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Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category

Painting It: An Author’s Painter – and Movie Sets

An author’s greatest reward can be seeing one of his or her novels reach the big screen.

A handful of novelists have had more than three of their works turned into a full-feature film.
Few of these novelists write the screenplay version of their novels. More of them do, these days, serve as technical consultants during the filming of their stories.

Earlier this year, one of these prolific authors of popular film stories got his house painter and decorator a job as a painter on the set of a movie.

Let’s call him “Joel.” The man mixed and matched the paints. Then he painted the movie set’s exterior buildings, store fronts and related areas; also the interiors of many sets. It was meant to be a very temporary gig.

Three-and-a-half weeks into the project, the construction crew’s lead painter was in an accident, and couldn’t work. “Joel,” the temporary set painter, who was a seasoned commercial painter and decorator, was put into the lead job.

At the end of filming, the author came along. He offered the temporary painter a full-time, steady job as a movie set painter. Particularly the sets of the author’s film projects. And, this author always tends to have one of his novels heading for or already on a movie set somewhere.

“It was a lot of fun,” my old painter friend told me while visiting in Florida in early July. “Being around all that action… some great actors… very talented, skilled craftspersons and artisans. That was great.”

The man’s eyes dropped to the paint color chips in my hand. And the two, 5-gallon buckets of paint at my feet.

“This,” he pointed around the paint store, “is me.” Then, he grabbed one of the heavy paint buckets and walked out to my ‘87 Chevy Blazer. The subject of movie-set painting closed!

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The mark of a real pro is often the little things that he does, and the big decisions he makes, along his way.
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Thanks to all readers and followers – visible and hidden – of “Painting with Bob.”

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

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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.

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.

Hotel Painting During Slow Seasons

 

In lodging, the slow season varies in different regions of the country – even in certain areas within a given state.

 

The climate – weather – has a lot to do with it. So do school terms, vacation times – both school and employment; busy seasons in a specific industry, trade or business.

 

In Florida, the slow season tends to fall between the second week of January through March, or even April.

 

If you’re a staff painter working in Florida, the slower season is a good time to get things done. Fewer guests and visitors, fewer emergency calls and work orders, and fewer interruptions.

 

But, the “slow season” is also the period of lower revenues, lowered budget, and much fewer resources.

 

If you’re a contract painter, the slower period may be the right time to branch out and to do some freelance work.

 

SIX SLOW SEASON SOLUTIONS FOR THE STAFF PAINTER

 

  1. Before Day 1 of the slow season, decide with your chief engineer (a) what work orders and projects must stay on the roster, and (b) what projects must be shelved.
  2. Take a closer look at that list of necessary work orders and projects. Whittle it down by 25 percent.
  3. Then, prioritize those according to daily and weekly jobs.
  4. Next, establish a budget, or cost estimate, for each – based on the supplies needed to do each.
  5. Take a closer look. You may see that the list of necessary work orders and projects can be shortened. Example: Working on “bathrooms re-paint” project can be spread out over a longer period of time. Say five bathrooms a week or every two weeks, versus five a day.
  6. The toughest time: Shelve the “necessary” work orders and projects that require the most outlay of money for materials and supplies. Note: That may be the most money for few supplies.                  TIP: This amount may end up being your allotment for paintshop emergencies. Your contingency fund.
  7. Now you’re ready to schedule out your work load for each week during the dry spell, budget-wise.
  8. Be prepared for additional cutbacks (a) across-the-board organizationally, then (b) unilaterally throughout your Engineering Department.
  9. When you’re asked or expected to perform paintshop miracles during an already “bare bones” massive budget freeze, here’s what you do next:
  10. GET CREATIVE. GET TOUGH. GET WISE.

 

Seek out and volunteer to perform other essential tasks in your department – eg. maintenance, grounds. Volunteer to split your work-day time. Help out in another busier department that has also suffered staff cutbacks – eg. housekeeping, kitchen, guest services

 

Your bottom line objectives during any slow season:

  1. Keep the paintshop running.
  2. Keep your job.

 

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“Slower season” does not mean it’s the time for you to slow down on the job.

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Thank you for staying on task, whatever your regular job description.

 

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” blog.

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

 

Painting It: Susika’s “First Real Bedroom”

 

Susika was a ten-and-a-half year old when we met. Her aunt and U. S. Marine uncle had brought her home with them, after the mass family funeral in the Middle East. On the plane, they promised her a “real bedroom.”

 

Uncle “J.J.” and several handy friends knocked out a wall to add six feet to the small 10-feet by 9-feet space.

 

Here’s how they outfitted what Susika called her “first real bedroom.”

 

  1. On 15-feet window wall: Built in a window seat, with bookshelves on each end, and two roomy, half-cupboards underneath.
  2. On each side of window seat unit: A roomy closet: one for clothes, the other for her “stuff.”
  3. On other three walls: Wall rails and one-half wainscoting.
  4. Floor covering: Wall-to-wall, commercial grade carpeting: Colors: Pastels in pink, rose, cranberry, mint green, forest green. Pattern: Splashes and Swirls.
  5. Bed Furniture: Wood twin bed, 6-drawer dresser, 2 night tables. From uncle’s elderly neighbors.
  6. Old wooden desk and chair. Shared by her mother and “J. J.” as children.
  7. Small arm chair. Once used by older cousin, now in college.
  8. Toy chest. Originally belonged to her uncle.
  9. Bean bag chair, vinyl. Color: Hot pink. New. A gift from that cousin in college.
  10. Four-shelf, three-drawer unit. For stuffed animals and dolls. Yard sale purchase.
  11. Bulletin-White board. For hanging above desk. Purchased at Wal-Mart.

MY JOB: Paint and finish coat everything paintable. And, there was a lot.

 

Susika chose her new room’s paint colors from Glidden’s® “Make It Magical with Disney” line.

(For information: www.disneypaint.com.)

Color scheme: Soft white, pastel pinks and greens, also tinted forest green.

Paints used: Interior semi-gloss and high-gloss latexes; also artist acrylics.

 

SURFACES and AREAS, COLORS

 

Ceiling: Glidden Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand. Finish: Popcorn textured.

Upper and built-in walls, closets: Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand (tinted Pink).

Rails, vertical wood wainscoting, doors, trim; also window and cupboard doors: Color No. WDPR08. Color: Fairest of Them All.

Furniture: Color No. WDPR10. Color: Water Lily.

33-year old 4-shelf/3-drawer unit: Base coat Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand; Glazed Top coat: Color No. WDPR10 Color: Water Lily. Faux application: Random sponging.

Tops of dresser and night tables: 2-coat Faux glaze. Coat 1: Color No.: WDPR10. Color: Water Lily; Coat 2: Color No. WD FY05. Color: Fairy Flight. Faux application: Sponging, Ragging.

Built-ins and Window Seat Wall: Natural Stain; Sealer/Finish coat: Low-gloss polyurethane.

 

The entire painting project took a little more than a week. I used a large, cleaned out shed to re-finish the furniture pieces. It was equipped with central A/C. All other surfaces and areas were primed and finish-coated inside of the room.

 

PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS
Paints-Primers, finish coats: Glidden’s “Make It Magical with Disney.”

Stains, finish coats: Miniwax sealers, stains, varnishes, polyurethanes.

Artist Paints/Detailing: Liquitex Acrylics.

 

Painting and decorating children’s rooms is a lot of fun. Especially, when the painter is included in the project from the theme, design, color, and pattern selection stage.

  1. Every project is different. Every child’s preferences and needs are unique.
  2. The elements – theme, design, color, pattern – vary a lot.
  3. The products and materials used, in combination, are always one-of-kind.
  4. Working creatively within the budget draws on untapped energy, imagination and resources.
  5. A special sense of satisfaction bubbles forth as a child’s “special space” takes shape.

 

ABOUT SUSIKA
Susika’s completed room was very special for an added reason. She was a war orphan, legally adopted by her only living adult relative: an American military officer. Susika’s mother, the military officer’s sister, was an American educator that taught the children of enlisted officers stationed in the Middle East. Her father was a U. S. educated Middle Eastern professor and administrator.

 

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“My own room! It’s like having my private place in Heaven.”   Susika

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Thank you, fellow painters and decorators, for brightening the lives of others.
And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Hotel Painting During a Major Downturn

In lodging, the slow season varies in different regions of the country – even in ertain areas within a given state.

 

The climate – weather – has a lot to do with it. So do school terms, vacation times – both school and employment, busy seasons in a specific industry, trade or business. And a host of other “issues.”

 

In Florida, the slower season tends to fall between the second week of January through March, or even April.

 

If you’re a staff painter working in Florida, the slower season is a good time to get things done. Fewer guests and visitors, fewer emergency calls and work orders, and fewer interruptions.

 

But the “slower season” is also the period of lower revenues, lowered budget, and much lower supply of resources.

 

If you’re a contract painter, the slower period may be the right time to branch out and to do some freelance work.

 

TEN “SLOWER SEASON” SOLUTIONS FOR THE STAFF PAINTER

 

  1. Before Day 1 of the slow season, decide with your chief engineer (a) what work orders and projects must stay on the roster, and (b) what projects must be shelved.
  2. Take a closer look at that list of necessary work orders and projects. Whittle it down by 25 percent.
  3. Then, prioritize those according to daily and weekly jobs.
  4. Next, establish a budget, or cost estimate, for each – based on the supplies needed to do each.
  5. Take a closer look. You may see that the list of necessary work orders and projects can be shortened. Example: Working on “bathrooms re-paint” project can be spread out over a longer period of time. Say five bathrooms a week or every two weeks, versus five a day.
  6. The toughest time: Shelve the “necessary” work orders and projects that require the most outlay of money for materials and supplies. Note: That may be the most money for few supplies. TIP: This amount may end up being your allotment for paintshop emergencies. Your contingency fund.
  7. Now you’re ready to schedule out your work load for each week during the dry spell, budget-wise.
  8. Be prepared for additional cutbacks (a) across-the-board organizationally, then (b)unilaterally throughout your Engineering Department.
  9. When you’re asked or expected to perform paintshop miracles during an already “bare bones” massive budget freeze, here’s what you do next:
  10. GET CREATIVE. GET TOUGH. GET WISE.

 

TWO DO GOOD-FEEL GOOD TIPS:

  1. Seek out and volunteer to perform other essential tasks in your department – eg. maintenance, grounds.
  2. Volunteer to split your work-day time. Help out in another busier department that has also suffered staff cutbacks – eg. housekeeping, kitchen, guest services

 

Your bottom line objectives during any slower season:

  1. Keep the paintshop running.
  2. Keep your job.

 

****************************************************************************

The “slower season” does not mean it’s the time for you to slow down on the job.

****************************************************************************

Thank you for staying on task, whatever your regular job description.

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” blog.

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

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