Originally from Miami, Dave Rodriguez moved to the Keys 35 years ago with his late father, who passed in 2006. Boy, would that dad be proud. Rodriguez’s company, Superior Electric, has swelled to 37 employees, performing work from Ocean Reef to Key West. He’s been performing good works on the sly, too, say the folks who know him. Besides providing good business service, Rodriguez has two other passions: golf and fishing.
Full name: David Rodriguez.
When did you start Superior Electric? In 2005.
How did you get your start in electrical work? (Laughing) I was a commercial fisherman, but my boat sank. A guy from AM Electric hired me as a helper and I never looked back. Electrical work is a lot easier than commercial fishing.
What’s the most common type of work for Superior Electric? Oh, residential. I enjoy working with people, not for out-of-town companies.
Any commercial work? Sure, we did Havana Jack’s tiki bar, and also installed service for the company doing repairs on the Old 7 Mile Bridge. I think they were going to spend $150,000 on fuel to run the generators, and we were able to install the service for $50,000 so they could be on the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative power grid.
What’s the most common “mistake” you see homeowners making? Overloaded power strips can melt down and catch fire.
Do you ever get calls from customers in the middle of the night? Yes. One time an Ocean Reef resident called because his power was out. I explained to him it would cost thousands more to begin right away, but he didn’t want to wait.
Do you have a motto? The business motto is, “We show up.” I’ll die with that in my head. If you live down here, you understand that’s a big deal.
What’s the best way to save money on your electric bill? Put the water heater on a timer. If you’re gone all day, it doesn’t need to be on. Same with the air conditioner, set it to 78 or 80 when you’re gone for the workday. Those are going to save you a couple of bucks. And, I’m always after my kids to turn the lights off when they leave a room.
How big is your family? There’s me, my wife Amber, my daughter Ria, 17, David Jr., 8, and Sophia, 6. My wife home-schools all three kids and it’s working out great. David Jr. is already reading on a fifth grade level. We have four dogs — two big and two small.
What do you love about Marathon? It’s a small town, and I get to help a lot of people. Marathon is safe and you tend to know your neighbors.
If you could have lunch or dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would that be? My dad. He had a second-grade education in Cuba, where he was a sugar cane farmer. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1968 and was working construction in Miami when he was hit in the head by a golf ball in a freak accident. He was permanently disabled, and it was just the two of us, but he fed probably five or six people a day. He was always cooking and he knew how to stretch the meals to help the people who needed it.
But you love golf? My dad was so mad at me about that!
What’s the best golf movie? “Tin Cup” with Kevin Costner, and in second place, “The Greatest Game Ever Played” with Shia LaBeouf.
Who are your favorite golfers? For old-timers, I would say Ben Hogan and Moe “Pipeline” Norman. Norman shot a 59 three times and a 57 for a course record. I think he had some type of autism, and had a really strange approach to the ball, but he hit it so straight they started calling him “Pipeline.”
Anybody’s golf game that you admire today? I don’t watch very much golf any more, but I would probably say Dustin Johnson. I think he’s underrated.
What’s your best golf score? (With a huge smile) Four under par at Florida Keys Country Club. It was a beautiful thing.
Have you ever been interviewed before? This is only the second time. The first was when there was that plane crash in Marathon on May 8, 2006 — I remember because it was my birthday and I almost took the day off. The plane crashed and me and my guys pulled out one passenger, and the Hot Arc guys pulled out the other. The plane almost hit us.