CoatingsPro Magazine

JAN 2013

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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HArd Work & CrAFtsMANsHip Creating PROFILE: James McDonald J ames McDonald is no stranger to the coatings industry. He has worked as a coatings contractor and has been employed by asset owners and coating manufacturers, giving him a full range of understanding when it comes to protective coatings. He is also the third generation of his family to embark upon adventures in the paint and coatings industry. A New Adventure McDonald took his family's legacy in the industry, his love of the technical side of coatings, his entrepreneurial spirit, and opened his own sandblasting and coatings company. "I started the company to be the best contractor out there," McDonald says. "We focused on training and customer service with the goal of being a world-class contractor. It was a phenomenal experience." Even back then, McDonald drew inspiration from the late Red Adair, world-renowned oil-well firefighter, who once said, "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." McDonald took this quote to heart as a business owner and strove to be a professional in every sense of the word. "When you have employees and their families relying on you, you want to set yourself apart from other contractors and get the bids you're going after," McDonald says. "You also want to give the best service possible to the customer." During this time, McDonald began to notice the industry lacked standardized formats for bidding jobs. "If the owners are looking at three bids from three separate bidders, they will all have different numbers—and they may even have different square footage listed for the job!" says McDonald. 86 Coatingspro g January 2013 setting the standard With his experience in the industry and his commitment to doing the job right, McDonald decided to put his technical and analytical mindset to work. He created a tool that coatings professionals—applicators, estimators, asset managers and owners, procurement professionals, manufacturers, and engineers—can use to create a standard budget and timeline for a particular job. "From the estimator and the project manager standpoint, everyone uses his or her own program or system for estimating coatings coverage and project timelines," McDonald says. "Nothing is really standardized and that can make it very difficult to create accurate budget estimates and project timelines. At the time, there really wasn't a tool that was specific to our industry that could standardize this process, so I spent a couple of years collecting pieces of information —things that worked for me and my colleagues." And so the idea for was born. The next step was to somehow bring this useful information to the coatings industry marketplace. Unfortunately, it wasn't as easy as it sounded. "We put quite a bit of money into [] and thought that it would take off, but there was no traction," admits McDonald. "It just wasn't going anywhere." giving Back In the meantime, McDonald sold his coatings and sandblasting company but retained "It sat dormant another four or five months and I started to question whether I had missed the point and was misunderstanding the needs of the indus- By Jennifer Frakes try," McDonald says. "A Web developer encouraged me to continue the pursuit." McDonald knew in his heart that the need was definitely there; he just needed to figure out how to get his idea in front of the right people. It was then that McDonald realized that could be a standalone program on the Web. "The costs were minimal for the Website and suddenly I came to the conclusion that this could be my contribution to improve our industry," says McDonald. With that, he decided to provide the estimating tool free with no registration required. From that point on, McDonald spent his time getting the word out to industry organizations, such as NACE, about CoatingsCalculator. com. He didn't have long to wait before took off. " has been visited by nearly every country in the world," McDonald says. "It has been accepted globally as the 'go-to' source for on-site calculations." McDonald feels truly humbled by the reception his gift to the coatings industry is receiving. "Not bad for a Website that almost didn't get launched," he says. Cp

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