CJ & Son Painting
CJ grew up in Newburgh, NY, and his wife, Courtney grew up in Aurora, IL. “I learned most of what I know from my dad, Craig Kish. He owns Craig Kish Painting in Hudson Valley, NY. He fostered my passion for painting and continues to help me develop. I often refer to our technique as ‘The Craig Kish Method’. My son Austin is 12 years old and a daily inspiration for me. He motivated me to start CJ & Son Painting. I have a finance degree and tried the white-collar lifestyle, but it wasn’t for me.” It’s obvious that painting is more like a sport than work for CJ.
“It’s all about speed and accuracy. I was missing that when I wore a suit and tie to work."
The business side of things, however, gives me my finance/sales fix, which is imperative since I am a numbers guy. I get to be an owner, a coach, and a player every day of my life, and I love it. Everybody wants to be the best at something…I want to be the best Painter. I am so grateful that my wife, Courtney, has embraced this goal as well. We are constantly competing to better ourselves. Becoming a ‘Ma and Pa’ team has given us the freedom to have a fun, enjoyable life. We create our own schedule so we never miss any of Austin’s school functions. We travel when we want, and we see our family more often. Opening a painting business has given us the life we’ve always dreamed of.”
CJ was originally invited to a PDCA golf outing held by the Michigan Great Lakes Council. “I had a blast with all the great members of the Council. I had never golfed before, but I had a new set of clubs gathering dust in my garage. PDCA is the reason I no longer have dust on my golf clubs…..and probably never will.”
CJ has found round-table meetings with other members of the Michigan Great Lakes group to be very valuable. “It’s great to ask every question I’ve compiled throughout the month during our monthly meeting. They’ve shared wisdom that you cannot put a price tag on. These guys know painting. We laugh. We cry. It’s all good….always positive.”
PDCA has had a tremendous impact on CJ’s business.
“We are all about quality, and PDCA Industry Standards line up with my own expectations. PDCA provides a seamless blueprint on how to run the best Painting Company you possibly can. It’s all about quality and culture."
When I launched CJ & Son Painting a couple years back, I imagined employing two people and working on one project a week, tops. Now, with the help and support of PDCA, we feel CJ & Son Painting is without a doubt - The Future of Painting. PDCA has helped me to see what the future of painting looks like.”
Like all painting contractors, CJ faces challenges. One is the ever-changing landscape facing the painting industry. “The employee pool has shrunk since the world became digital. Talented employees get their talent from their Boss…their Coach…their Mentor. Most contractors I know blame the world for their untalented employees. After employing 5 or 6 untalented employees I finally looked in the mirror. I was at fault. Now I have a sound training program. Those who say ‘the younger generation has no work ethic’, and ‘women don’t belong on the job site because they can’t cut it’ have bought in to the archaic rhetoric of negative business owners who don’t have a sound training program. Positivity breeds positivity. Age does not matter! Gender, especially, does not matter!”
CJ’s answer to some of these problems is best expressed in his words. “Stay several moves ahead in the game. The light bulb came on when my wife, Courtney, started painting with me and became my business partner last October. She brings elements of quality in craftsmanship and energy to the table that I’ve never had on my own or on all-male crews. After a couple months I started hiring females and focusing more on balance in my crew.” CJ bids lots of jobs that involve working for a single female home-owner. He has found they are more comfortable knowing there will be ladies on his painting crew. “The experience we provide to the homeowner is unmatchable. Courtney and the other young ladies on our crew have an attention to detail that most men simply do not have. Having the ladies on board softens the experience we provide to the homeowner. They are truly able to relax throughout the project.”
CJ’s advice to fellow members?
“Get involved and stay involved. Always be open-minded to making changes in your program. No matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn.”