Up Close With Ken Stryker

Blaze Restoration
Courtesy of Blaze Restoration

Current job: President, Blaze Restoration. 

Ken Stryker

Proudest professional moment: Founding Blaze Restoration here in Vancouver. Our kids were very young, and we took a chance in hopes that with hard work, determination and a bit of luck, we would have something that would resonate with Clark County. We now make it our goal to continue finding new ways to give back to this great community. 

First job, and what age you were: I was 9 years old. AlKen (named for my brother Alex and myself) Lawn Care Services. Mowing neighborhood lawns on Ft. Buchanan, Puerto Rico (I was an Army kid) for donations only. Of those donations 15% were donated to the Army Emergency Relief Fund each month; this helped me save enough money to purchase my cell phone. Unfortunately, no one else my age had one, so the only person that called me was my mom, and even then, it had to be less than a minute to preserve my “minutes.” 

Fun fact: Rhianna kissed me on the cheek in 2004 before a holiday concert in Atlanta, GA. My wife loves it when I tell this story. She was performing outside of then, Phillips Arena, at a pre-pre-concert in the courtyard. After playing a few songs, she did a meet and greet, and that’s when she leaned in, and the magic happened. I’m sure she remembers that evening as vividly as I do. Will Smith was the headliner that night, and it was a lot of fun.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday night pre-COVID: Grilling out at our home in Vancouver, playing basketball with my kids and having dance parties with them. 

Favorite way to spend a Saturday night during COVID: Same as before. Working 60 hours a week, we enjoy spending our weekends at home with our kids, Harper and Sawyer, and our many pets from chickens, ducks and more.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses you have been trying to give some extra love/business to: Working in restoration construction, we mainly work with local, family owned subcontractors throughout the SW Washington area. Some specific companies that we genuinely enjoy working with are Image 360, CFM, Shorty’s Garden Center and Parr Lumber, to name a few. 

Favorite movie: The Lion King – the original. However, the remake wasn’t that bad. 

Music of choice: Top 40 with the occasional classic country playlist. 

Current favorite place to get takeout/delivery: Kenji’s Ramen in Vancouver. Spicy Pork with white rice is the way to go. 

Motto/inspirational quote: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” This is something that lives with the Stryker household. It’s our family’s motto.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.