Jay Furlong: A Fresh Coat
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
MOUNTAIN VIEW — After finishing college, Jay Furlong could have pursued a career in his field of study, but instead he decided to start fresh in the painting trade. “I have a degree in mechanical engineering and product design,” he explains. “During the summers in college, I did handyman work with a friend, including some painting. After graduation, a lot of my colleagues got design jobs, but I didn’t like the idea of sitting at a cubicle or even working for a boss—I liked the freedom of doing my own thing. I looked at my options and decided to get into painting. Besides having some experience, I’d taken some color design classes in school. Plus, as trades go, painting has a fairly low barrier of entry—all you really need is a roller and some brushes to get started.”
Today, 30 years after founding Stanford Painting, Inc., Jay talks about his two favorite parts of his job. “One is our company’s family atmosphere—we have a very close-knit team, and everyone knows whenever there’s a wedding or a new baby. The other is interacting with our customers. Working in people’s homes is a great way to get rooted in your community, so I really enjoy making connections and building relationships.”
A resident of Palo Alto, Jay spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I like staying fit and going on runs with my dogs in the redwoods and at the beach,” he details. “I also do a ton of stuff with my daughters, Casey, Allie and Jaime. We love cooking and going camping together.” Additionally, Jay enjoys taking occasional trips to Canada and Hawaii, the respective settings for his upbringing.
In regard to his professional career, Jay espouses the importance of having the right focus. “Any business needs to be profitable to stay afloat, but instead of worrying about money, I focus on keeping my employees and clients happy,” he explains. “I do my best to support my employees and make sure they’re getting what they need to thrive in their careers. For my clients, I focus on providing the best possible experiences, as well as a great value for their money. I think when you have the right focus, your profit margins pretty much take care of themselves.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jay says he probably wouldn’t. “I’d probably start another business,” he laughs. “Two of my daughters will be done with college soon, and we’ve talked about a couple of business ideas, so maybe I’d start something up with them.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: LuLu’s at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto.
Q: What’s your favorite kind of music?
A: ’80s music, especially hard rock.
Q: What was your first pet?
A: A squirrel monkey named Chi-Chi. When I was a child growing up in Canada, my mom would catch me on the phone calling the local zoos, trying to buy a monkey. She said, “If we ever move to a tropical place, I’ll get you a monkey.” Lo and behold, we moved to Hawaii two years later, so she followed through and got me a monkey.
Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Corn chips and guacamole.
Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
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A: I’d go back to the 1980s. Maybe it’s because I was a teenager then, but there’s just something special about the ’80s.