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Hes happy to have even a hot job
Jon Tapia of Arvin Home Systems cuts a piece of wire for a project he’s preparing to work on the next day. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Most people who work outdoors in the summer will find just about every way possible to escape the punishing rays of the sun.

For Jon Tapia – who works as an installer for Arvin Home Systems – a portion of his days include crawling around inside of attics where the temperature can easily top 140 degrees. It isn’t uncommon for him to find rotting rodent corpses and enough spiders to fill a haunted house.

With unemployment in Manteca topping 14 percent, Tapia – a 2004 graduate of Sierra High School – says that he’s fortunate that he’s been able to hold down a job like this for several years that he enjoys doing.

“Some days it’s hot and some days it’s itchy, but each day you’re somewhere different and you get the chance to meet new people like homeowners,” Tapia said. “I like working with the guys that I work with, and this is something that I want to keep doing.”

With his AHS van full of everything from boxes of CAT-5 cables to tools, Tapia has to be prepared for just about anything when he shows up on site for a job that can be as easy as hanging some outdoor speakers or as complicated as running hidden wire for a wall-mounted television that comes complete with its own hidden outlet box.

So with his leather tool belt fastened Tapia heads to work for a company that specializes in offering custom electronic implements for homeowners – from full-on home theater systems to central vacuum systems with the hoses hidden within the walls.

“Throughout the day I’m just out there doing what I’m supposed to be doing and taking care of the customers’ needs,” Tapia said. “A lot of it is running wires, but I think that I’ve gotten pretty good at what I do on a daily basis, and I just try and do the best that I can so that the customer is happy with what they’re getting.”

Changes  in technology have made Tapia’s job even more in demand than ever before.

While the large scale tube televisions required massive entertainment centers or large stands, the rectangular flat-screens of today can be lifted with only hand and hung on the wall to both save space and offer an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

But if you’re going to take the time to hang that tube on the wall, you might as well take the time to hide the wires that you need to connect to the cable or satellite box, the Blu-ray player, or the video game console.

It’s the sort of mentality that keeps people like Tapia employed, and every time he climbs behind the wheel of his company van he feels fortunate.

“It’s good to have a job right now and know that I’m going to be able to go in tomorrow,” he said. “Sometimes it can be a little rough – there’s really nothing you can do to beat the heat and we’re still in the middle of that season.

“But all-in-all seeing a finished product and a happy customer makes everything you have to overcome worth it.”