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Member Spotlight: Don Thomas

Posted By Christine O'Connell, Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thomas Industrial Coatings (St. Louis, MO)

Thomas Industrial Coatings (TIC) was established in 1991 by owner Don Thomas and his wife Claudia. Based on the cornerstones of Safety, Quality, and Productivity, Thomas Industrial Coatings has grown into one of the premier industrial painting companies in the country.  Each year TIC maintains a workforce of 150- 200 painters who work on bridges, overpasses, military bases, water towers, lock and dams, ground storage tanks, and marine vessels.  Providing services such as work platforms for access, abrasive blasting, and painting; TIC is capable and willing to handle the most difficult projects in industrial painting. 

Don shares some of the keys to his success.

“Relationships with other contractors in the construction industry are pivotal to our success.  Providing a safe, quality product in an efficient manner has helped create a network of companies that value and respect each other’s work.  It is these established relationships that benefit Thomas Industrial Coatings and the entire industry.

Recruiting and growing a well-rounded, highly skilled workforce that is able to meet the diverse demands of the projects we encounter is the most essential part of being successful. With Safety at the forefront, TIC is regularly a CREST Award winner for Safety.”

In 2017, the SSPC George S Campbell Award and CoatingsPro Magazine’s Contractor Award, were granted to Thomas Industrial Coatings for their work on the Eads Bridge in downtown St. Louis. This project serves as a great example of the people who represent the company. 

Every contractor has a different motivation for joining PDCA.

“At TIC, we feel it is very important to belong to and support an organization that has the best interest of our industry in mind. It is important to recognize that our strength as an industry comes when we all work together to establish and achieve goals.”

Belonging to the PDCA is one of the business practices implemented by Thomas Industrial Coatings to help grow knowledge of the industry, add legitimacy to work practices, and develop a network of owners who share a common theme for success.

“Our PDCA membership supports and helps validate the business practices we strive to meet with each project we encounter. Our goal is to provide a safe, quality, and productive industrial painting service to our customers. The PDCA organization helps to legitimize our process.”

We asked what PDCA benefit was most valuable to the business. “For us, it is opportunity to network with like-minded people with similar passions for success in our industry. The PDCA is an organization that affords us one of these opportunities.”

On the topic of what PDCA Industry Standards have been most helpful:

“The Standards, as a whole, establish the ground rules of each project. At TIC we emphasize communication within our company and with the customer. An established scope of work is the communication tool that is most significant in the customer relationship. It also provides the substance of our internal conversations from the field to the office. The reference documents and standards for each specification create a common vocabulary that helps eliminate any confusion on the part of the contractor or customer.”

We always ask what our contractors feel is the biggest concern facing the painting industry. Here is Don’s answer:

“Our concerns are similar to many of the other construction trades and it is the ability to find people that are qualified to do the work in our trade. Working in industrial painting requires a great degree of skill, work ethic, and dedication. 

People are our greatest resource and we believe for our company to grow, we must invest in each of them. 

If they are successful, the company, as a whole, will be successful.”

Here is how TIC approaches the problem.

“Our biggest recruiting resource is ourselves. We pride ourselves in being a company that is dedicated to people who work with us and being a company that attracts some of the best workers in the industry.  We are a union company, but many of our painters have spent their entire career with us. As a company that just passed its 25th birthday, we are seeing a new generation of the same family representing TIC in the field and in the office.  This continuity provides a safe, quality product for our customer. There is a consistency in place that would not be possible if we had a more transient workforce. We take a great deal of pride in being a company that provides opportunities for our people to grow professionally and personally.  We feel this is our best way to attract and maintain a skilled and diverse workforce that can meet the needs of an ever-changing industry.”

“The best advice we can give a fellow or prospective member is to recognize the demands of the construction industry, have the resources to meet those demands, and have vision to recognize future demands. Communication plays a vital role in the success of any organization, both internally and externally. Value communication every step of the way. Recognize the importance of the people in the field; they are truly the most knowledgeable of daily activity.”

“Develop a network of peers and organizations that respect the product you provide. Building this type of reputation is essential in building a company that can sustain itself. Recognize that a reputation is built every day, with every action and conversation.

Belonging to the PDCA is one of the business practices implemented by Thomas Industrial Coatings to help grow the knowledge of industry, add legitimacy to work practices, and develop a network of owners that share a common theme for success.”

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Member Spotlight: Joe Elmore

Posted By Christine O'Connell, Thursday, October 5, 2017

Armor Tough Coatings (White Lake, MI)

Joe Elmore opened Armor Tough Coatings in February of 2014.  After working for a local industrial contracting company for 8 years, he decided he wanted to start doing things his way.  “I now enjoy waking up for work every day.  I could not have made a better decision in life, other than asking my girlfriend to be my wife. We are getting married in June of 2017.”


Armor Tough Coatings is a company of about 4 field employees, and they strive for perfection each and every day. Joe says: “I love waking up to go to work the next day and love to employ people who think the same way. We specialize in both residential painting and industrial painting (heavy machinery). We try to stick to what we are good at. Luckily, I have been doing Industrial machinery painting for 10-12 years, so that is a service that we can offer.  It provides a great profit for the company. We also do residential painting that ranges from interior, exterior, and epoxy flooring to cabinet refinishing.”


About a year after Joe started his business he joined a painting group on Facebook where he was introduced to many professional people who worked for themselves.  He also became acquainted with a successful businessman who introduced him to PDCA.  He called the PDCA National office and got the information he needed to convince him he needed to join right away.


Joe’s PDCA membership has benefited his company in a variety of ways.


“The Standards for the correct prep have been most valuable in my business. Before I knew of these Standards, I would bend over backwards to make sure things were perfect while using a spotlight to be sure. Now I know that doesn't have to be the case to do a great job!


Being part of the PDCA has helped me meet some great people.


The seminars that are put on by the PDCA and paint vendors have been remarkable. I have had the chance to go to a couple of the local seminars that featured PDCA speakers. The knowledge and professional contacts I have gained are only a few of the valuable benefits. The PDCA membership has helped me grow my awareness of professionalism, which allows me to give 110% to our clients. Also, by putting me in touch with like-minded professionals (online or in person), I can strive to be better than the ‘standard’ painting contractor.”


When asked what he considered the top concerns of painting contractors today, Joe had this to say. “When I meet new people, I tend to hear a lot of stories about other painting contractors. Unfortunately, they are almost always negative. My concerns are that they are not portraying themselves or their company very professionally. Another concern is that some companies are not doing everything that they can to ensure a quality, final product, for a paying customer.”


Joe’s advice to fellow members: “I recommend diving right into the PDCA and all that it has to offer. The membership fee pays for itself immediately!  Contractor College, that can be accessed by you and your employees is a game changer. This is a great place to start in order to begin to grow your painting business. Also, the webinars are always on topics that seem to be on everyone's mind, and if you cannot make it to the live webinar, they are always recorded to watch anytime.”

“I used to think painting was a bad profession to be in, but when I joined other like-minded professionals in the PDCA, I realized that it can be a thriving business.  It changed my thinking altogether. This has made it easy to look and be as professional as I can. I also make sure that our clients get as much value as possible out of our services and have open lines of communication to ensure we are meeting that goal.”  Joe Elmore





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Member Spotlight: Rick Holtz

Posted By Christine O'Connell, Thursday, September 7, 2017

H J Holtz & Son, Inc (Richmond, VA)

Rick Holtz, president of H J Holtz & Son, Inc, is a third generation painting contractor.  No one can tell the company’s rich history better than Rick:


“Established in April of 1936 by my grandfather, Herman J. Holtz, our company has been serving the Richmond community for over 80 years. For the first 35 years, he ran a successful company providing residential and commercial painting and wall papering services to Richmond homeowners. Following his retirement in 1971, my father, Richard L. Holtz, Sr., took the baton and focused on building a reputation of high quality work and superior customer service.


Herman passed away in 2003 but his legacy lives on. I now serve as the company’s President after joining the business in 1994. Along with a great team that includes my two sisters and many long-time employees, we have built upon my father’s and grandfather’s work by adding new dimensions such as digital photography, decorative floors, cabinet painting, wall graphics, murals, decorative finishes and advanced equipment for painting and paint removal. We have also extended the company's borders by initiating relationships with designers and contractors in Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach, VA.


We pride ourselves on great customer service and professionalism. Over the years, the company has gained numerous awards for our outstanding work. Among them are the prestigious PDCA PIPP Awards for Residential Interior and Residential Decorative projects, the Best of Houzz Award for service, which we earned three years in a row, and the 2017 Best of Richmond Awards for top painting contractor and top wall paper contractor.”

The company has been a PDCA member since the 1950s when Rick’s grandfather first joined.


They have continued to participate because of the educational value PDCA brings to their company.  Part of PDCA’s education program is the monthly webinars.  In 2011 one of these webinars connected Rick to his business coach.  “That ongoing relationship has helped us achieve the best financial results in my career.”  Education coupled with networking opportunities with other PDCA members are the benefits most valued by Rick and his company.  “Learning from other contractors from the mistakes they have made helps all of us deliver more value to customers while building healthy, profitable businesses. PDCA exposes you to the best contractors and educational programs in our industry.  It is the undergraduate and master’s degree program for painting contractors.  Because of PDCA, our company has grown and become more profitable.  This is profit we are able to share with our employees and their families.”


Rick’s company uses PDCA Industry Standards P-5, P-16, and P-23 in their estimating process to inform potential clients about best practices in surface preparation and finished products. “This enables customers to understand how and why our plan for their home or business stands apart from other proposals they may be receiving.”


When asked what he considered the top concerns of painting contractors today, Rick had this to say:

Some of the top concerns for painting contractors are employees and technology.


Finding employees can be a challenge for many contractors.  We have been fortunate to find great people that we have been able to train and that have stayed with us.  The goal is for us to keep our employees challenged and engaged in the work they do. I have found that treating employees with respect and keeping them informed about the impact they have on the company has been critical in our success.  We keep our employees informed of the company’s goals. This has proven to keep them empowered on a daily basis.  Employees stay with our company because we have a family atmosphere and they know their role.



Technology in marketing, business management, and in the work our employees perform daily is changing at a rapid pace. Technology is expensive, which makes it difficult to know what to invest in, and what is really going to make our work easier. We try to balance our spending on technology.  Spending on tools and equipment that help us do our job quicker and more efficiently is just as important to us as software that helps us keep track of our sales and run the business of painting.”


Rick’s advice to fellow members:  “Identify your two biggest challenges and try to work on them first.  Change takes time and has to be deliberate.  Be patient and consistent. Take advantage of all the PDCA has to offer.  If you have a question - ask.  If you have done something great -share it.  We are all in this together.”  




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Member Spotlight: George Maxson

Posted By Christine O'Connell, Thursday, August 3, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 3, 2017

Maxson Painting (Ventura, CA)

Maxson Painting was established in 1990 and is a family owned business. 

In late summer of 2016 the Maxson family’s life was turned upside down.

George’s wife Tracy tells it best.  Below is her account of the events:

On August 12, 2016 my husband, George had a subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm (hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures). George was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Upon arrival, he coded and was revived! He was put into a coma and paralysis for 3 weeks to help restore his brain. During this time the neurologist monitored him very closely to prevent him from having a stroke and further complications.

On August 13th my son and I had to decide what to do with our company. Our son, Shaun Maxson, is a stay at home dad and handles our Web presence and IT needs. We had no idea what was going to happen – was George was going to pass? - was he going to have severe handicaps? (both of which were very real possibilities) - or would he make it through this just fine?  Decisions had to be made about our ongoing jobs, upcoming jobs, and our employees (we had eight at the time).

We decided we needed to keep the company going. We didn’t want our employees to be facing unemployment, and we didn’t want to let our customers down. Most of all, we didn’t want George to wake up and discover his company gone! Shaun took the bull by the horns and started contacting all our employees, paint representatives and customers. There was sadness, tears and many prayers. 

Over the years George had created a lot of connections- trust and friendships that went beyond the typical client relationships.

One of the most wonderful things came about because in March, 2016 we had taken Shaun to the PDCA convention in New Orleans for the first time. He sat through some of the workshops and knew about the Estimate Rocket bidding software. He purchased the software the first week George was in the hospital, and in the middle of the night, taught himself how to use it. He set out to do his first bids. The company made it through those months with God’s help and the hard work and dedication of our son. George woke up to a smoothly running company, and he is doing great. In fact he and Shaun were able to go to the convention in San Diego this year!

A few of our favorite stories from this time period are that our company is generational; my uncle taught my father, my father (PDCA member for years) taught my husband, and our son stepped in to be the fourth generation in the field. Shaun had our 4 year old grandson hand out the payroll checks while wearing a Maxson Painting shirt. Elijah represents the 5th generation in the business! Also, during this time, Shaun identified a foreman that just wasn’t good for our company’s morale. Fellow employees had a hard time working with him and it was time for him to go. After 16 years with us, Shaun released him from our employment.  This was a very hard but very good decision, one we just didn’t want to make.  Shaun’s fresh eyes on our company have given us a boost in many different areas.

The PDCA played an important role in helping our business to survive a significant challenge.

At the annual conventions George, Shaun and I have the opportunity to gain knowledge, stay abreast of new developments and have meaningful conversations about how to make our business better for our clients, our employees, and ourselves.

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Member Spotlight: John Neubert

Posted By Christine O'Connell, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Neubert Painting Inc (Brook Park, OH)

John started painting in 1975 at the age of 18. Since then the company has grown to 15 full time employees. 

John joined PDCA 30 years ago. Contractors join PDCA for a variety of reasons, and John felt it was important for the market leader in the Cleveland Metro area to belong to a trade association.  He has found the contacts he has made through PDCA over the years have been invaluable. 

John feels one of the top concerns of painting contractors is hiring and training.

He has devoted a great deal of time and effort toward employee training. Neubert Painting hires an additional 80-90 seasonal college students.  According to John, “Our core competency is in training our employees. We have a great people culture.” 

PDCA is proud to have played a part in the success of Neubert Painting Inc.






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Member Spotlight: Eric Statler

Posted By Christine O'Connell, Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rock Solid Painting Co, LLC – Mogadore, OH

Many years ago, Eric Stalter began his journey into the painting trade in a round-about way. He grew up on a grain and livestock farm in south central Wisconsin.  According to Eric, “It was a place where you were accustomed to risk, like burying money in the ground and hoping it returned as crops.”  In high school Eric loved the “hands-on” classes such as shop, art and home economics courses.  He earned a BA in Business Administration at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, married after graduation, moved to northeastern Ohio, and began some self-evaluation.



According to Eric, the journey continued as follows:  “I worked several 'bottom tier' jobs in order to make ends meet, and one of those jobs was working part-time at a paint store. The paint company focused on numerous training courses which led to product knowledge and best practices for painting. By far, the best form of learning was watching and listening to both the good and bad painting contractors. While working another full-time job, I worked my way from part-time up to a store manager within the painting company. After I left the company I worked various sales and service jobs but had started to paint part-time as jobs and referrals arose. I started to incorporate the knowledge of products, techniques, paint, and expanding experience into a passion for serving people by offering a valued service. Until this point I ignored the subtle voice of my bride, my desire to work independently, and a passion to work with my hands. The perfect storm stirred and cast me into the direction of starting a new adventure. Thus, Rock Solid Painting Co. LLC was officially born in June of 2014. I started out alone with many accumulated tools, a minivan, 4 weeks of work, and one professional contact (a carpenter). Since that first year we have transitioned from just me to subcontracted labor to two more full time employees. We are not only building our residential clientele but have also started to incorporate turning over middle to high-end investment homes. We are building relationships with other businesses/trades/entrepreneurs in order to develop and capture more work - we like to keep the ‘good guys’ working. We are continuing to cultivate partnerships in order to expand our collective businesses.”

When asked why he joined PDCA, Eric replied: “There were several motivators behind joining the PDCA. First, we were intrigued by the contractor education that was offered through podcasts, webinars, Contractor College, and those professionals that were willing to take calls. Secondly, we thought highly of the legitimacy that this organization adds to painting contractors who join. Thirdly, this helps to set us apart from many other painting contractors.  Finally, it helps give me motivation and insight into running my business like a business.”

“One of the most valuable benefits of PDCA has been listening to other contractors. It’s the men who are and have been in the industry that give the most insight.

They give great perspective and thought into the ways that make you a more exceptional tradesman and business owner.”


Eric’s insight into using the PDCA Industry Standards and PDCA’s impact on his company’s success: “We feel the PDCA Industry Standards have allowed us to define the responsibilities, criteria, and procedures in dealing with our current clientele. These items clarify responsibilities, duties, job performance, and specifically what is or is not included in a job. Guidelines like this give each party a clear and concise set of rules to play by.”

“We believe that the membership has allowed us to be more confident in our approach to differentiating ourselves and how we operate; specifically, knowing our numbers, the bottom line, and keeping our profit margin at an acceptable level.

Knowing these items will keep you headed in the right direction and will keep your company profitable.  A growing business = profit.”


Eric feels two of the top concerns of today’s contractors are: finding and keeping quality employees and knowing your business (specifically clientele and finances).  To solve these problems he feels it is a matter of coming up with a game plan to attract potential employees to a career in the trades and adapting to a different mindset and/or offering different compensation methods.


Words of wisdom from a successful business man to fellow PDCA members: “Listen, think, and adapt. Focus on setting yourself apart with ideas, habits, service, quality, and a keen sense of your business. Understand that your learning will continue as you grow your company and meet other successful tradesmen.”  Eric Stalter







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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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Member Spotlight: David Carhart

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 27, 2017

David Carhart, Star Painting and Wallcovering of Skippack, Inc

Star Painting was created in 1984 in Ambler, Pennsylvania to provide residential and commercial painting as well as wallcovering installation and carpentry work.  The owner, David Carhart, shared some of the company history:  “Our first job was painting a farmhouse with a barn and outbuildings where we painted a rolling hex sign on the barn. 

"That was 33 years ago and the original star is still there. They referred to us as the ‘Star Painters’, and the name stuck. We became Star Painting.  With a steady growth of customers and employees, our company soon expanded its customer base to include all of Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks counties.  In 2002 we found the need to incorporate and in so doing, changed its name to Star Painting and Wallcovering of Skippack, Inc.  Entering our 33rd year of business, we continue to hold a major presence in the tri-county area.  We are proud to claim that we still have many of our original customers.  In fact, about 80% of our customers are referrals from other happy customers!”

David originally joined PDCA to keep up with the times, meet contractors from the same industry, and meet vendors face to face.  He soon found the most valuable benefit to him was the relationships he made with fellow contractors and vendors.  “The fellowship of seasoned contractors, shared information, and PDCA leadership has helped my company grow to be successful.”

David incorporates the PDCA Industry Standards whenever possible.  From estimating to installation of wall covering, he has found P5, P6, P7, P10, and P14 to be most beneficial.

David finds one of his top concerns to be competing on a daily basis with contractors who do not hold proper insurance or pay their workforce a livable wage with benefits.  David definitely leads by example:  “I promise my customers a quality job done by professional craftsmen. I offer my employees health and retirement benefits.  Most of my workforce has been with me for decades.” 

Can you blame them?

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Member Spotlight: Torlando Hakes

Posted By Chris Shank, Monday, March 6, 2017
Updated: Monday, March 6, 2017

"When I was 17 years old I was tasked with one of the most grueling summer chores known to adolescents. I had to paint my uncle's garage; a fitting responsibility for a boy such as I. Taking a page out of Tom Sawyer's book, I think I coerced as many friends as I could to help me with such an awful task. Today, every time my uncle sees me he says “Who would have ‘thunk’ it".


These are the words of Torlando Hakes of Color Theory LLC, Bloomington, Indiana.

Torlando’s first job after high school was painting as part of a three-man crew for a construction company.  He was drawn in by the project-oriented nature of painting.  “I could stand back and see what I had accomplished over the course of a day.  The motion of gliding my paint brush along the edge of the wall reminded me of the stroke of the pencil on paper that had taken me away to the creative landscapes of imagination.  I loved the work.”


Torlando received a BFA from Indiana University, and painting became his way to put himself through college.  He had only been through a few semesters when his boss went away to business school, leaving Torlando to run the company.  In the midst of the recession, he began to take on work and slowly his reputation grew.  Torlando decided to incorporate under the name, Color Theory, LLC.


Torlando decided to join PDCA after attending a seminar about estimating.  “At the time I was really trying to wrap my mind around accurate formulaic estimating versus measuring and hoping my pricing was right. I wasn’t very familiar with the PDCA, but by the end of the seminar I realized that the PDCA would have really great resources for paint contractors who wanted to build a professional business.  The PDCA fosters an environment where contractors from different markets can come together and share information with one another in a non- competitive environment. The continual education and seminars help to lead those discussions and drive a lot of best practices home so you aren’t trying to blindly figure this stuff out. There is a path to success and the PDCA does a great job of pulling those resources together.”


Torlando is a believer in utilizing the PDCA Industry Standards. “PDCA Industry Standard P14 has been the most useful to us since we are in the repaint end of the industry.  Standard P14 identifies the ‘Levels of Surface Preparation for Repainting and Maintenance Projects’. This standard has been very useful in communicating to both the customer and the staff what surface preparation expectation to anticipate.  When walls are in rough condition, I can explain to the customer the 5 Levels and ask them how far they want us to go in terms of preparation.  When I get an idea of where they are, I can easily communicate to my team, ‘this is a level 4, or this is a level 3’ and they know how far to take the repair. “


Torlando has found that two of the most challenging aspects of the painting business are maintaining a balanced schedule and finding reliable employees.  His solutions to the problem have been developing a core group of talented craftsmen and women, assembling a good list of seasonal people who come in during the summer months, and effectively utilizing subcontractors he trusts to do the job as well as he would.  In addition, he uses software to track the scheduling of jobs.

Torlando cites PDCA as a contributor to his success.  “PDCA has been a bridge builder for me in terms of education and being around other successful companies. Joining the PDCA was a very smart move for my company as our sales have increased tremendously and our capacity for production has increased. The painting industry is a proven industry with a 500 year history. It’s not a flash in the pan type of business. People will always paint their houses or buildings. Making a good living in the business is directly related to how many people you are able to manage and how low you can keep your expenses. Beyond those two things, as long as you can figure out a way to get people to hear about your business and show them you can do a good job, you will have the opportunity to make a really great living in a field that doesn’t require a PhD. However, you still need a business education in order to achieve victory. PDCA, while not the only source, is a great source for getting that education.”


It is obvious that Torlando loves what he does, and that love is the first and best ingredient for his success.  “While in art school I learned the purpose and function of color. I learned how it works and how it makes us feel and wonder. I began to see the work that I did in peoples’ homes as a kind of art in and of itself. I love sharing that with both those who think they'd like to paint and those who want to refresh their home with color."

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Member Spotlight: Randy Fornoff

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 22, 2016


MTS Painting was originally incorporated in 1983 as Valley East Property Services by Roger and Carol Fornoff along with the Keel family. Roger's primary focus was maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction through hard work and friendly crews. A few years later, Roger's three sons Randy, Ron, and Jason joined the company. Each brought their own experience and dedication to the mix. Thus, My Three Sons (MTS) developed into a family owned company that specializes in interior and exterior repaints for residential, commercial, and Home Owners Associations making them the area’s top choice for painting and improvement needs.

Randy and Jason became the directors of MTS Painting upon Roger's retirement in 2000. The three brothers, Randy, Ron, and Jason continue to strive to exceed customers' expectations through craftsmanship, hard work, and efficiency.

We talked with Randy about some of the fundamentals that have helped him achieved success in the company’s 32 years of business. He stated that PDCA education and fellowship have been among the most valuable tools. This knowledge has helped make him an expert in his local industry. This has translated into referrals from customers as well as painters, boosting MTS Painting sales.

Randy’s knowledge of the painting industry is deeply rooted. He is an EPA accredited teacher and training manager for RRP, has presented lead RRP seminars, has been featured on PDCA's podcast PaintED, and has presented at multiple seminars.

As a recent guest on PDCA's podcast PaintED, Randy talked about the importance of PDCA Industry Standards. He maintains they have helped him with inspections and judgments. Randy says, “[Correctly utilizing the Standards] takes the fear out of questions and handles the workmanship of your product, therefore, reducing your risk as a painting business owner.” A sample of a Standard he finds most helpful is P1 (Properly Painted Surface). Randy stresses to other painting business owners to teach their crew this Standard.

P-1 Standard - PDCA Properly Painted Surfaces Establishes criteria for determining a properly painted surface, defines touch up and repair, and determines which party to an agreement should bear the financial responsibility for such work.
This is just one of many Industry Standards. He explains this in detail on the PaintEd Podcast. Take a few minutes and listen in!

Join us August 23 and September 7 when Randy joins us for a webinar for Contractor College and demonstrates how to utilize the Standards in contracts. Standards benefit everyone. The Standards not only deal with products, they deal with issues such as qualifications, information provisions, customer expectations and complaints, handling, and billing. They protect us as a painting industry and give us the information we need to make informed choices.

I’m sure you will agree that Randy is highly qualified to give the following advice: “Raise the painting industry by becoming a member. Increase business savvy and income with expertise. Give back to the industry by sharing with like-minded contractors.”

Tags:  member spotlight  randy fornoff 

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