Best Philadelphia Contractors of 2009
Brad Brown Electric | Wynnewood, Pa.
Before Brad Brown begins an electrical job for a customer, the yoga enthusiast makes sure his own spiritual wiring is correct. "Each day, I meditate. I make sure I'm in a good mood," he says.
Marilyn Amento of Ambler is one of many Angie's List members who gave Brown all A's for his work. The company has six Pages of Happiness nominations this year.
"He's pretty much a perfectionist," she says of the projects he's done for her, including installing outside electrical outlets for her Christmas lights and path lights for her sidewalk. "He actually went with me to the store to help me pick out the ones I wanted."
Sharon Weinstein of Wynnewood praised his communication. "He didn't assume anything," she says. "He even called me from the hardware store with options."
Brown also was tolerant of Debra Will's puppy, who she says barked incessantly while he fixed an electrical problem in her Ardmore home.
Brown, who is trade licensed in Philadelphia and the state, says he's just doing what he loves. "When people receive truly excellent service, there's this energy that comes around," he says.
"It gives me great joy to produce that experience for people."
Artistic Masonry | Swarthmore, Pa.
For the second year in a row, Carl Yockey of Artistic Masonry has been named one of the Best Contractors in Philadelphia.
Michelle Appalucci of Bryn Mawr says Yockey, who garnered 10 Pages of Happiness nominations this year, deserves the honor for his attention to detail and diligent communication.
Appalucci says he helped her create a patio that was beautiful and within her budget. Some of her ideas proved too expensive, but he worked with her, she says. Yockey's background as an artist also appealed to her.
"I'm a graphic designer," she says. "He has a good eye on top of really knowing what he's doing. It worked out great."
Alan Millen of Wayne hired Yockey to rebuild a wall in his garage, re-stucco a chimney and fill in two window wells. Beyond doing excellent work, Millen says Yockey and his crew were unusually punctual.
"They were early most of the time," he says.
Silvia LeBlanc of Philadelphia says Artistic Masonry recemented her basement walls and the crew allowed her son to watch the process.
Yockey, who is trade licensed in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, says one of the keys to his success is communication.
"They don't just want to hope and pray you are doing it right," says the six-time Super Service Award winner. "They like to have the information."
Petro Computer Solutions | Havertown, Pa.
"Above and beyond" is a phrase that comes up repeatedly when members talk about Michael Petro, who has four Pages of Happiness nominations this year.
Chris Tobin of Aston called Petro when his hard drive crashed. "It was a complete meltdown," Tobin says. "A little over 24 hours later, I was completely back up and running at a cost that was reasonable."
Tobin also appreciated Petro's advice on software and ways to configure his computer. "He could have just come and replaced the hard drive because that was all he was being paid to do," Tobin says. "He went way above and beyond."
Joan Ellis of Berwyn appreciated Petro's communication style when her computer died.
"I'm late middle age. I'm not one of the young, savvy generation," she says. "He was respectful and realized where I was coming from. He was totally gracious to deal with and not at all impatient."
Petro, who isn't required to be licensed, says his experience in corporate IT taught him the importance of customer service.
"I do not just spew technical jargon to customers expecting them to understand," he says. "I try to use a lot of analogies to explain computer-related questions in a non-technical way."
— reporting by Matthew Brady