Past Skyview students open Rhino Lining service in Kasilof

Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2004

People discover jobs and potential careers in all kinds of ways, but few, it's safe to say, stumble into a business while searching for an alternative to noxious, spray-on septic tank liner.

However, that's exactly what started Mark Rozak on his way to becoming one of Rhino Linings' youngest dealers.

Rozak was working in the family business Rozak Excavating and Construction after graduating from Skyview High School in 2002. He was surfing the Web, looking for a spray-on product that would dry quicker and not smell as awful as the stuff he and his dad used to coat the inside of septic tanks, when he came across Rhino Linings spray-on pickup truck bed liner as a possible alternative.

It turned out the bed liner was too costly to use to guard against corrosion in septic tanks, but Rozak learned enough to decide the spray-on bed lining business might be for him.

He spent four days at a training seminar at the company's headquarters in San Diego where he learned what it takes to become a dealer.

Rozak then spent two months and used 130 gallons of paint to remodel a section of the family business's warehouse in Kasilof. He outfitted the warehouse with a spray booth, an air circulation system to remove overspray and an office.

Before Rhino would lic-ense Rozak as a certified dealer, however, he had to prove the shop was up to company standards, and he and his shop manager high school friend Gabe Vanek had to undergo training.


Gabe Vanek begins to remove a tail gate as Mark Rozak comes to his assistance. The 2002 Skyview High School graduates opened Rhino Linings of The Peninsula in Kasilof in December.

Rozak submitted more than 100 pictures of the construction process and the finished shop to the company's San Diego headquarters. Once approved, Rozak and Vanek spent a week training at the new shop with a Rhino certified technician in order to become certified themselves.

After months of planning, construction and training, Rozak opened Rhino Linings of the Peninsula for business in December.

The process was an eye-opener for the 19-year-old.

"It takes a lot more than you think," Rozak said. "It opened my eyes as to how much about business people (my) age don't know."

In addition to learning what it takes to start a business, Rozak has learned a lot about bed liners in general and Rhino Linings in particular.

Truck owners get bed liners to "protect their investments," according to Rozak, especially if they purchased the rig new.

"A lot of people don't even like driving their vehicle off the lot without getting bed liner put in," he said.

The spray-on liner Rozak applies is an air and water-tight polyurethane coating which is dent resist and helps protect the truck's bed against rust. The finished surface of the liner can be slick or textured for grip, to help keep cargo from sliding around, he said.

The slick finish is intended to keep things from sticking to the surface it's applied to, Rozak noted, so is useful on dump truck beds, snow plows, Bobcat buckets and the like.

Rozak admits profit motive was a big reason why he wanted to start the business. However, he also loves trucks he subscribes to a dozen truck magazines and figured working on different trucks everyday was pretty close to his dream job.

A couple new truck dealers in the area are Rozak's customers. He picks up the vehicles, sprays the lining on at his shop and returns them.

"I'm a truck fanatic," Rozak said. "It's really fun picking up a new Dodge quad cab."

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