Nick Nykorczuk, president of Creative Pavers Inc., a design/build firm in Gibbstown, New Jersey, says his plan of working on artificial heart valves and knee replacements as a biomechanical engineer went by the wayside as his love for the landscape industry grew. Nykorczuk did landscape side jobs to help him through college and realized he “found great joy in creating outdoor spaces.” He still ended up graduating with a degree in biomechanical engineering, but by then his landscape business had taken off. In fact, even after thousands of projects, Nykorczuk says it is “still incredibly gratifying” to be part of the green industry.

Most of my free time is spent with my wife and three young kids — ages 4, 2 and 2. We love taking day trips and always try to plan out our weekends to involve some sort of activity. It may be going to the park for a picnic or visiting a local zoo or aquarium.

One of my biggest hobbies is home improvement projects. Over the past year alone, I built a fence with stained wood post accents and top rails with custom moldings to enclose my garden from deer; I installed a couple of stone accent walls in some of the interior rooms of my house; and I recently built an outdoor pizza oven with a live edge wood top bar. Pizza nights at our house just got a whole lot more fun.

I like to get out and meet with as many people as possible in and around our industry. That’s how you continue to learn and grow. Every time I have been in front of a classroom or an auditorium full of industry people, I am literally looking at hundreds if not thousands of collective years of experience staring right back at me, and I make it a point to benefit from that knowledge.

My business philosophy is best summarized by the slogan I have hanging in my office: “It’s not what you deserve, it’s what you earn.” Building and running a business is so demanding, especially early on, that you can get trapped into feeling like you should get something because you worked hard and you deserve it. But I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what you feel you deserve. If you don’t actually earn it — and succeed at the task at hand — it just doesn’t happen.

I am fairly adventurous with trying new foods, especially different types of protein. You can’t beat a well-cooked steak on the grill but I have also had every type of meat you can imagine: alligator, rabbit, frog legs, snake, squirrel and many others.

I am passionate about living life and giving myself goals to shoot for. I like having a long-term plan and working to make it happen. It’s so gratifying along the way when you can hit milestones and keep pushing yourself forward to reach that end goal.