~It takes unwavering patience to be a decorative painter in Phoenix. There is craftsmanship in this work, more love than labor. Inside high-end homes, interior walls are a blank canvas. An artist slowly brings rooms to life. There are antique finishes. Metallic. Crackle. Stripes.
No matter the look, the pace becomes an ungodly crawl. In an eight-hour day, a decorative painter may use only one quart of paint.
That’s not the part of Daniel Crookston’s job that tests his patience most. Not really. Inside these homes, clients expect dust and fumes to be contained to one room. That means no air conditioning. Even in July.
“Yeah,” Crookston says, “summers suck. I mean, it gets pretty crappy.”
The summer of 2010 was when DC (Daniel Crookston) Decorative Painting — “super original,” Crookston jokes — expanded its budget just enough to hire one regular employee. It was a leap of faith for an entrepreneur rocked by the economic recession. Business was slow but steady. Crookston needed someone to be his “right-hand man.”
Artistic flare was of secondary concern. Job responsibilities included masking, prepping and lugging equipment. “Grunt labor,” Crookston calls it. More than anything, Crookston says, he needed a reliable employee he could entrust with his business.
“I’ve got to have somebody,” Crookston says, “that (homeowners) are not going to find a $10 bill sitting on the counter that suddenly disappears. I mean, I have to have complete trust.”
Crookston got a referral from his mother-in-law. Some kid from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where Crookston also attended. He had never met this fresh high school graduate, never bumped into him on a Sunday morning, but their mothers worked together at a doctor’s office. That was good enough for him.
Crookston gave Kyler Fackrell his first job. It paid $10 an hour and lasted 10 months, from June 2010 to April 2011. More than five years have passed. Fackrell went to college, graduated. He got married, had a daughter. He played football, had the game ripped away. In late April, Fackrell was hired for his second full-time job: outside linebacker with the Green Bay Packers.
This gig pays a bit more.
The journey from one employer to another was long, winding. No, Fackrell’s patience never wavered. More love than labor, but at times his road just sucked. Some years got pretty crappy.
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