CoatingsPro Magazine

JAN 2009

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HARD WORK & CRAFTSMANSHIP High Pay for High Heights PROFILE: Chris Baynum H By Syndee Holt Leo or Brad. Given the way he speaks of his wife and daughters, throw in a good measure of a classic love story too. It all started in the early 1980s when young Baynum was finishing high school and painting houses on the weekends with his buddies to make a little money. Baynum recalls, "I kept resisting the paint- ing while I pursued a career in sales, my career of choice since I was a kid. I sold Grit Magazine door-to-door for a dime. I even worked sales at a radio station for a while, still painting houses. I fought paint- ing until I was 21 and then I decided to devote myself to it." In a big way. He got his first roller coaster job in 1984. It was called "The Beast" and was located at King's Island, near Cincinnati, Ohio. It was the world's longest and fastest wooden roller coaster at the time. Baynum recruited his crew for this project by placing an ad in the paper that read, "High Pay for High Heights. Meet me at the parking lot at King's Island on Thursday." He recalls, "It was a brush and roll project only and we intended on hiring about 30 people. We interviewed in the parking lot by pointing to the roller coaster. We hired on the spot during Thursday and Friday and began the project on Monday." ollywood needs to make a call to Chris Baynum — his life is a like a Hollywood story — maybe even starring Early Retirement In a matter of weeks, Baynum had moved from being a casual house painter to an industrial high-flying project manager. "I made four times more on "The Beast" than I had made in my life, so I did what any other young man would do — I bought a convertible Cadillac and retired." He then took a road trip with a dear friend in the convertible to Florida. There, his friend 94 CoatingsPro J January 2009 Constant Coasting Jenny, his wife of 24 years, and his two daughters, Casey, aged 21 and Carley, aged 19, support Baynum and his constant travels. "I so appreciate and love that." He says with a smile. "My mom and dad still live where I grew up, about five minutes away from us." Baynum and his family live on a 30-acre farm where he still likes to climb on wrote the word "Accumulate" in the sand. Baynum asked him what he meant by that and his friend told him, "It's what you should be doing. You should be accumu- lating right now instead of spending every penny you make." It was a wake up call to be more responsible — and a call that Baynum took to heart. "We've had bigger and more challenging projects, but that first "Beast" was truly life-changing." Baynum Painting now has over 50 employees — including multiple family members. His sister, Betty, works in the office. His mom does his market- ing for him, making follow-up calls. Baynum describes his secret weapon, "She doesn't say she is my mom, but she does the follow-up as only a mom can." Steve Hickey, the lead foreman, has been Baynum's best friend since they were 15 years old. Hickey has been the lead on all their signature roller coaster projects. When describing his family of employees, Baynum's sincerity is strik- ing. "I give credit now more than ever to our key people. Everyday I appreci- ate what they do for us." He continues, "Paula, in our front office, has been with us for 15 years and she starts working on things before I can even say them. I can't describe how valuable employees like this are. We are absolutely committed — each and every one of us — to quality and safety. You can't be in this crazy business this long and not be." a tractor and clear brush. "I like to play golf once in awhile. like roller coasters? It's easy: the challenge. Baynum laughs, "I love a challenging project — the more difficult the more I'm drawn to it. I know from talking to some of my key people, they say the same thing — the pay is the third or fourth thing down the list." He continues, "I used to have falling-off-roller- coaster dreams, but not anymore. The only thing that I worry about now is job security for my employees. There are always smaller aggravations in projects, but those things come and go. Beast" has not been painted since Baynum painted it 25 years ago. "I would dearly love to paint it again," he says emphatically. Those guys he hired in the parking lot 25 years ago? Several of them still work for him. High pay for high heights? Not many people can reach higher than Chris Baynum. Memo to Brad and Leo: you gotta do Speaking of coming and going, "The " this movie… CP shops on his travels to see what collectible- type items people are interested in. "The things people collect are never-ending. I have about 300 antique paint signs. Some of these signs say things that make us cringe now like, 'Contains 80% Lead!' or 'We have more lead than any other paint.'" What draws someone to tackle projects " He also likes to visit antique

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