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Grey Goose Notable: Artur Kurylowicz has partnered with Grey Goose, the World's Best Tasting Vodka, to celebrate an exclusive series of Grey Goose Notables: young professionals and entrepreneurs who are influential taste-makers. Today's Grey Goose Notable is Artur Kurylowicz, founder of Ekko Exteriors has partnered with Grey Goose, the World’s Best Tasting Vodka, to celebrate an exclusive series of Grey Goose Notables: young professionals and entrepreneurs who are influential taste-makers. For the next 10 weeks, we will feature two unique Notables who have made it – young professionals who have reached success beyond their years. We’ll show you how these Notables enjoy what they’ve earned – how they entertain friends, where they travel, what drives them from the office to the golf course – and how they celebrate life and all it has to offer. So, raise a glass as we toast to the Grey Goose Notables…

Artur Kurylowicz came to Canada from his native Poland in the early 80s, just before entering his teens. He considers Canada the site of his upbringing, but traveled extensively back and forth to Europe. He started his career in marketing and client relations at SMED International, and after it was bought out by Haworth, Artur left to pursue other avenues.

He started “floating around” helping friends with their businesses, until the realization that he wanted to start his own. Artur’s father was a contractor, and he saw the potential in a market where those who performed quality work and craftsmanship would undoubtedly succeed. In the early part of the last decade, Artur started his own contracting business, doing initial consultations via phone calls.“I had a fear of not being taken seriously,” he says. After blueprints were couriered and quotes faxed, he would meet with his clients, and would see the inevitable hesitation in their eyes at the realization that their project was being handled by a 23-year-old.

To combat this concern, Artur’s father – who started working for his son early on in his endeavour – would be the initial face-to-face point of contact, and Artur himself would only physically come into the picture after his clients were assured they were getting quality work. This ingenious ploy was a result of Artur’s couple of years in the corporate marketing world, and now, at the age of 32, he has a successful and thriving business in Ekko Exteriors.

A firm supporter of Calgary’s arts scene – he believes an investment in the arts can be akin to an investment in yourself – Artur also looks forward to branching out in the future towards more development and design, potentially working on a boutique development for young urban professionals. Were he able to build architecturally beautiful homes for this market, he’d be assisting young and up-and-coming professionals to avoid becoming “house poor.” Talk about a notable way to use your skills and resources for the greater good.

Artur Kurylowicz is a Notable, and to him, notable is “Living a life that has meaning; having something that you’re actually proud to be doing everyday.”

If there was one location that every person must see, what would it be? Why?
I would have to say that Fiji is a gem. My wife and I stayed on a little private island called the Royal Davui for our honeymoon, surrounded by a coral reef and wonderful plant life, and it has some of the best diving in the world. It’s also a bonus to be so secluded from the mainstream world that it brings you back to a place where things are simpler and more relaxed.

What is your general life philosophy?/What advice would you want to share with others?
To always go with your gut. There is a reason we feel the things that we do and as long as it’s not going to hinder your personal growth, I believe that, along with using your intellect, you really need to follow your gut when making decisions. It’s that intuitive feeling that individuals need to appreciate and trust. Call it a leap of faith.

What is it about you that you feel attracts others to you?
An optimistic outlook on life in general can be tough, but I really do try and make this my mantra. Life is going to throw a lot of curveballs, and staying focused on your goals will keep you from striking out or giving up. I look at everything from a different point of view, and I believe others can appreciate that at moments when they don’t have the ability to.

Why were the early stages of your career (which can be some of the toughest years of any successful business person’s life) worth what you are now able to enjoy?
Working hard and taking risks are two things that must go hand in hand when starting your own business. It’s easy to fall into the corporate lifestyle and routine. However, being a self-employed business owner allows you to spread your efforts accordingly to your schedule. Taking the time to enjoy life and family is what the ultimate payoff is, and being financially sound and secure are rewards of the hard work invested in your company. The trade off is never really being able to take your business out of your mind.

Please describe what entertaining looks like to you? What makes the perfect host?
Entertaining is all about treating others to an experience produced by you. The perfect host will take his guests’ personalities and likes/dislikes to mind and cater to their tastes. Throwing an event, no matter how big or small, must have a personal touch; it’s appreciated and I think some hosts forget about that.

Do you cook? If yes, what is your best dish? If no, what is your favourite dish to be cooked for you?
I tend to cook in waves and also depending on what’s in season. We cook with organic and if possible local ingredients in our home. Saying this, I make a fine quinoa spaghetti with a spicy sausage tomato and mushroom sauce, but my wife’s cooking takes the cake and her chicken parmigiana among other things is to die for.

What is your favourite drink?/What is the best drink that you make?
My favourite drink at the moment is a filthy gin martini, stirred with 4 olives. The best one that I make is simple: vodka shot straight out of the freezer, with a couple of drops of creme de cassis.

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