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66 MARCH 2016 COATINGSPROMAG.COM A s a resident of both Hawaii and Pennsylvania, Bob Johnson, president of Pacifc Industrial Coatings (PIC), has seen challenging conditions from driving 45 mph (72.4 km/hr.) winds in the Pacifc to bitter snow and cold in the Keystone State. Johnson's venture to the islands didn't begin until after a fateful vacation in 2009, but his career in coatings goes back over three decades to 1984 on the manufacturing side of the house. "Tanks to lots of travel, I was introduced to my current business partner, Michael 'Red' Coleman, who, at the time, managed the Hawaii territory," Johnson said. "And when I was there on vacation in 2009, we got the ball rolling together to found Pacifc Industrial Coatings." Currently, Johnson splits his time between his home states. Johnson has been able to parlay his experiences into a successful contract- ing business. "Part of my old job was dealing with all of the problems; I'd see contractors doing it the wrong way. So I said, 'Hey, let's go do this the right way.' But starting your own business involves putting in a lot of hours for very little money, hoping it pays of." Johnson credits his college education and being part of executive teams for two compa- nies with providing an invaluable understanding of the fnancial side of running a business. "Knowing where you are fnancially, good or bad, is key," he added succinctly. Training Camp Te company works on both new and existing construction. As far as work scope is concerned, Johnson explained, "I feel strongly about flling our sales funnel with diverse projects — anything from solar hot water, residential, commercial, new construction, and refurbing — so we have a mix of everything." "Our biggest hurdle to growing is the training of our employees, since the labor and construction market is tight everywhere. So you have to train them well and manage your schedule well, too," Johnson noted. "Tat's what's great about my partner and me. Red has 35 years of experience in the feld, so he gets to relay that to our guys, which has been invaluable and also key to our growth." He also stressed the impor- tance of scheduling projects well into the future, noting that PIC just secured a contract for 2017 and already has 10 projects scheduled for 2016. Johnson's work isn't without its challenges, though. "Tis past hurricane season in Hawaii, we had to demobi- lize three to four times because of severe weather threats, and now we're enduring the wettest period people can remember. We've lost a month's worth of work because of the rain," lamented Johnson. Despite the unprecedented weather, PIC's work has held up well. As Johnson mused, "My previous opera- tions manager had been in the industry for 30 years in Hawaii, and one day it was raining, and he says, 'You know, I used to get calls when it rained for leaky roofs, and here we don't!' So that really speaks to the quality of the systems we use and the quality of our training and teams in the feld." Taking Care of Business Te PIC team is forging ahead into new territories, too. "We just started our frst new condo, and we have three more right behind it," Johnson said. Expansion is something Johnson would like to continue to explore, but only after careful consideration of the local market. Johnson knows that without a well-managed safety component, no company can expand, let alone be successful. "Safety is in front of us all the time, and our operations manager has been in the industry since he was 14, so he's seen people fall of buildings and die or get seriously injured. We had a minimal fne a few years ago, so I decided after that that we needed to take this more seriously, and over the next few days, I suspended a few guys for not following fall protection. And we haven't had an issue since." W hile Johnson enjoys a well-run, streamlined company, issues can arise when competitors bid a project and underperform. "Tere can be a lot of dishonesty, so we really separate ourselves from that side of things, which is something I learned from being on the manufacturer's side as well. We take care of issues, even if it's not our issue," Johnson said. "Te thing I preach the most is: Have a plan — a plan for the project, the day, and the hour. I see a direct correlation between what isn't planned and what is planned and proftable." CP By Christa Youngpeter A Man With a Plan ProFile: Bob Johnson Hard Work & Craftsmanship