Alex Zink, a 2012 Marion graduate, spent much of his youth being out in nature.
It’s what he enjoyed.
Fishing, hunting, playing sports, helping out on the local farms. If there was an outdoor adventure to be had, he was there.
And after spending much of his adulthood working the factory life, he recently made a career move that better fits his lifestyle.
Last year, Alex started Paint, Stain, Powerwash Solutions. The name of his company says it all: he paints, stains, and powerwashes for local homes and businesses.
And he loves it. After spending years learning from and working alongside his dad, Gary, he decided that now was the time to take control over his career.
We caught up with Alex recently, where we learned a little bit about his life and his company. We learned that Alex Zink is more than just another face in the crowd.
2012 Marion Graduate
Marion Press: Where were you born and raised? What kept you busy growing up?
Alex: Right here in little ol’ Marion. Mostly the outdoors and the river. The Middle Branch kept me pretty occupied as a kid – whether it was fishing, or just being outdoors and enjoying nature.
MP: Where did your love of the outdoors come from?
Alex: It kind of came with the community. Derek Hill – I practically grew up with him – his dad always had a trout pond that we’d fish. But it was probably the Middle Branch that drew me to the fishing atmosphere.
MP: Do you still do a lot of hunting and fishing?
Alex: Oh yeah. I hunt here and there, but mostly fishing has been my go-to. I fish a little bit of everything. Rivers are pretty much a go-to, but I like to do the Wednesday night bass tournaments in the summertime. A lot of locals go to those, so it’s kind of cool to see the community in a competition phase.
MP: What kept you busy in school?
Alex: Athletics. Between athletics and trying to squeeze in time in the outdoors. I played football, basketball, baseball – pretty much the normal trio. Football was most likely my favorite because I was always likely outsized. The challenge was on an everyday basis.
MP: What are some of your favorite memories from school?
Alex: Float building, the extra-curricular activities outside of school. Growing up in a small community, it’s cool to kind of see everybody go on and take their own path.
MP: So you graduated in 2012. What have you been up to over the last 10 years?
Alex: Just working, working, working. Getting some self-employment set up instead of working for the man!
MP: Tell us about your painting company.
Alex: My dad painted for years after high school, after he got out of teaching. So I always took side jobs with him as a kid, and I kind of took to it naturally. With my father showing me how to do it, it was kind of easy. After that, I worked for Four Winns for about 7 years, and still painted on the side. But I realized, if you want to do something in life, you’ve got to go for it – you can either give the check, or you can get the check.
MP: What’s the name of your company, and what kind of jobs do you do?
Alex: Paint, Stain, Powerwash Solutions. We do interior, exterior, stains, cabinets, siding cleaning. I always see houses with siding that needs cleaned. We kind of touch all three bases in one.
MP: What made you decide to start your own business?
Alex: The idea kind of hatched a couple years ago. My dad was getting close to retirement, and I was just finding myself in a dead-end at Four Winns a little bit, being a super good employee. One guy said, “You can either get the check, or you can give the check.” And I was like, you know, there’s no reason these other people who have started a business are more or less better off than me, why can’t I do it? I wanted something that would give me more free time to enjoy life when I have kids, rather than work my butt off… so I set up something that’s self-sufficient, and if it continues, can be passed on to my kids.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Alex: What I enjoy the most, is one, the self-satisfaction of working for myself. But the biggest thing is helping people. I’ve always enjoyed seeing happiness, or satisfaction in other people before myself. And being able to hook somebody up – whether it’s the inside of their home, or the outside of their home – it’s a place where they spend a majority of their life working towards, and to see that become happier for their family to spend time in. That’s really it. I like to see somebody see something and enjoy it better than it was.
MP: What do you enjoy the most about living in this community?
Alex: Well, you know, Michiganders are something different, for sure. And every community that I meander through, there’s always this fishing community. Whether their fully experienced and have dedicated their lives to it, or they did it when they were a kid. But everyone can kind of relate to a water source: whether it’s enjoying the river in the summertime for tubing, or fishing the lakes in the summer for bass, or springtime river steelhead fishing. We have a 365-degree year of seasons that pretty much keep you busy with a source of water. Michigan is the biggest freshwater source in the world, so what other cool way to enjoy Michigan than with our natural waterways? I’ve been places, I’ve been to Canada, and Colorado. There will be a time in my life when I’ll want to travel around and watch the land change from east coast to west coast. But for now, I’m so homebound here, I’m a Michigan boy through and through.
MP: What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Who have been your role models?
Alex: Most of that really was the community, and that goes with pros and cons. Learning off people’s mistakes and learning off people’s achievements. You’ve got to fail sometimes to succeed. If you don’t fail, then you’re not trying hard enough to learn.
MP: What keeps you busy in your free time?
Alex: Helping. Either I’m helping my friends, or working at the Old Log – I’ve been there for five years. And yard work outside. Always hanging out with my buddies kids, and getting them engaged in the outdoors. Nature. Going out and helping people on farms – a lot of them try to give me money, but I just get so much happiness out of their appreciation for somebody’s time. Now a days, that’s hard to find anymore: somebody who don’t mind helping you for nothing.