AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN MORA

How did you get into construction?

My interest in construction began as a child when my father put a new roof on our house. I wanted to go up there in the worst way and he wouldn’t let me. This peaked my curiosity. Years later he would remodel our 2 bedroom house into 3 bedrooms. It was walking through the open studded walls & watching the process of this complete transformation from beginning to end that got me hooked.

My professional career began in 1979 when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. It started with all kinds of odd jobs: painting, hauling, road construction (digging ditches, running cable tv, driving dump trucks). I installed garage doors for 4 years and did some welding work as well. Eventually, I landed a union carpenter job but didn’t like the way they built things in “piecework” with low quality. I often had to go behind them and fix all their mistakes. On the good side however, it provided me with good training and helped me build a strong foundation in carpentry.

In 1986 I got a job working for Elmer Dinga Construction as an apprentice carpenter. In 1988, the co-owners split up and I went to work for one of the owners new companies as a superintendent. We built custom homes from the ground up, as well as, additions and remodels… primarily in the Oakland/ Berkeley Hills. Five years later, in 1993, I obtained my general contractors license and started my own company JBM Construction. I’ve been doing home remodels, additions, commercial tenant improvements, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. since.

What do you like the most about your job?

I would have to say meeting and getting to know different kinds of people. I really enjoy being able to give clients something they want….a new kitchen, bathroom, business, etc. I get to deliver that to them. I’m able to help clients make their dreams come true which is a huge honor! I really enjoy the construction process because I get to be a part of making a dream come alive and watch that happen through all the various phases of construction.

What makes you special or unique as a contractor?

  • First and foremost I would say I am a client advocate. It is important for me to make sure my clients are taken care of throughout the process. I try and make the process as painless and as fun for the client as possible. They are the center of what I do and I defend their interests in all aspects of a project, including finishing on time and within their budget.
  • I think it’s important that the relationship between the client and the contractor is a good one. I’ve heard horror stories of people having to fight with their contractors. This absolutely does NOT ever happen on my jobs! I just don’t approach my work that way.
  • I provide high quality work. I do not take short cuts and give attention to detail.
  • I believe in keeping the client informed throughout the process, so there are no surprises….always educating my clients of their options along the way.
  • I try to exceed my clients expectations. Seeing how grateful people are to have a project outcome be even better than they expected… it really is my greatest reward!

What aspect of construction is your favorite?

It changes. Sometimes I really enjoy the framing and seeing the “shell of the structure go up” other times it’s the finish details. When I can, I would say I enjoy the beauty and the challenge of fine finish work the most. It’s difficult having a business and running all the jobs to actually put on my bags and get in there to do the work myself. When I do though… finish carpentry is most definitely my passion.

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