Dan Parker: Different Strokes
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
PETALUMA — When Dan Parker began working for a painting company after high school, he had no idea he’d one day be the owner—not to mention part of the former owner’s family. “My father was a painter, so I learned the trade by working with him on weekends,” he recounts. “Following high school, I went to work for a family friend named Peter Inglis, who owned Stroke & Kote Painting, Marin. About 15 years in, I married his daughter, Leah, at which point I became his son-in-law as well as his employee. Recently, Peter decided to retire, so Leah and I have taken over the business.”
Today, Dan says his favorite part of his job is coordinating the many moving parts involved in the company’s day-to-day operations. “There’s a lot to juggle when you run a business, from scheduling jobs to dealing with customers and employees. It can certainly be exhausting, but at the end of the day, it’s very satisfying to see what you’ve accomplished.”
As a resident of Petaluma (where he lives with Leah and their two boys, Xavier and Avery), Dan expresses his appreciation for life and work in Sonoma County. “I haven’t travelled that much, but I’ve been around enough to know we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Plus, it’s great to be a painter in an area with such great weather—even during the winter, we’re able to stay reasonably busy.”
In his life and career, Dan espouses the importance of making customers happy. “Customer satisfaction is always the number one priority,” he affirms. “If you mistakenly bid a job too low, that’s your bad—the customer shouldn’t have to pay for that mistake. Ultimately, customer satisfaction is a lot more important than any amount of time or money, because that’s the foundation of any long-standing business.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Dan says he’d devote more time to his kids. “Even if I retired tomorrow, I’d still have kids that are nine and 10 years old, so it’s not like I could just go off and see the world. No matter what happens, I’m still a dad—although, between all the birthday parties and sporting events, sometimes I feel more like a chauffeur!”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Brixx Pizzeria in Petaluma.
Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music—especially ’60s rock ‘n’ roll.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: The Netherlands—my wife’s aunt and uncle live there, and it would be nice to visit them.
Q: Pancakes or waffles?
A: Waffles…provided you have a good waffle maker.
Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
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A: The reward that comes from giving.