Fabulous People: Anthony Vay

Anthony Vay is the CEO & President of Evolution Construction Services, a commercial painting and renovation company that serves property management clients in Phoenix. The company, formerly CertaPro Painters, offers an array of construction services and has completed more than 2,500 projects with more than $50 million of projects in managed property painting, renovations and repairs over the course of the last 22 years in business. Learn more about Anthony Vay…

Hometown: Chicago

First job: TCBY Yogurt!  (still crave white chocolate mousse yogurt with Heath chips)

Favorite AZ restaurant: Mastro’s City Hall

Person who has impacted your life the most : Tom Ulen, professor of law and economics at my alma mater, University of Illinois. After watching one of his speeches at a local hotel while I was in high school, I walked up to him and started a conversation and he invited me to interview at the campus. I drove down to the campus a few weeks later and we spent a good two hours talking and he recommended me to the admissions department. Being a very competitive school, I probably would not have been admitted without his referral. He ended up being a mentor to me throughout college and really helped me shape my future.

Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: I started CertaPro Painters at age 22, five months after graduating from college and moving across the country from Chicago to Phoenix to do so.  I worked all summer to save up $10,000 and my girlfriend at the time gave me a loan of $20,000 (that I paid back with interest in 18 months) and I took a huge risk. Within three years, I was one of the biggest producing franchises in the country and crossed $1 million in sales in my fourth year.

The biggest obstacle you have overcome: During my fourth year, I decided to hire a lot of staff who almost bankrupted me because I was not a good leader or manager at that time and grew too fast. I had to fire them all and run the business (that needed four people at that time) by myself and a part-time office person. It took a year to dig myself out of debt and working 12 hours days every day… But I did it.  Thankfully, I was still young and had the energy.

Someone who inspires you: Elon Musk. He is the greatest industrialist the world has ever seen, and history will show what he has done for the human race.

Favorite quote: “Not all those who wander are lost.”

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Be a sponge. Take advice from others and don’t try to re-invent the wheel. The industry hasn’t change, only the technology has. Take advice from others on the business components of the career and stay ahead of others with the technology.

What you think makes someone fabulous: Living life with passion for who you are and what you do!

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