Amber Writt, Ayres Painting Co.

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Amber Writt, president, Ayres Painting Co.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

We are a family run business, so negotiating how to work with family members has been a large challenge. There is no arguing at the dinner table, which means issues at work need to be resolved before we head home, lest we all go hungry. I am really proud of the way we have come to understand and listen to each other in this respect. In working together to efficiently make decisions and include all points of view, we have come up with solutions that have not only strengthened the company, but also our resolve in each other.

Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?

My father, Leonard Ayres, the founder of Ayres Painting Co., started the company with very little experience. It was his hard work and honesty that gained him respect in the industry. I confide in him whenever I am uncertain and his advice has always given me the confidence to make the right decision.

My first job, while attending UW–Madison, was waiting tables at Husnu’s, a Turkish restaurant on State Street. I learned as much working this job as I did in school. The owner, Husnu Atis, was at the restaurant every day and his dedication was something I found particularly admirable. On one of the very few occasions that he left the restaurant to travel to Turkey and visit family, he asked me to run the restaurant while he was away. I was more than proud.

Gordy Meicher, our accountant, has always been the first call when I need advice. He has been much more than an accountant to me. He is a great sounding board for new ideas and a huge supporter of our endeavors as we grow. His own business, Meicher CPAs, exists on his vast knowledge and, no doubt, his sense of humor. I admire both of these qualities.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

As of 2017, Ayres Painting Co. has officially changed hands from Leonard Ayres to myself, my husband, and my brother.

Equally exciting has been our recent move. After running the business out of our homes and then renting, we have finally purchased a shop in which to conduct business. I could not be more proud of our facility. We have come a long way since the company’s inception in 1980. In fact, since I have been involved with the business, we have nearly tripled our sales.

However, the high point by far has been making my dad proud. This was his business that he built from the ground up. Continuing to grow the business and uphold the Ayres name and values to our customers invigorates my workday and inspires my best.

Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

“Following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked.” — Utah Phillips



What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

The people! I love a good Midwestern sensibility. Living in a community of hard working, smart, and compassionate people makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger. Having graduated from UW–Madison, I knew I would always live and work here because this is the type of community I want to support. Recently, we have had the opportunity to work at Camp Randall and the Kohl Center. This has been an awesome experience to get to work in the buildings I always felt really exemplified Madison.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I can recite the entire script from the movie The Big Lebowski.

I enjoy making homemade, inappropriate cards for all occasions. If I had time, I would create my own line of cards called “Sincere Swears” or “Cursive Curses.” I can keep it clean, too. I made all our holiday cards for the company this year. I cut paint chips into pine trees and adhered them to festive card stock.

I know all the states in alphabetical order. I performed a song in elementary school that listed all the states alphabetically, and for some reason it’s something I‘ve remembered over the years. It really impresses my kids, but my husband — not so much.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Live music. My husband and I have planned nearly all our traveling around hearing music. Our last trip began in Nashville, where we got to spend the evening enjoying the rock ’n’ roll wordsmith Jason Isbell. Then, we headed up to Lexington and took in a lively Billy Strings show. We caught Jason Isbell one more time in Louisville on our way home. Now, that’s a vacation!

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