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Member Spotlight: Christian Militello

Posted By Christine O'Connell, Thursday, May 4, 2017

Militello Painting & Powerwashing, LLC (Ambler, PA)

Christian’s entire life has revolved around the service and coaching industries.  He was fortunate to have grown up with a grandfather who was a handyman, served in the Korean War, and taught him everything from making stained glass to running gas pipe, and painting.  Lifeguarding, teaching swimming, playing and coaching baseball, and instructing autistic students have all naturally led to a love of servicing the needs of clients and managing and teaching people. Christian credits others for contributing to his success.  “Over the years I have had to fine-tune these raw abilities and will forever be doing so.  My wife Angelina, who not only works full time with the company but also helps raise three kids and take care of the home (I could never give her enough credit) joined our team a few years ago. This addition enabled us to take off.  Long-time employee, Scott and I have made mistakes side by side (some rougher than others) but have accomplished some pretty cool stuff together, leading to a successful company 15 years later.”

Militello Painting began their membership with PDCA in May of 2013 with a free trial membership. They upgraded to a full membership in September of 2014 following an estimating presentation hosted by the PDCA and some vendors.  That membership drive resulted in 27 new members for the local chapter.  “I started going to our local meetings soon after and went to my first National convention in 2016 in New Orleans, followed by San Diego this year.”

Christian says the most valuable benefit of PDCA membership didn’t become apparent for quite some time.  “I was going to meetings but was kind of a wall flower; very quiet, just listening, speaking when asked, but not much more than that.  I gradually became more comfortable with talking to my competition and began getting more involved with my chapter. The most valuable benefit is being able to lean on my competition for knowledge and information.  I have recently been given the opportunity to give back to my chapter by chairing the education planning committee and look forward to being more involved both locally and nationally.”

PDCA language is included in all the company’s residential and commercial contracts. Christian actually spells out the Standard (P-1) for a properly painted surface and the viewing distance in his contracts.  He finds this Standard to be the most helpful.  

When asked what he views as one of the top concerns of painting contractors today, Christian shared the following:  “Employees always seem to be at the top of the list: getting them, keeping them, training them, and continuing their advancement in your company.”  To solve these challenges he says:  “If you have never used an HVLP machine to spray cabinets, then how are you supposed to teach your employees to use one?  Company owners can train alongside employees, making and fixing mistakes together, or companies can invest in their employees and send them to get trained.  I have hired various coaching companies that have helped take me beyond my area of expertise in both management and sales. While investing in your employees, make sure to invest in yourself as well.”

Christian credits membership in PDCA for contributing to his success.  “In college I played catcher on the baseball team.  Being a business owner is equivalent to being a catcher.  It is the catcher’s responsibility to be the coach for his players on the field; pick them up when they are down, pat them on the butt when they excel.  The catcher is the only player with the entire field in front of him, so he sees all the mistakes and successes.  Well, who is there to help the catcher?  This is where the PDCA membership has helped me.  I can talk openly and freely with other business owners (catchers) about things they do to help their team.  Some things are kept private, but for the most part we are all going through the same issues and are all willing to help one another solve these issues or talk each other through them.  So, some of our success has come from help from our competition nationally and locally.  That would not be possible without being a member of the PDCA.  The communication with other painting contractors has impacted us so much that we are trying to find a way to take some of our employees to Texas with us next year so they can also learn from other contractors.”

Christian’s advice to new members:  “Get involved, ask questions, stay humble, don’t become arrogant, listen with both ears, and always give more than you will ever get in return.”

“I could not have done this without everyone who has come and gone in my life, both personally and in business. Together we are trying to build a better company for everyone we touch.  From family and friends to clients and employees, I would not trade my job for anything right now…. except…. if the Phillies had an opening for catcher. That might lure me away.”  Christian Militello



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