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Top tags: member spotlight  chad jeffries  Color Expressions  dave scaturro  Donna Dawe  randy fornoff  Rob French 

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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Member Spotlight: Chad Jeffries

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 22, 2016

Chad Jeffries – Brick City Painting and Drywall 

Chad attended Lynn, Massachusetts Vocational & Technical School and pursued painting and decorating as his trade. During that time he learned the basics of the business as well as furniture refinishing. During his Senior year, his shop teacher saw his potential and recruited him on his personal company crew. “That experience played a big part in where I am today.” said Chad. Shortly after graduation Chad moved to Missouri and began painting for a small painting company. He later purchased a local carpet cleaning business and added a painting service. He began doing subcontractor work for his current business partner who also saw Chad’s potential. Their new partnership gave birth to Brick City Painting and Drywall. Chad says, “The growth of the company has far exceeded our expectations, and our crew has grown from 5 to 25. We are proud of our business, our work, and our repeat customer base. Our customer referrals reflect our quality of work. I am, and always will be, thankful for those who saw my potential.”



We asked Chad what motivated him to become a member of PDCA.

“PDCA offers many opportunities, including training, networking, and tradeshow/EXPO. Becoming a member of PDCA was a way to step up our game. The reputation of PDCA adds credibility to our company and speaks to our customers of the standards we live up to.”

When asked which PDCA benefit was most valuable, Chad replied:

“It is hard to narrow down to one most valuable benefit as there are several that make our membership so important to our business. Contractor College and the EXPO have been pivotal in our growth. The PDCA has instilled the importance of education and training and has taken me from painter to professional. However, I would have to say that the PDCA Industry Standards have been a key part of our daily business practices. Brick City Painting & Drywall feels so strongly about the PDCA Industry Standards that they have been incorporated into our company booklet which is distributed to potential customers. If I had to narrow down to the one most valuable benefit - it would be the PDCA Industry Standards and Craftsmen Practices.”

 

“The standards set by the PDCA have been helpful in communicating to customers what to expect from our services. While we fully stand by the complete list of standards, there are specific ones that help clarify to customers the guidelines of finish inspection which have proven to be incredibly helpful. In the past we have had customers climb on ladders and use a magnifying glass to inspect our finish. We now have the backing of PDCA setting the standard of inspection prior to completion. PDCA P1-5.3 has helped set a reasonable standard for customer inspection. While there will always be that one customer that tends to stretch the limits, there is no misinterpreting this inspection Standard.”

PDCA has had a positive impact on Chad’s company. “The professionalism of our company has been evident with the training offered by the PDCA. It has helped with productivity and skill in the field and has helped with marketing and accounting efficiency in the office. PDCA has had a tremendous effect on our company as a whole. Joining the PDCA has given our business the boost to excel in our industry.”

Brick City Painting has been an APC Top Job award winner two consecutive years. They have also been active in community service, painting the Mexico Youth League Flag Pole and the Shriner’s Pavillion.

Here is the advice Chad gives to members and potential members. “Take advantage of all the resources offered by the PDCA. The cost of membership is minimal in comparison to the value of the training and resources offered by the PDCA. Their mission statement says it all: ‘The Painting and Decorating Contractors of America is dedicated to the success of painting and decorating contractors through ethics, education and excellence.’ This is true through every aspect of the PDCA. Advice to any prospective member -JOIN PDCA! It will be one of the best decisions you will make for your business.” Obviously Chad and Brick City Painting & Drywall deserve a place in the spotlight.

Tags:  chad jeffries  member spotlight 

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Member Spotlight: Dave Scaturro

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 8, 2016
Updated: Monday, August 1, 2016

Dave Scaturro is a second generation painting contractor and owner of Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors. Based in Paterson, NJ, Dave’s firm specializes in commercial, industrial, and in-house shop blasting and painting and has won a PIPP award an amazing 11 times.

Dave’s uncle, Steve Scaturro, was a huge advocate of continued education and encouraged Dave to become a PDCA member. Dave says: “Based on his [Uncle Steve] experience, he felt the PDCA was a great portal for cultivating my growth in the industry. He was right.”

When asked what PDCA benefit had been most valuable to him, Dave replied: “There are too many to count, but if I had to pick one it would be the PDCA Estimating Guide. By studying the guide, both Volumes 1 & 2, I was able to create a clean system for estimating our projects. It helped me with developing a consistent price structure that afforded our estimators the comfort of providing an accurate and fair price each time we bid a project.”

Dave has made good use of the PDCA benefits. In regard to the Industry Standards, Dave shared the following: “I am a big fan of P14, which identifies and describes various levels of surface preparation for repainting projects. My family used to give our customers prep options based on, ‘Do you want an A, B or C job?’ What my father and uncle were trying to express to our customers was, ‘How much money do you want to spend on prep?’ Now, with the availability of P14, I can clearly communicate the differences in levels of surface preparation on a more professional level. With this Standard I can help level out the playing field by better qualifying the customer. Also, if there are any concerns with the level of prep during the job, I can refer back to the documented prep level in my proposal/contract to justify our work.”

PDCA has obviously had a positive impact on Dave’s company’s success. “Being an active PDCA member has helped our people develop systems for running our business. We’ve been able to learn from other established firms and incorporate their best practices into our company. Our goal is not to recreate the wheel…we would rather develop a more efficient one.”

Dave’s advice to fellow members is: “Participate. Get involved with local, regional and national PDCA. Find your own comfort level. Join one of the PDCA Forums. Sign up for the Contractor College classes online through PDCA’s website. Check out a webinar, Ask-A-Peer, and listen to a podcast. You will only get out, what you put in. So my suggestion is to get active!”

Dave takes advantage of his PDCA benefits, but he also gives back to PDCA in equal measure. He was the president of the North Jersey Chapter for many years, several years the chair of the Commercial Forum, and the chair of the Emerging Leaders program. He is currently participating as one of the contractor experts in the Ask-A-Peer program.

Dave’s philosophy in life is “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right.” [Henry Ford]

 

Tags:  dave scaturro  member spotlight 

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Member Spotlight: Donna Dawe

Posted By Chris Shank, Tuesday, June 21, 2016

 

 

How does a realtor in California become a successful painting contractor in Virginia?  Donna Dawe of Color Expressions Painting has that answer, and here is her journey.

As a realtor, Donna had the opportunity to refurbish and renovate properties.  Since that was the area she enjoyed most, it was a logical transition to residential repaint.  When she moved to Virginia she opened her own company and now runs 3 residential crews and 1 commercial crew.  Eighty-five percent of her business is residential repaint, but she is anxious to become more involved in the commercial segment of the industry.  Donna says “There was a lot to learn, but it’s an interesting business.  To satisfy my creative side, I’ve gotten into the decorative/faux side of the business.  Most recently we have started doing carved and stamped concrete.  We create trick stacked stone and stamped concrete walls, BBQ surrounds, and fireplace surrounds.”

When asked what attracted her to PDCA she said, “The education and support services of PDCA are great.  I also enjoy meeting and socializing with other contractors and service providers. PDCA helps me stay abreast of changes in the industry, new products, and new ways of achieving desired results. It has made me a better-informed operator.”

Donna’s advice to new members:  “Get involved!  Participate and network with other painters.  Go to the annual conventions.  Make the most of your membership.”

PDCA offers kudos to Donna and her excellent staff.  Enjoy your well-deserved place in the Member Spotlight!

Tags:  Color Expressions  Donna Dawe  member spotlight 

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Member Spotlight: Rob French

Posted By Chris Shank, Thursday, June 16, 2016
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2016

For June's PDCA Leadership Spotlight we sat down with PDCA Chairman of the Board Of Directors, Rob French.  

Rob French is the President of Ed French Painting, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ed French Painting has been in business for 70 years. In addition to being Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rob is also the President of PDCA's Florida Council. His areas of industry specialization are hospitality, hospitals and commercial offices,

Rob answered our questions on industry direction, problems, and solutions as only a seasoned industry veteran can!

 

From your perspective, what is one of the top concerns of painting contractors in the 21st Century?

Labor. Specifically, the ability to keep a fresh and qualified staff of painters to fulfill the needs of our company,  and the lack of qualified, legal, painters and other craftsmen entering the industry.


What are your personal experiences with this issue?

We are a very old (70 years) company and currently all of our employees have been with us for 20+ years and have grown with the company. Hiring young qualified painters has been a problem in our area for a long time. Painting is not a craft young men and women want to get into. A huge challenge in our area of the country is competition with contractors who exclusively hire undocumented employees and pay their workforce substandard wages (usually under the table). Experienced painters who apply for positions are many times undocumented yet expect to be paid standard wages. Between an undocumented workforce and a lack of young men and women entering the field, hiring is tough.


 How have you solved this problem?

I have aligned our company with a certified apprenticeship program at a local technical college. This program focuses on all aspects of the industry and provides workers who are ready to enter the field with skills that we can build on. We partner young painters with our experienced painters and get good results. In order to provide apprenticeship programs to viable students, our local PDCA Chapter (Fort Lauderdale Gulfstream Chapter) has partnered with the Broward County Public Schools to begin a pre-apprentice program which is being developed as a career path and will feed into one of the county’s technical school apprenticeship programs. It was determined that it was not enough to expect young men and women to want to apprentice in the painting industry at the post-secondary level. We needed to attract them at a younger age and show them the value of the industry and the craft as a lucrative career.


How would you advise other painting contractors to solve this problem?

Knowing that all the construction trades face these labor issues (not just painters), I would suggest that you align yourself with an apprenticeship program so you can put young painters on your staff in a program learning basics. If you do not have an apprenticeship program near you, consider creating one within your company or partnering with other contractors and paint stores to start one. Talk to your local school board to promote an industry career path in your high school, give craft talks, and demonstrate how you have made your company a viable business. Offer employee incentives to those who bring on either experienced craftsmen or young people who want to learn the trade, and encourage your employees to talk to young people about the benefits and value of their job.

Finally, join an industry organization such as the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America. PDCA provides on-line training and peer to peer networking opportunities for contractors AND their employees. PDCA is rolling out new plans to prepare for the future of the painting industry. We realize that training and education is a large component of today’s business practices, and we are putting all of our efforts into further establishing PDCA as the recognized leader in the training and education of contractors and their employees.  PDCA has on-line training for everything from the basics of the craft to best business practices for contractors at any level. Members and their employees can participate in webinars, listen to podcasts, and view on-demand videos. Additionally, PDCA Accreditation is a proven means to indicate that your company has gone the extra mile to separate yourself from the competition. Soon we will be establishing a more comprehensive certification program that will be available to contractors and to individual painters as well. 

 In order to attract a fresh and qualified workforce you have to be proactive and think outside the box. Our industry survival depends on it.

Tags:  member spotlight  Rob French 

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