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Archive for the ‘Chief Engineer’ Category

Paintshop: What Hotel and Facility Painters Need to Do Their Jobs

*** A lead painter, whose hotel was damaged by Hurricane Maria’s winds, reminded me about a post that I missed submitting. Perhaps, you will find something here that can help you in 2017.

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A hotel chain’s Senior chief engineer in South Carolina emailed about team preparedness, after the October 29, 2014 post. (“Hotel Engineering Team Training: Pilot Project 2015”)

 

“We’re a small group of specialty brand inns.  Our paint applicators are all experienced in brush, roller and spray. None of them requires formal instruction on using new products, tools (and) equipment. Each painter is good at picking up on things, and running with it.

 

“Our budget is always tight. The 2015 budget can be stretched to purchase a few newer types of products, tools and equipment for each paint shop.

 

“I emailed all of our engineering directors. Each submitted a similar short list of needs. All of them requested the following:

 

1.  Samples of new formulations of basic paint products that may fit our property needs.

‘My application specialist needs to test out a product before he can decide whether to go with the newer product, or stick with the standard one.’

 

2. Small samples of products as they come on the market.

‘Our chief engineers push for their painters and maintenance techs to get to test out any new product, supply, tool, or piece of equipment before they get stuck with it.’

 

3. Free new painting and maintenance tools to try-before-we-buy.

‘Promising new tools come on the market. I want my painter, and maintenance people, to be able to try a few of them, at least. . .It makes no sense to buy a new tool for my paint shop, before we know if it will work for the painter that has to use it.’

 

4. New spray gun, or spray system pre-purchase testing

‘Each of our painters does a lot of spraying, interior and exterior. At some point, a spray gun becomes too costly to repair, or rebuild, even with thorough cleaning and careful maintenance. Replacement becomes sensible option. Some of the new spray gun systems can be expensive…’

 

Question 1: “Bob, who do we call to get small samples of products as they come on the market?”

Answer: “In your capacity, contact the product manufacturer’s testing division. Explain your interest and need in testing new products before you buy them. Tell them about the products, including theirs, that your painters have used in the past. Share a short list of pros and cons. Offer specific engineering departments and sites within your chain as “testers and test sites.”

 

Question 2: “How do we get samples of new paint/finish products that may fit our property (ies)?”

Answer: “Talk to your regular paint supplier/distributor first. If that doesn’t work, contact the paint manufacturer’s representative for each respective product line.”

TIP: “It might help to seal the arrangement if you can offer your paint applicators’ experiences with the product as ‘painting trade testimonials.’ Check in advance with a few of your painters.”

 

Question 3: “How do we get to test out new tools and equipment free? Try-before-we-buy?”

Answer: “Contact the respective tool manufacturer – “Trade/contractor services.” Talk with the director or assistant director of their “after market” research testing center. Find out what type(s) of research data they need.

 

“And, if you know that you can help meet their need:

“FAX a 1-2 page “Trade Testing-Based Proposal. Offer to provide “after market” tool use data. State how many “testing” locations you can provide and their location. For each, describe:

(1) approximate acreage and age of developed area, also property layout;

(2) structures: number, square footage, style, relevant substrates;

(3) paint shop job description, capabilities.

 

“For the tool, describe (1) need: current and projected; (2) use: how, where, and frequency; (3) purchasing plan: minimum quantity, initial order; approximate purchase date(s).

 

TIP: “Keep your proposal brief, and to the point! Do not offer the expertise of any specific dynamo painters under your umbrella. At this point, do not “bank on” any staff member to help pull this off.”

 

Question 4: “How can we get at least three spray systems to try out? Pre-purchase testing. Longer than one day for each system.

“Next year’s budget: I can fit in the purchase of one system for each property, after March 30. If our applicators know how to use the system, each engineering department can save sizeable funds, now going to outside contractors…”

Answer: “Spray systems for commercial and/or industrial use tend to be expensive. Phone the manufacturer’s nearest rep. Especially if you already use one or more of their spray guns and spraying systems.

 

“If you’re confident that you can provide important data not yet at the manufacturer’s fingertips:

“FAX a 1-page proposal letter. Offer to supply certifiable testimonials from both your top, and less experienced, sprayers. Include their experience in using that manufacturer’s spray systems, also their experience using any comparable system made by a top competitor.

“Briefly describe how your sprayers can provide feedback that will help the manufacturer build and sustain its market base for that specific spray system.

 TIP: “Please do not offer to provide any data that you’re not certain you can supply.”

 

Some needs transfer into future situations. Some useful ideas turn into future opportunities.

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Thanks for reading “Painting with Bob.”

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

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Painting Them: Camouflaging Beat Up Walls, Doors, Trim

The 85-year old hotel showed its age. Though well maintained, its 240 guest rooms needed a major face lift.

But the group of employee owners could not afford it.

Yet, to fill their rooms – to keep their doors open, they needed to improve its appearance. Also they needed to repair the essentials.

In early 2016, I stayed in one of their best rooms. It needed a lot of work.

In December of 2016, the hotel’s painter demonstrated his face-lift plan to the chief engineer and general manager. Both men pushed for the group of owners to authorize the plan.

Here’s the painter’s plan, in the order that the respective area(s) would be redecorated.

1. GUEST ROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the surfaces of the wall in the worst shape.
B. Next, apply a base coat in the room’s darker main color.
C. Then, apply faux finish glaze – eg. sponging – in same color tinted 2-3 hues lighter.
D. Option: Apply base coat in main color lightened three hues. Then apply glaze coat in color 3 hues darker.
TIP: Save even more time and money. Forget the fresh base coat. And apply only the faux finish glaze – eg. sponging, dragging, or ragging – in same hue as base color, or lighter or darker.

2. GUEST ROOM BATHROOMS
A. Thoroughly wash and rinse the worst wall. Let dry.
B. Lightly sand area so all streaks and gouged edges fake into surface.
C. Paint wall in same color used as glaze color on Guestroom wall.
D. Bonus: Paint contrasting 3-inch border along top of accent wall, across from adjoining wall leading to bedroom’s refinished wall.
E. TIP: Repaint all trim and molding in base coat or Vanilla cream.

3. PUBLIC RESTROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the vanity/sink wall.
B. Repaint in bright hue that contrasts with room’s main color.
Example: If main color is light gray, repaint sink wall in Light Aquamarine, Lime, or Berry.

4. CORRIDORS
A. Patch, then lightly sand walls on both sides.
B. Repaint upper walls in tint of lightest color used in hotel’s main color scheme.
C. Repaint lower walls in darker hue of same color.
D. Repaint baseboard/trim in same light color as upper walls.
E. Repaint end wall, if nicked, in contrasting color.

5. LOBBY
A. Grid worst wall into vertical stripes.
B. Patch, then lightly sand the surface.
C. Paint stripes in alternating colors: Predominant color in the room, then same color tinted 3 hues lighter or darker.
D. Option: Apply one of the colors in faux finish – eg. dragging, flogging.

The objective: Recoat the surfaces so that they would pass even the “UP CLOSE” test.

The goal: Enhance the amenity’s appearance so that the guests say “Wow!” when they walk in.

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“Painting with Bob” aims to present a side of painting that makes your job easier, and enjoyable. On a daily basis.

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

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.

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.

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