Although he confesses to being a workaholic, Alex Trakhtman doesn’t see that as a negative. Quite the contrary, the 31-year-old home builder has been working, happily, since the age of 12 and attributes his work ethic to the entrepreneurial roots fostered by his close-knit Ukrainian family.
Born in the Republic of Moldova, close to the border with Ukraine, Alex immigrated to Baltimore with his family when he was 5. “We came over here as Jewish refugees. In Russia it’s difficult to be a Jew. Back then it was very difficult,” he said. “My parents wanted to make a better life for us, so, we made the trek over here.”
CHAI, The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore’s housing assistance agency, helped his family get resettled in Milford Mill and they eventually moved to Owings Mills. As a boy, Trakhtman attended the Talmudical Academy and then Cedarmere and Franklin elementary schools as well as Franklin middle and high schools.
His mother found work as a dialysis technician, and his father first worked driving a truck for Shoe City. But soon his father bought his own businesses, and Alex started working with him. Alex cut his teeth as a businessman at the family-owned Sunfresh Produce in Pikesville and A&A Medical Supply in Reisterstown.
“I’ve never worked for anybody. Working for your father — it’s your own business. I have such passion for making it on your own, it just comes with the territory,” he said. “I enjoyed every bit of it.”
Trakhtman started Trak Homes in 2010, renamed Zander Homes, with his wife of almost six years. His wife, Regina, is from Ukraine. They met through mutual friends during their junior year of college and now have two children and live in Reisterstown.
Why the passion for home building?
Ever since I can remember, construction was something I wanted to do. I felt it in my bones. I have always been amazed at how you can take raw land and build a home on top of it. But I never had the opportunity. We had a medical equipment business, my dad and I were co-owners, and we sold it in 2010. I said I need to get into what I have a passion for, and I jumped head first into construction. These homes are like my art form. This is a dream come true.
What’s most challenging?
I guess not knowing where our market is headed. The market is in a great place right now, but not knowing what the future looks like is challenging. But we try not to be bogged down by it. We just focus on the task at hand and do the best we can now.
Do you have a work philosophy?
My hope and dream, and our whole team’s hope and dream, is that the homes we produce are lifetime homes, where 20, 30 years from now you’re either still enjoying it or, if you’ve sold it, that family is enjoying every aspect of it. Also, [it’s important] to be able to produce a home that is energy efficient, a home that doesn’t impact the earth as much as some others do, but at the same time is a safe, beautiful comfortable place for people to live and call home and raise their families.
Why is giving back important to you?
We came from very humble beginnings. We are fortunate that we had parents who did whatever it took to provide for us. And we never ever felt like food wasn’t going to be on the table. But it’s sad that in the United States there are still people who struggle with being able to eat every day. So we’re brain storming ways we can become involved in making sure families are fed. The Associated does a fantastic job, and we’ll continue being a part of that as well.