McKinley Thompson

McKinley Thompson: A Colorful Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SAN ANSELMOWhen asked how he got started in the house painting business, McKinley Thompson credits a couple of formative factors. Growing up, my family purchased a lot of real estate, and I used to help fix up those homes, part of which involved painting, he remembers. Also, both of my parents have artistic backgroundsmy mom actually has a degree in art. So, I think that instilled some of the artistic qualities in me that I’ve brought to my trade.

Following high school, McKinley put himself through college by working for his brother-in-law, who was a painting contractor. By the time he graduated, he’d come to a surprising realization. It occurred to me that the whole time I’d been painting my way through college, I’d done really well and learned a lot about the industry, he says. I also enjoyed it, so I decided to just keep doing it.

Today, as owner of McKinley Painting Inc., McKinley says his favorite parts of his job are interacting with clients and working with color. I enjoy helping people, so I’m always happy to educate my customers and save them money where I can. I also like the color aspect quite a bit. During my many years as a painter, I’ve developed a clear and intuitive sense for color coordination, which is something I take a lot of pride in.

Born and raised in Berkeley, McKinley resides today in San Anselmo, where he spends most of his free time pursuing his passion for cycling and physical fitness. I’m an avid cyclist, so once I’m off work, I throw on my bike clothes and hit the road, he says. I’m on a competitive racing team in Marin, and my dream is to one day be the fastest guy in the United States on a bike. In addition to cycling, McKinley enjoys outdoor activities like backpacking, rock climbing and sailing, as well as at-home pastimes like cooking, reading and watching movies.

In his life and career, McKinley espouses the importance of setting yourself up for success. Whatever you’re doing, you have to plant the seeds of success, he affirms. If you’re doing physical fitness training, for instance, you have to be ready for the workout by being rested and having the right amount of food and water. It’s the same with paintingif I use inferior products and don’t prepare a building properly, I won’t be happy and neither will the client. So, I think you really have to be dedicated to succeed at what you’re doing.

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, McKinley says he’d slow down a bit and do some travelling. I’d like to have a little more time to relax, meditate, and be with friends and family. I’d also love to travel more. I’ve been to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, but I’ve never been to South America, so I’d probably do an extensive trip there.

Ask Me Anything!

Coffee or tea?

A: Coffee.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

A: Work on a home improvement project or cook something in the kitchen.

What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

A: Either oatmeal with fruit and nuts or poached eggs on toast with a little bit of protein powder. It’s a great way to start the day!

What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?

A: I don’t know if it was my favorite, but one year my parents turned me into a stoplight. I wore a yellow rain slicker and had a big box over me that had yellow, green, and red lights in it. I also had a flashlight, which I could shine behind whatever light I wanted to light up. That kind of shows you my parents’ artistic side.

What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?

A: When I was a kid, I climbed up a 40-foot rock with no ropes and fell off the top. I broke my arm and got a really bad concussion. Fortunately, when you’re a kid, you heal a lot faster than you do as an adult.