I got my start in this business on the other end of the paint brush—in paint sales. I started selling paint for Porter Paint Co. in 1979 in Louisville, Kentucky, and was trained on surface preparation and paint coatings. In 1991 I expanded my experience on the contracting side, working for a regional painting contractor in South Florida. In 1999 I took a business-development position with a national painting contractor and developed a plan to paint quick-service restaurants throughout the United States. Two years later I made the decision to start my own painting-contractor company in Boca Raton, Florida.
AquaPro Painting quickly grew out of the Boca Raton office. The company needed a stronger infrastructure, so I relocated the office to Louisville, Kentucky. YUM! Brands is located in Louisville—strategically, it was ideal to be closer to KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.
For my management team, I looked immediately to close friends from grade school and high school. Robert Cripe, a certified public accountant, is chief financial officer. Doug Orman, vice president and operations manager, has more than 30 years [of] industrial- and architectural-coating commercial experience. Office manager and project coordinator Debbie Williams was previously a corporate buyer for Kroger. And Tim Barry, purchasing manager and quality control manager, worked as a sales representative for Porter Paint Co. for 20 years. We’re all Kentuckians from the same neighborhood. We played sports together. We have the same sense of urgency and winning attitude.
AquaPro Painting never uses subcontractors. We employ 13 crews of two, and our painters are professionally trained and technologically adept. As digital technology evolves, so do we. The crews are on the road most of the time; when they finish one job, they’re dispatched to another. Travel is just part of the business. I personally travel between 10 to 15 days per month. In fact, I’m the only one without an office in Louisville—my office is 33,000 feet in the air on a Delta Airlines Jet.
We’ve established a great position within a niche industry. We provide painting services to our clients to improve their curb appeal and help accelerate their sales. KFC is our cornerstone account—we’ve painted more than 2,000 restaurants nationwide since 2001—and we’re painting 60 Vision 2020 remodels this year. We’re also the national painting-services provider for Wendy’s, our largest account. Their exteriors require automotive paint and special two-part aliphatic acrylic urethane coatings. AquaPro Painting is one of the few companies on a national level with those application capabilities.
AquaPro supports four-year, nonprorated warranties for both labor and material. If we get pushback from a paint manufacturer on their end of the warranty, we take care of it at our own cost. We care about our clients’ investments in their properties. When they utilize our services, we do all that is possible to provide the very best painting project.
In the next five years, AquaPro anticipates significant growth. Our backlog of work has increased substantially over the past few months, and we anticipate this trend will continue. We have picked up other key accounts that will add to our activity. You can count on one hand—maybe even three fingers—the number of companies that do what we do. ABQ