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Posts tagged ‘Painting contractors’

Painter’s View: Tony Mareno: What He Does Know!

In the film, “Saturday Night Fever,” (1977), John Travolta plays Tony Mareno. A “nineteen, almost twenty year old,” he knows that he wants to be something. But he tells Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) that he just doesn’t know what.

 

WHAT TONY DOES KNOW:

 

  1. He wants to become an adult, and build a future for himself.
  2. He wants to make his own decisions about his own life.
  3. He wants the responsibility of a regular job.
  4. He wants to have fun with his friends, but within the law and not at the expense of anyone else’s life.
  5. He wants to be respected and trusted much more than he wants to be liked.
  6. He wants to be loved for the right reasons.
  7. And, he wants his dance partner and himself to win that competition’s first prize of $200 because they really are the best.

 

Through every situation, Tony works to maintain a set of values that even he does not yet know how deeply rooted they are within himself.

 

At the time of the movie’s release, beginning painters, under age 21, had the same types of goals and aspirations as young Tony. (And young Travolta, for that matter.) Most painters that I met in the late 1970s didn’t seem to think much about working hard to achieve respect, trust and success. They worked hard because that was what adults were supposed to do. That’s what they did to get the paint job done – on time, within budget, and satisfactorily.

 

In the 1980s, the climate started to change. I met and worked around more painters that shared my father’s view of the trade – and his set of standards. Painting and decorating was a profession, not just a job. With above-average hourly wages and great benefits, if you were a union painter.

 

More painters were approaching every aspect of the painting job seriously. And, with intent and focus.

 

Beyond painting trade, eg. IBPAT/IUPAT, journey-level certifications, they pursued goals and aspirations that were forward-thinking. They sought out training workshops and courses that led to specialized certifications. Some completed two-year or four-year college degrees in chemistry, construction management, construction/materials/civil engineering, business administration, etc. Many looked toward working for themselves: starting their own painting contracting companies.

 

They worked a lot of overtime to save for business start-up costs.

. Licenses, insurances, permits

. Paintshop space, business phone number and address

. Yellow Pages advertising; business cards, stationery, customer estimate sheets, contract forms

. Enough tools and equipment to take on jobs.

. Start-up capital, business bank account and credit card, account at nearest, major paint store (s).

 

Many of these painters wanted to build a solid future in the painting trade. And, they were willing to do whatever was necessary to start out, and stay, on the right path.

 

Some of these painters have done well as contractors. As entrepreneurs. Some of their one-man shops have grown into top contracting firms in their respective area, state and even region. Some keep thirty-to-fifty or more craftspersons busy full-time, year-round. Plus shop people, office staff, and part-timers.

 

They, their companies and their crews are recognized for doing top quality work. With finely-tuned business savvy, they run multiple jobs simultaneously. And they consistently bring in projects under budget.

 

Ironically, few of these successful painters and entrepreneurs anticipated such success. They either loved to paint and wanted to do that the rest of their painting career lives. Or, they loved the painting business and wanted to be the big boss. Their way!

 

My old boss, Ron, was one of those success stories. His company, eventually sold years ago to his partner, continues to thrive. Every painter there pursues his or her job with professionalism. Every painter, and employee, maintains the same commitment to high standards upon which the company was founded in the 1970s.

 

A non-painter, Ron ran with his entrepreneurial dream. Before taking that step, he grabbed on board one of the best commercial and industrial painters in the Midwest: my father. And, with only a one-painter crew, he opened a union painting company.

 

I remember hearing part of a kitchen table conversation when my dad and Ron brainstormed about starting a new painting contractor firm. It was very clear: Dad’s boss knew what type of business he wanted to run, and how he wanted to run it. He knew what commercial and industrial clients in the Midwest wanted, needed and expected. And, he knew how to give it to them.

 

Today, new painting company entrepreneurs can draw from the examples that people like Ron left. They can turn their goals and aspirations into realities. They can build very successful careers in a trade that appreciates creativity, commitment, and core quality.

 

And, they can thrive in a trade and industry – painting and decorating, and construction – that continues to be linked to strong architecture/design/engineering/building innovativeness, invention, and investment.

 

Congratulations to every painter-turned-contractor that has stayed true to his or her mission!

 

Footnote: Travolta and his wife, Kelly, still call “home” their plane-port community near Ocala, Florida. One of the rewards of a 40-plus year career in entertainment.

 

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Stay true to yourself, and always fly true to your mission!

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Copyright June 14, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

Painter – Vietnam Veteran That Makes A Difference

In the mid-1980s, my mother interviewed over 1,000 Vietnam veterans. Most of them had been suffering with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other health problems as well. Fewer than 25 percent of those veterans were receiving the healthcare that they needed.

 

Within five years of being interviewed, over 60 percent of those with PTSD had died. For those still alive, life was full of ups and downs. The veterans struggled to get ongoing access to healthcare, job opportunities, and financing for education, home buying, business startups, etc.

 

Fast forward: It’s now 2017. Over forty years after the U. S. troops pulled out of South Vietnam. Over thirty years after my mother interviewed the last veteran on her list.

 

On November 6, 2017, a LinkedIn.com “Connect” request came into my home page. It was from a retired painter-painting contractor on the west coast.

 

The 72-year old man wanted to know if I was related to a “Sandra…….. Hajtovik.” (That’s my mother in case you haven’t made that connection.) If so, he asked, “Could you please put me in touch with her?… I’d appreciate it…”

 

A Vietnam veteran (U. S. Marines Green Beret), he’d been interviewed by my mother in 1984. He wanted to tell her what had happened with him in the last thirty-three years.. “How my life has been going…” he e-mailed.

 

Within a day of getting the message, my mother e-mailed the man.

 

So, how had his life been going?

 

  1. It turns out that he was the retired founder of one of the largest commercial painting companies on the west coast.

 

  1. Over the last twenty-five years, his company had given jobs to over fifty-five Vietnam veterans.

 

  1. Many of those “painters” – men and women – suffered on and off with PTSD and other medical conditions caused by toxic exposures while serving in Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s.

 

  1. One of the “automatic benefits” available to all of his employees, particularly the Vietnam veterans, had been financial help to go to college or trade school, rent or buy a home, lease or buy a vehicle, get emergency or surgery treatment, even bury a close relative. “Help has included for immediate family, too,” the man has e-mailed my mother.

 

  1. Special financial help has been available for any “employee painter” who wanted to start a painting contracting business of his or her own. (That’s helping to set up the competition.)

 

For Christmas of 2017, this “retired painter” is bringing all of his employees and immediate families to Central Florida, for two weeks, to visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

 

He’s invited my mother and me to join the group for two days and nights. (That includes hotel accommodations inside Disney. I have other plans that can’t be changed.)

 

My mother accepted the very kind invitation. Already, she is jotting down a short list of “interview-type” questions.

 

It would have been great to meet the fellow career painter and decorator, and talk shop. Also, I’d  want to find out why, besides the obvious, he has employed and stuck by so many Vietnam veterans.

 

“Character builds character,” my Grandfather Boyd once said. “Worth builds upon worth.”

 

From what I’ve learned so far, I’d say that this retired painter/painting contractor – Vietnam vet that my mother met in 1984 – has tried to help other painters-vets build good “self-character.” I’d say that he’s also helped to build more sense of “self-worth” into their worlds – and into the larger world in which they are still trying to make it.

 

What an important legacy this war veteran is leaving behind. One person at a time.

 

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How far and how well others journey through life often has so much to do with you, and I.

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Thank you for checking into “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s View: Painter Apprentices at Work

Most painter apprentices start out by doing grunt work – in the paintshop, and on site.

 

THINGS A PAINTER APPRENTICE MAY HAVE TO DO

 

  1. Basic surface preparation: sanding, washing, caulking, puttying, degreasing, masking, dusting, patching walls/ceilings, scraping off loose paint.
  2. Studying job site blueprints and specifications for scheduled paint/finishing product.
  3. Learning to prepare various surfaces for specific types of coatings and finishing products.
  4. Driving company supply/equipment truck to and from job sites.
  5. Loading and unloading paint products and equipment.
  6. Picking up, delivering and packing up, storing supplies, tools, work tables, etc. used by the journey painters.
  7. Moving or removing furniture, large fixtures, area rugs, etc.
  8. Spreading out dropcloths; covering furniture, fixtures, built-ins, flooring, that can’t be removed.
  9. Organizing and setting up, then taking down work areas.
  10. Removing, then replacing fixtures, electric outlet covers, window shades/blinds/treatments.
  11. Mixing and pouring paint, filling paint pots and trays.
  12. Setting up masking/tape dispensers and machines, and other supplies, tools, equipment.
  13. Opening, unwrapping, unrolling boxes of plastic sheeting, masking/film papers, wallcoverings.
  14. Holding or stabilizing ladders, scaffolding sections, planking systems.
  15. Assisting journey painters.
  16. Stripping wood and metal surfaces.
  17. Repairing metal with polyester patch.
  18. Rough sanding and scraping of chipped, alligatored and worn paint and finishes.
  19. Basic drywall finishing and sanding; also prepping if that job was left to painters.
  20. Applying prime and finish paint products, when all other work is caught up.
  21. Stacking wood moldings, trims, frames, etc.
  22. Moving doors, framing; shutters, thresholds, railings, etc.
  23. Removing masking and taping materials, dropcloths, sheeting, etc.
  24. Cleaning all overspray from unpainted surfaces.
  25. Folding up dropcloths, sheeting, etc.; loading them onto supply truck..
  26. Cleaning up, picking up, sweeping, and clearing out work areas at end of each day.
  27. Soaking, cleaning and restoring paintbrushes, roller covers and frames; extension rods, etc.
  28. Flushing or washing out paint spray systems: spray guns, spray pots, hoses, compressors.
  29. Cleaning out buckets, paint trays, filters, racks, soaking carriers.
  30. Properly closing and sealing all product containers, boxes, tubes, wrappings, crates, etc.
  31. Disposing all chemical and hazardous products and supplies according to EPA, HazMat, and manufacturer instructions.
  32. Keeping paintshop storage and work areas organized, picked up, cleaned up, cleared out.

 

Actually, the list is endless. Too, it can be extended at any time, and by different persons, too.

 

Working as a painter apprentice can seem like a very dead-end and thankless job. And, most apprentices can’t wait to get handed that first paintbrush and a gallon of paint, and be ordered to paint a surface.

 

However, the smart apprentices will take advantage of every minute that they must spend doing that grunt work. They will literally see what it takes to run a job. Every physical aspect of it.

 

And, they will UP their learning curve every day that they’re on the job. From check-in time till check-out. (Actually, off the job, too.) Observing more. Listening more. Seeing more. Smelling more. Touching more. Learning more. Soaking in all that they can. Like a top grade Greek sea sponge.

 

SPECIAL BONUSES THAT PAINTER APPRENTICES MAY GET

 

Many painter apprentices have the opportunity to go onto different job sites. They are able to meet many people: experienced craftspersons and bosses in various construction trades. They get to be around architects, engineers and designers (in various fields); suppliers and manufacturers’ representatives; government inspectors; customers and clients; even investors.

 

Starting at the bottom in the painting trade offers so many long-term benefits. It offers invaluable preparation work for building a successful career as a journey painter, a finishing/detail painter and decorator, a contractor, a consultant, a trainer/instructor, an construction industry expert, an U.S. government expert in construction and building, occupational health and safety, environmental protection, etc.

 

I’ve met over a dozen painters that have ended up building successful careers as product designers or inventors; others as product/materials testers and analysts. Even as speakers and authors.

 

Where grunt work can take the painter apprentice is really up to him or her. Where it leads some day may be to a quality of life, and a way of life, that he or she could have never imagined when first signing up with IUPAT, a technical school, and/or painter apprenticeship programs.

 

The door is wide open.

 

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There’s honor in beginning at the bottom. There’s honor at the top,

especially if you respect others who are just beginning. RDH

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Have a safe, rewarding week. And thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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