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Archive for the ‘Engineering/Facilities Services’ Category

Painter’s World: On Being a Paint Superintendent, or a Boss

One time, I jumped all over my father for coming down hard on a new painter.

Dad said, “He deserved it.”

I said, “No, he deserved some respect. He deserved a chance to learn, then to get it right.”

Less than fifteen minutes later, my dad took the new crew member aside. He apologized and showed the man the correct way to do the job that he’d been assigned. Then Dad stepped away.

It was the first and last time that I ever heard him yell at a crew member. And, after he died, many painters told me that they had never heard him do that.

Yes, he raised his voice. Yes, he called out the painters when they deserved it. Yes, he corrected them. And yes, he even told them what to do.

But, when a painter was not getting it – or not getting it right, Dad would help him rectify the situation. Often cutting into his own time schedule that was already under tight constraints.

When more than one painter was not getting it at the same time, Dad stopped everything. And he conducted a little, on-site crash course. Whether the problem was a new product, a stubborn piece of equipment, a resistant surface, uncooperative weather conditions, etc., he showed the entire crew that was there what needed to be done. Or not.

During Memorial Day week-end, a retired and former member of our old crew e-mailed me the following…

“Bob, your dad was a commanding force wherever he went. Wherever he stood. I knew him for over forty years. We joined IBPAT (IUPAT) about the same time.

“He was a man to be reckoned with, but never a man that insisted on it. He knew the painting trade backward and forward, inside and out. He was so blamed skilled and experienced in the trade that he could do anything that he tackled. A top rate superintendent or foreman, a ‘take charge’ person that everyone respected…”

Working under my dad was overwhelming at times. His six-foot, 200-pound frame served him well for the job he was given in life. It partnered well with the way that he needed to run a job, paint crew, powerful piece of equipment, or even dealings with a client or architect.

And the nickname “Moose” suited him like a custom pair of whites. His caribou-like walk sort of shook the floorboards when he charged through a job site. More than once, I tensed up waiting for him to bellow.

Some painters and decorators are cut out to be superintendents or bosses. You just look at them, and you know that. You see it. You hear it. You sense it in the way that they approach even basic, mundane tasks. With a unique command of and presence in everything they do.

One more thing: Commanding forces such as my father often attract equally commanding forces. People just like them. In my father’s case, it happened to be very successful entrepreneurs and founders of established enterprises. Men and women whose natural inclination was to take charge… to assume responsibility… to accept accountability for how things turned out.

Being a superintendent or a big boss was never my thing. Thankfully. For one thing, I don’t know if my father could have taken the strain, or competition. (And my mother? Forget it!)

Early in my painting career, I found my niche: serving as the go-to guy for those superintendents and bosses. Their back up when trouble loomed, and things got tough. Fortunately, every one of them, including my father, has been more than glad to turn things over to me. And to trust me with them.

Being able to fulfill – and to exceed – their expectations and needs on a consistent basis has been so worth all the effort. And the hard knocks.

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Great leaders must have great people to lead.
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Thanks to all visitors to “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Helping Your Teammates

You want to keep your job, right? And, you want to stay as productive as you can for as long as they can?

So do your teammates wherever you work. Whether they work in the same department as you, on in a different department.

HOW CAN YOU HELP TEAMMATES TO KEEP THEIR JOBS?

Ten Ways to Be a First-Rate Teammate

1. Keep your eyes and ears open.

2. Pay attention to the different way that a teammate is doing his or her job today, versus yesterday, last week, or a month ago. What’s going on with him or her?

A. Is he or she taking more work shortcuts?
B. Is he or she taking longer breaks?
C. Is he or she babying a certain part of the body – eg. right leg, left wrist?
D. Is he or she slacking off wherever or whenever possible?
E. Is he or she complaining about parts of the job that he or she used to enjoy?
F. Is he or she slipping in mini-breaks, in addition to the allowed 15 minute breaks AM and PM?

3. If your teammate shows signs of needing help:

A. Ask if it’s okay to give him or her a little help.
B. Or, lend a hand without saying a word, or without being asked.
Examples: Lifting a 50-pound bag of mulch, or carrying 5-gallon buckets of paint.

4. Cover his or her back, especially when he or she is going through rough times.

5. Offer to switch your holiday work schedule with a teammate that has children.

6. Show up with a cold bottled water, sandwich and snack when he or she is working alone on a major work order or task, or difficult project.

7. Offer to help a teammate troubleshoot on a time-consuming and stressful problem.

8. During a teammate’s vacation, try your best to keep up with his or her work orders, so he or she is not swamped upon their return.

9. Say “Please” and “Thanks” once in a while. And, always compliment each of your teammates whenever it is deserved.

10. Help make a departing teammate’s last day a really good day. Help throw him or her a little farewell party – even if you’re glad to see the person leave.

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Foremost, a painter is part of a team – and one cog in that BIGGER wheel.
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Thanks for checking out “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Posts…

The fun, and challenge, of writing and publishing any blog for painters is to cover topics that will be helpful. Being in the trade has its benefits in that area.

Here are a handful of subjects that I’ve dealt with recently – and I’ve decided to take a closer look into:

1. Paintshop Software Programs, Apps, etc.

2. Paintshop Policies and Practices: Reporting Problems.

3. Painter’s World: How Job Descriptions Have Changed.

4. Paintshop: New Construction Materials that Affect the Commercial Painter’s Job.

5. Paintshop: Techniques and Methods that Painters Need Today to Work on Newer Construction Surfaces.

6. Painter’s World: Painting and Decorating for the Disabled Person.

Now, I can’t promise exactly when any of these topics will be posted. But, they’re coming!

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Curiosity may have killed the cat; it also keeps the curious painter always looking for answers.
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Thanks for checking in with “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Volunteering Your Painting and Decorating Skills, Part II: Options and Action

When it comes to volunteering our painting skills, we may overlook the needs that exist in our own community or neighborhood. Two large categories below:

1. Steer your skills where they can matter the most at this time.
Examples:
A. Local low budget nursing home unable to afford staff painter.
B. Local public school severely hurt by sharp budget cuts.
C. Local free medical clinic.
D. Local small church or church school.
E. Low income or fixed income neighborhood.
F. Family that’s been uprooted by severe medical bills, or death of main breadwinner.

2. Consider discreetly volunteering your skills for persons that you know.
Examples:
A. Relative or friend.
B. Elderly or disabled neighbor.
C. Your church pastor and family.
D. Members of church family.

Also, we may not know how to go about finding these needs in our own back yards. Two ideas:

1. To locate a local needy person or family, check with your pastor or one of a nearby smaller parish.
TIPS: Some churches only accept volunteer work through their own parishioners. Also, people have their pride. Offer help only to persons or families willing to accept to accept it.

2. To find a local low-income church, organization, facility, school or group, I suggest that you write a brief letter offering your painting skills labor-free. Include the following information:

A. summary of your experience
B. work you’re available to do, including days, no. of hours, morning or afternoon.
C. availability: 1 time, temporary for 3 months 1 year, etc.
D. statement about who buys and who pays for needed supplies – eg. paint, caulking tubes
fillers, sandpapers, paint thinner.
E. statement about when supplies would need to be purchased.
F. statement about your limits – eg. interior work, environmental conditions, hazardous conditions, tools
and equipment.

A FEW TIPS ABOUT DOING THE VOLUNTEER PAINTING JOB

1. Aim to leave behind a finished job as good as you do in your paid painting job.
2. Follow standard and exceptional policies, procedures, and techniques that you normally follow.
3. Be neat, thorough and friendly.
4. Respect all the health and safety rules that you would normally follow.
5. Be professional on your volunteer job, too.
6. Respect the rules that apply to your work for the person, family, organization, group, etc.
7. Maintain your pre-set volunteering parameters. Do not volunteer to do more than you have
offered or agreed upon, at least the first time that you help out that person or group. Even
one extra room, area or park bench can require more time than you have available.
8. Be honest.
9. Set and keep to a schedule. Cancel or change work dates and times only if necessary. And,
give prompt notice.

MY VIEW: I want to do my best. And, I want beneficiaries to want me to come back and help them again.

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When a painter volunteers, he or she adds special strokes of hope into the lives of others.
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Cocoa Beach Hotel Faces Changes Head On

In March, a hotel GM in Cocoa Beach invited me to stay there for several days. It was the idea of the property management company that had contacted me, way back in 2013, about a position.

 

“Pack a clean set of whites,” had been added at the end of the email. Curious. I did as requested, and headed for the ocean.

 

For the next three days, the hotel’s painter and management company regional director of operations led me around the property. They pointed out surfaces that needed work. They walked me through areas they wanted to improve. They showed me themes and color schemes that the owners wanted to change. And, they made lots of notes on their iPads.

 

The fourth day, we revisited some of those areas. Then, we sat at a small shaded table, and went over the men’s notes. By that time, typed into a hard copy for each of us.

 

Usually, that’s when “the best laid plan hits the fan” (my paraphrase). What the budget can bear differs a lot from the combined needs and wish lists. And, available time and manpower.

 

Not in this case. Everyone at the decision table has been motivated – and ready to move.

 

For example: Here’s what has happened within the last month and a half.

 

  1. A local general contractor was hired to repair and upgrade guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, game room, health club, children’s playground, and part of the conference center.

 

  1. A specialty contractor has signed on to remodel the main kitchen, and public restrooms.

 

  1. The GM has been authorized to add three people to the engineering staff for two full years.

All three will start work August 01, 2017. Each will handle specific aspects of the property upgrade.

 

  1. Grounds-landscaping specialist – Redesign and re-landscape the front entrance, nature sanctuary, rest, and walkway areas.
  2. HVAC and OSHA specialist – Handle vent system cleaning, filter installation, room thermostat replacements, bathroom fan/ventilation system cleaning and repairs.
  3. Painter – Prepping and repainting all areas designated on the improvement list.

 

Each of the three new engineering employees worked previously at, or on, the hotel property.

 

Each is a certified specialist in his or her trade.

 

Each is proficient in English and Spanish. One also speaks and writes Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.

 

Each is related to a current hotel staff member.

 

Few engineering departments are able to gain three additional workers at once. Fewer have the luxury to employ three specialists at once.

 

It is done more readily in other parts of the U. S. It can be done when both the hotel management and owners are operating on the same wave length. At the same time.

 

An exciting thing to see in action – to be a part of – when it happens.

 

 

“Together… making a place for the human spirit to find ease, if only for one night’s stay…”

 From: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. Copyright 2015.

 

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As always! Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop and Management: Transparency and Accountability

The terms “transparency” and “accountability” are used in every trade and industry, including government and not-for-profits. Together, also sometimes synonymously.

 

What do transparency and accountability mean, in relation to the painting and decorating trade?

 

Transparency: Painter demonstrates a clear, honest and understandable picture of his or her, as well as others’, decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

Accountability: Painter becomes answerable and takes responsibility for his or her, and/or others’ decisions, choices, actions, behaviors, etc.

 

How can transparency and accountability work in the painting and decorating trade?

 

Problem/Situation: Yellow paint used for “No Parking” and “Yield” lines faded, wore off fast.

Transparency: Painter shows management the difference in composition and durability between paint product supplied, and the product recommended for high-traffic exterior surface.

Accountability: Painter takes share of painter-supervisor-management group’s responsibility for approving, ordering and using less durable and low-cost paint product.

 

Problem/Situation: Re-touched up others’ surface touch-ups, still left paint color differences.

Transparency: Painter shows G.M. how budget and time crunch drove decision to re-touch up small area versus repainting entire wall or room.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for completing work order that way, knowing results and need to still repaint wall or room as soon as possible.

 

Problem/Situation: Repainted entire wall after bleach clean-up of major Black mold fungi buildup, costing more than touching up immediate surface.

Transparency: Painter shows Housekeeping Director and G.M. why repainting wall was necessary and explains why it may be needed again in near future.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for own and supervisor’s decision to repaint area as soon as possible, and to help get guest room back into circulation.

 

Problem/Situation: Painted office walls stripped of wallcovering and heavily infested with Toxic Black Mold Fungi.

Transparency: Painter shows management why applying paint vs. wallcovering is safer, healthier.

Accountability: Painter assumes responsibility for tone-down appearance; offers to add border.

 

Problem/Situation: Caulked, repainted lobby’s slylight area vs. touching up water leak spots.

Transparency: Painter shows management that treatment plan protected area. Also, how it “bought” them little more time before major repairs and reconstruction would be needed.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility caulking and repainting jobs temporary, visible fixes.

 

Problem/Situation: Declined “quick-fix” project to repaint all exterior guest room doors.

Transparency: Painter showed management dire need, and wise move, to properly prep, fill cracks, sand, and prime area before applying finish coat.

Accountability: Painter shared responsibility for appearance of doors, if repainted with minor prep work.

 

Problem/Situation: Discreetly inspected major wall damage, and advised extended-stay family of guests in suite before notifying managers.

Transparency: Painter explains to guest that damage must be reported before repairs could be done. Reported damages, situation to managers; suggested creative solution for repairing area.

Accountability: Painter takes responsibility for inspection and assessment before reporting problem. Takes responsibility for proposing that guest help make repairs to save everyone money and face.

 

Problem/Situation: Completed priority-scheduled project late, delayed by manager’s switching painter to handle unscheduled, extra project.

Transparency: Painter shows managers how delays impacted completion of priority project, before arrival of large group of guests.

Accountability: Painter assumes share of responsibility for non-completion of project in time, also for not holding firm to shared goal of General management-Engineering/Paintshop-Housekeeping.

 

Tips on how to look at any problem or situation

 

  1. It falls within the painter’s/paintshop’s scope of expertise, abilities, resources, responsibility.
  2. It has a solution. * So let’s find out what that is
  3. Let’s take care of it, the best we can with what we have to work with.
  4. Do it for the people. Do it for the place. Do it for the community.

 

Tips on how to look at Transparency and Accountability

 

  1. In the short-run or long-run, honesty is the best policy – and the easiest to justify.
  2. The obvious will always shine through, one way or another, eventually.
  3. It’s easy to understand what’s true, and to see through the rest.
  4. Self-responsibility is the trademark of a good human being.

 

A Painter’s work life is full of tests. Beyond skill, ability, knowledge, and adeptness.

 

Among them are tests that measure:

 

  1. His/her character, sense of ethics and philosophy of living.
  2. His/her loyalty to the painting trade and construction industry; the employer, manager, team.
  3. His/her commitment to the organization, and the business.
  4. His/her respect for and appreciation of everyone served by that organization – eg. guests.
  5. His/her collaborative spirit toward everyone with whom the business deals.
  6. His/her self-responsibility toward the organization’s role in the community at large.

 

A painter’s willingness to be transparent and accountable is a central key to professional and personal success, fulfillment and longevity!

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Thank you to every painter that tries to live and work a self-responsible life.

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Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: The Truth About Paint

“You get what you pay for” goes for paint and supplies as well.

 

For the painter, it is important to get the best value out of the products chosen. Painting materials must guarantee some degree of durability to retain their worth over time. You look for something else if they don’t.

 

What separates a quality paint product from one at the bottom of the barrel? One is a quality-formulated product; the other pretends to be one, particularly as they try to compete.

 

Typically, you can rely on a paint product which is a high-end brand name. And within that, the most expensive is normally the best. The reason is research and development.

 

When a company focuses on making a better, longer lasting product, the result should be a more durable product. At the same time, the manufacturers of all higher-end products do try to make improvements to even their lower-end, cheaper materials.

 

When it comes to paint, here’s what you should look for:

  1. amount of pigment.
  2. volume of solvent. CAUTION: Some paints have more water than they should.
  3. cost per gallon, versus the cost per five-gallon unit (not more than $15/$130.)
  4. paint is not manufactured by a foreign subsidiary of main brand.
  5. product has UV protection. TIP: If it doesn’t the surface may oxidize faster.
  6. binder percentages in paint are equivalent to similar priced and types of paint.
  7. viscosity test level information. TIP: My opinion: Paint is worthless if the material is too thin.
  8. Paint with primer” added is a misnomer. CAUTION: The chemistry of either cannot be combined to produce the same results as when the primer is applied by itself, then later the finish paint.

 

About Primers. A primer bonds to the surface. It provides a porous anchoring surface that the top coat to which it can bond effectively.

 

“Paint with primer” products skip one critical step. Be careful about this, especially if you’re an experienced painter. The time and money you think you are saving, along with the idea that your work has become easier, diminishes the actual quality of the job itself. You could be painting something twice in a year instead of once.

 

Now, who has the best Paint?

The two central choices are Glidden and Sherwin Williams. They have a long and valued reputation for making high quality, long lasting and moderately priced coatings. For the price, they are also the most diverse in their product types. Sherwin Williams, by far, has the best industrial line.

In its response to the residential market, the Behr paint line is exceptional, as well, although the pricing is somewhat higher than Glidden. For stains, Minwax and Olympic are without real competition. They also have a long history behind them. In the automotive industry, I would rate DuPont as the best option.

 

What are the most durable paints?

 

The three that I select the most are the following:

  1. Elastomeric compounds for exterior commercial masonry surfaces,
  2. Two-part Urethanes for automotive refinishing,
  3. Two-part Epoxy products for commercial/industrial corrosion and abrasion resistance.

 

Within reason and knowledge of these products, they may be purchased and applied by the general public.

 

A True On-Site Story…

 
I once painted a smoke stack with a silicon, heat resistant alkyd paint. The label said the product was resistant up to 600 degrees Farenheit.

After two days of curing, the smoke stack was put back into service. That same day the paint bubbled and peeled off, sending sheets of paint floating to the ground. It had been shown that the temperature of the metal heated to a consistent 625 degrees. Was it the paint product’s fault?
Several days later, I repainted the stack with another heat resistant product. This time it was a high-heat, aluminum fibered material. Once the stack became heated, everything turned out fine, no loose or peeling paint. In this case, I said it was the paint. Go figure.

 

Every experienced painter has a less than favorable on-site story to relate. Hopefully, yours had a positive ending, like mine did. Eventually.

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Best wishes from “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert  D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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