Meet Collie Mckenzie: Mechanic, Cook, Fitness Coach, Artist, and More
Collie Gregory Marcellus Mckenzie is a person whose knowledge, artistry, and know-how are nothing short of impressive to everyone he meets. Whether it’s fitness, cooking, shoe making, tattoo art, or the inner workings of an HVAC system, Collie is the person to call.
Originally from Guyana, Collie grew up in an environment where resources were scarce for his family so he began to learn how things were made. He dropped out of school in 4th Grade to help his family make ends meet. He learned how to make shoes and garments and began making them for his family and neighbors. Collie exhibited an affinity for figuring out how systems work and making them better. This curiosity and hunger to learn became a hallmark of Collie’s childhood that has carried over into much of his adult life and career.
“We had a radio, I was curious as to who was talking in the radio so I took the radio apart to see what was in there. I started investigating the parts. I made my own stereo. After a while, different neighbors would come to me and ask me to make things for them. I would make shoes, clothes, and radios.”
In 1993, Collie’s family moved to the United States. They lived in Queens, NY for five years before moving to Maryland where they still live today. After settling in Maryland, in 1999 Collie began working at Equity Residential through a friend’s recommendation. He worked in a maintenance role and enrolled in electrical, plumbing, and HVAC classes. The inner workings of the HVAC became such a passion of Collie’s that he has even written a book: Troubleshooting and Diagnosing HVAC Most Common Problems.
“I am passionate about electrical and air conditioning. I like drawing it from scratch. I can draw an HVAC step by step. I love building, connecting and thinking through things. I have around 18 certificates. I love doing it.”
Collie’s talent is undeniable. He currently works with Dweck Properties as a Maintenance Supervisor at The Gramercy, leading his team to service excellence and contributing to the overall #StayCurious culture. His proclivity for learning has not waned. With just one glance at his LinkedIn profile, you’ll see that Collie also excels at cooking, fitness, nutrition, and art along with engineering and HVAC maintenance. He has even taught himself tattoo art and has given himself a few tattoos of his own design.
“Because I am curious I learned how to tattoo. I bought some fake skin from Amazon and tattooed to practice. I recorded it and then I gave myself a tattoo.”
During COVID, Collie began making workout videos from his apartment and has shared them with many people including many of his colleagues at Dweck. He even noted that he lost 30 lbs from running in place. Today, a few of Collie’s newest hobbies and interests have included script writing and acting.
While Collie has been in the industry for 28 years, he has never stopped wanting to learn more and try his hand at something new. “I try to do everything, I am always curious as to how things work and the process involved.” He was awarded the Stay Curious Award at the first ever Dweck Properties annual awards ceremony for having a vast scope of skills and interests.
For Collie, one of the highlights of working at Dweck is the people. He notes that it is a different kind of work environment in the best way.
“The experience at Dweck is awesome, meeting all of the employees and technicians, they feel more like family.”
Collie Mckenzie is a true inspiration. His ability to learn and his joy in life are apparent to everyone he meets. The investment and passion that he puts into learning is motivating. Has this inspired you to learn or try your hand at something new? Need help learning how? Collie is the man for the job.