Painting Pro Times, the source for paint professionals!

As old 2017 canes its way out the door, wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Now is the time to implement change. At work, stop with the social/meaningless resolutions! Why can’t we be more like athletes and make work a competition? Winners get little fake gold statues, along with a pat on the back and profit or a quarterly bonus. Losers struggle left frustrated and half empty, while quietly promising to work harder. Hit 2018 running; train to be an all-star.

Get in shape; workout every day for eight to ten hours. Improve skills and take on the challenge of learning new techniques. How about a monthly score card; hours focused on learning, production achieved, proposals submitted, thank yous said aloud and so on. The Olympics are around the corner. Every morning…go to work and pump up the volume. Bring the best version of yourself to the job and get after it!

The easiest/fastest way to win at work is with clear, effective communication, which does not include the four letter word – boss. Keep everyone on the same page: management to associate; associate to associate and associate to customer (sometimes there may be multiple customers: general contractor/architect/decorator/owner’s representative/owner). One’s position or title is unimportant, everyone benefits from a good, positive and humble attitude. For a blast from the past, consider reading 2 Minds of the Professional – Effective Communication Improves Production.

Many of us born before the 1980s think the younger crowd exudes entitlement and with some objective certainty that holds true. However, the conversation and nickname, the slacker generation, needs to be reserved until proven. Like any age person, we should appreciate and celebrate individuals, rather than pile people as one group. Meanwhile, we should model a constructive, leader attitude. Two of the most important attributes to start the day with are a positive, upbeat personality and work ethic. Leave great technicians that are negative Nellie’s at home. Train yourself and good people to work as a great team.

Remember, young people often bring unbridled enthusiasm and energy to each task. Check out Why We Can’t Seem to Understand Millennials to consider improving projects, production and make work mornings an everyday happy occurrence.

After the last dropcloth is folded and loaded into the van, what do you own when something goes wrong? Are professionals responsible for what is listed in a proposal, said verbally or noted in a specification? We have an excellent read, What’s in Your Warranty?. Express, Implied, Oral, Written or by Law, know what the company owns.

Over the last several months we have dedicated a fair amount of attention to gypsum wall board education. The idea that it is someone else’s problem for poorly finished walls and ceiling surfaces needs to be looked at from the customer’s perspective. Professional paint and coating application must work with the other trades in a team effort to delivery authentic craftsmanship. No excuses, no we don’t own it and the other guys are hacks. Most likely, if you were finishing some wide, fancy trim and someone had damaged it with a motorcycle chain you would stop.

The same should go for unacceptable drywall framing and gypsum finishing. In addition, the idea that you prime it, you on it needs to be rethought. Part of the challenge especially on new commercial projects is that the construction manager or general contractor may have low, unprofessional standards. When this occurs, get through the job, part friends and seek better people to work with. Good craftsmen elevate and find customers that recognize, care and are willing to pay for professional finishes. We have another Technical Talk titled New Gypsum Board in General, which is the beginning of a series based on The Interior Guide.

Never mind about the New Year, what will the future hold for the paint and coating industry? Will there be painting robots in the field? How will artificial intelligence change what we do? Well, for starters, we are part of a larger work segment and we should look there for hints as to what may happen to us. Explore the possibilities…read Construction Jobs of Tomorrow.

In the News, we have an AkzoNobel video, Old Tires Come Back Black. Just when you start to slip around corners may be a new signal for that balding rubber to be made into a paint resin. It is a score for saving the planet (a little bit), fun stuff and practical innovation. Baseball season may be in hibernation, but we have a fun mini clip that literally puts the wood on the ball. Paint and coatings touch and improve our lives in many ways and may offer a little help when you are swinging for the fence too. Check out what happened when Louisville Slugger® teamed up with Sherwin-Williams.

It looks like PPG may not be stepping into the ring to swing at another AkzoNobel acquisition endeavor. The paint giant has announced their largest stock buyback in company history…to the tune of more than many paint manufacturers are worth; 2.5 billion.

In case you were concerned, PPT was, the NLRB Overturned the Joint Employer Rule. Between the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Review Board, independent contractors and small businesses in general were placed in great peril with Obama-era regulations and “interpretations”. Employers are back to the common sense idea that they have “direct” control, rather than including “indirect” control over employees. The indirect concept was an insurance and tax liability nightmare.

Second, our federal NLRB friends went back to the basics regarding employee handbooks. Again, company policy may be set without the ridiculous premise of offending some arbitrary, self proclaimed group. In addition, the NLRB went back to the traditional concept of union representation, rather than allowing smaller groups within companies to form mini-union factions. Editor’s note: here at PPT we champion craftsmanship; both merit and union.

According to the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) things are looking rosy for 2018: ABC Chief Economist Predicts Stable 2018 Construction Economy. It looks like the two biggest challenges may be material price increase and finding skilled labor.

The last News piece we want to highlight is an entertaining video (if you are a paint nerd) from the Chemical Coaters Association International titled What is a Finish?

Maybe drag a bit on the first day of the year from a night of slight overindulgence, then on the second day it is Olympic training time! Put a comfortable pair of work boots or preppy shoes on and hit the ground running.

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Thanks for reading Painting Pro Times!

Mark Casale, Editor

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