Greg Kuzmicki: A Brush with Destiny
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SANTA ROSA – When Greg Kuzmicki first arrived in New York at the age of 13, his initial impressions of the United States weren’t exactly ideal. “Coming from Poland to Brooklyn, New York was a complete culture shock,” he recalls. “All I could think was, ‘Is this all there is?’” However, after visiting his brother in California a few years later, he found a far closer resemblance to the picture of America he’d originally painted in his mind. “The climate was so much better and the people were so much nicer! Thirty-five years later, I’m still enjoying life in the Bay Area.”
Greg has been involved in the painting industry his whole life—he started doing summer work when he was a teenager, and when he moved from the East Coast to California, his first full-time job was with a painting contractor in San Mateo. After working for three painting contractors in San Francisco and Marin over a 12-year span, he finally established his own company, Solidarity Painting, Inc., in 1990. Greg’s professional emphasis on quality was evident in Solidarity Painting’s ability to not only withstand but actually prosper during the economic downturn of 2008. “When many painting businesses were folding, we were actually expanding,” he says. “In 2009, we moved from a 1,000-square-foot shop to a 2,500-square-foot shop.”
After three-plus decades of living and working in the Bay Area, Greg’s initial appreciation of the climate and people hasn’t dwindled a bit. He also enjoys taking advantage of the activities offered by the local topography. “I love hiking, waterskiing and rock climbing,” he says. “One of my favorite things is going to Zion National Park and doing some free climbing. Climbing a couple hundred feet without ropes is quite a thrill—it’s almost the same as getting up on a 40-foot ladder to paint a house!” When he’s not scaling a ladder or a rock face, Greg enjoys spending time with his two children, 19-year-old Monica and 16-year-old Adam.
When asked to sum up his life and career, Greg says one particular quote stands out. “I’ve always said, ‘We are where we are because of the choices we make.’ When you do high-quality work, you can expect a certain amount of repeat clients, and I think the same applies in life. If you try to be a good person and live right, good things will come back your way.” Greg applies this motto to his daily life by sponsoring children in undeveloped counties and lending his time and expertise on goodwill missions to Mexico. Following retirement, he says he would like to do more charity work, both at home and abroad. “I’d love to visit some of the countries where I’ve sponsored kids. As an animal lover, I’d also like to volunteer at a local animal shelter.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: Locally, it’s the 49ers, but I also root for Barcelona in the World Cup Series.
Q: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
A: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.
Q: What’s your favorite season and why?
A: Spring—it’s the beginning of the good painting season.
Q: If someone was making a movie about your life, what actor would you choose to play you?
A: Roberto Benigni, the actor who played the lead in Life is Beautiful.
Q: How do you like your eggs?
A: Over easy.
Q: If you could travel to the past or the future, which would you choose?
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A: The future. We pretty much know what happened in the past from history books, but no one knows what the future will be like.