Jonathan Zawacki started Hands On Painters, Inc. with one intention in mind: to pay back his mother for supporting him while he took a 4,000-mile, cross-country bicycle trip which built up his leg muscles but drained his wallet.
When Jonathan came to the conclusion that he needed the means to pay off his debts (and fix his broken-down pickup) he started a business called Jonathans Odd Jobs. Three years later Hands On Painters, Inc. was in full swing.
Hiring local talent gave his young company the know-how to compete with the old-time pros. Jonathans hard work and ability to pick experienced painters who cared about the quality of the job they do resulted in a successful company that prides itself on word-of-mouth referrals.
The rest, as they say, is history. Jonathan Zawacki: teacher, bicyclist, hard worker (and painter), after paying back his mother and fixing his pick-up truck, he is still beautifying homes, although his role within the company has changed. He is now in charge of estimating and the daily needs of his employees and clients.
His goal? To keep Hands On Painters on its path of providing painting projects with the attention to detail they deserve, while at the same time growing a little each year as staff and clients mature in skill and size.
Jonathans Life before Hands On Painting: Jonathan spent four years at Towson State University and earned a B.S. in Psychology and three years teaching experiential education, also referred to as hands on learning. His experience consisted of leading groups of young people on hiking and rock climbing trips while teaching them about the physical and mental demands required to survive their journey. Students learned about teamwork and communications skills while gaining a higher level of self confidence. Jonathan explains the experience this way: It was kind of like working with four grumpy painters in 100º heat, hiking up and down ladders for nine hours straight.
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Derrick Conover made the transition from Landscaping, to Home Depots Lawn & Garden Department, to painting when Jonathan asked him to help out part-time with his burgeoning painting business.
After working two jobs at between 70 and 80 hours per week, Derrick put Home Depot on the back burner so he could see if painting could turn into a lucrative career. Soon Hands On Painters expanded into a full-time job.
Derricks hard work and dedication contributed to the company’s exponential growth. He is now co-running all field logistics and quality control with up to 20 employees during the busy season. Derrick has also taken on the role of estimating,training new employees , and is in charge of implementing and training EPA lead rules and regulations.
Alex Kondner is a Baltimore native who attended Boys Latin high school and has earned a Masters degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Alex is a working artist whose work is exhibited regularly at a New York art gallery. Alexs work is also gaining international acclaim. Alex co-runs field logistics and quality control with Derrick Conover. He specializes in projects with faux finishes, decorators input, and older homes/projects.
Rich Hipsley joined HOP is September of 2000 and immediately made an impact on our business. Rich is a field manager and an MVP on our team. His mechanical abilities have been invaluable in keeping our vans on the road. Rich is also the skilled hand that runs our renovation projects.
Cesar Hiponia is a graduate of Towson University with a degree in graphic design and photography. He joined HOP in April of 2014 to help with project management, estimating, purchasing and managing the newly added “ Cesar’s Palace”, an on-site supply warehouse created to streamline the distribution of daily job supplies to save HOP valuable time and money. Aside from his day job, he fancies himself as a
quintessential Renaissance man, a DJ, artist, philosopher and poet who idolizes the likes of Salvador Dali and Leonardo da Vinci.
Although he is a new addition, he brings over 18 years of extensive experience in the paint industry, starting as a foreman for Student Painters while attending college. He then took on the role of manager in various capacities for The Sherwin-Williams Company as well as for Budeke’s Paints, a Baltimore based Benjamin Moore dealer. HOP was actually one of his main accounts while managing the Sherwin-Williams in Arbutus. That long term business relationship is now full circle as he joins the ranks as a welcome addition to the HOP family.
Fidel Contreras originated from El Salvador. He apprenticed with a small painting outfit for four years and later worked on government contract jobs in the DC and Maryland area. Fidel started with Hands On Painters in 2006 and has elevated through the company ranks. Starting as a painters helper, he quickly proved himself and moved into a painters position. Shortly after Fidel was able to separate himself from the field with his attention to detail, consistency in job completion, and client satisfaction. Fidel was moved into a manager position in 2010 and given a full time crew and Van. Now with 25 years of painting experience his position has grown outside the painting field as Hands On Painters go to painting manager. Fidel has set an example and acted as a role model for new painters and up and coming managers. His expertise in paint equipment and a company interpreter brings a valuable skill set to our team. Since 2006 Fidel has settled down in Baltimore with his wife and three children. His favorite activity is taking the kids to the Baltimore Zoo.
Meanwhile back at the office
Thersa Price joined the company in June of 2009, bringing over 15 years of office management in the residential/commercial field to the HOP team. Thersa SEO and marketing skills have kept HOP up to date in todays advertising arena.
Angela Porras is a graduate of Woodlawn High School. She joined HOP in May of 2014 to help with the telephones to assist customers with scheduling estimates. Angela comes from the bakery industry, baking and decorating cakes for the past 10 years. Although new to the office environment she brings great customer service skills and is welcomed by the HOP family.
Hands On Painters, Inc. has been associated and is licensed with the Maryland Home Improvement Association, a member of The Professional Business Exchange of Howard County, a certified contractor with ImproveNet.com, a sponsor and participant for the Christmas In April Foundation, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training, and Rotary International, Fall into Fitness 5 and 10k sponsor.
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