a responsive manner and at competitive costs. With his degree in construction management from Cal Poly SLO and experience working at some of the largest construction companies in the Bay Area, Richard Kirby formed a solid foundation for his new company. Within months, he partnered with York Saccomanno, who brought additional years of experience in construction to manage the rapid growth of their business. The two had known each other since grade school and had worked together, off and on, since their late teens. Today, the partners continue to lead with a shared vision and company heritage of safety, quality, schedule and value. In 2011, Kirby Construction was voted BEST Contractor/Builder in the NorthBay biz Readers Poll.
 
Where did you grow up?
I followed the North Bay education and career path: I started at Petaluma High School, went through Santa Rosa Junior College then on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After graduation, I worked my way back from south San Francisco to Santa Rosa. 
 
What got you interested in a career in construction?
Building is in my blood.
 
How long have you been in business?
I started in construction the summer between eighth grade and high school, so I’ve been in the business 30 Years.
 
Are you married?
I’ve been married for 16 years, almost all of them great. 
 
Do you have a big family?
I have three incredible children. Ava will be starting high school this fall, and Emmett (5) will be joining his sister, Laurel (10), at elementary school.
 
What do you love to do outside of work?
Be with my family, hike, bike, run, adventure, travel, go fast, do dangerous things, expand my knowledge, blow my mind and daydream.
 
Describe one of your wildest life moments.
I’ve done a lot of crazy things, but the wildest moments in my life have been the birth of my children. 
 
Are you a creature of habit?
I hope not. Although every day is completely different, I’m still stuck in the same head.
 
What TV programs did you love as a child?
We didn’t have the luxury of a TV in my childhood. 
 
What was your first car?
My first car was a Fiat that cost $400. It didn’t run the day I got it, and it didn’t run the day I gave it away. 
 
Who’s your favorite singer or band?
I’m torn between Willie Nelson and Beyoncé
 
What was the last movie you saw?
“Mad Max: Fury Road.” I loved it.
 
In what situations are you most uncomfortable?
I’m uncomfortable with doctors. You never know if they’re going to want you to drop your pants or something. 
 
What do you do to relax?
I ride a mountain bike as fast as I can.
 
What food do you eat almost every day?
Bananas
 
What lesson did you have to learn the hard way?
I’m afraid every lesson I’ve learned has happened the hard way. 
 
What big challenge have you taken on?
In April 2014, I started training at Rincon Valley Fire Department’s Fire Academy. After final testing and successful completion of a one-year probation, three of us were issued pagers and allowed to respond to calls. It’s a big commitment for the volunteers as well as the full-time staff. RVFD is serious about its personnel and expects everyone to work together efficiently and safely. There’s a lot of pride in the department—pride that’s earned, not given.
 
I joined because of a calling in my heart that may have been put there by another volunteer. When I was a child, my grandfather suffered a major heart attack; a volunteer fireman was close by, gave him CPR and added another 15 years to his life. My grandfather was very important to me, and those 15 years were priceless.
 
That…and my wife thinks firemen are hot.

 

 

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