CoatingsPro Magazine

JUL 2017

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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58 JULY 2017 COATINGSPROMAG.COM F ifteen years ago, just as many contractors in the industry did, Matthew Bloodworth, co-founder and CEO of Southern Industrial Linings, got his start thanks to a fortuitous opportu- nity. As he explained, while working in construction and on race cars, "I bought a horse trailer that needed a paint job, and I wanted to Rhino-line it, so I looked into buying a system online to add it to our shop. Rhino Linings turned out to be looking for more applicators, and I wound up getting a call from their rep who worked on the industrial side." With a desire to change direction professionally, Bloodworth and his dad started a coatings company together in 2003. W hile some contractors have learned that finding a niche best suits their business, Bloodworth 's key to success has been diversity. "We've never specialized in any particular applica- tion," he explained. "We use a lot of polyurea but never a particular market segment. I saw a lot of people doing oil and gas and fracking who didn't know how to do anything else, so we tried to keep diverse." Bloodworth was also sure to mention that, "this is not a 'get rich quick ' industry. It's a long, hard road, and it took us a long time to get where we are. I've seen a bunch of people come and go, and some of them make a little bit of money and wind up owing a lot. If you're going to do it, you've got to be in it for the long haul." He's also noticed that finding and keeping good employees is a challenge, but " for us, it's always something different. I would be bored to death if it was always the same," he said. Success Spectrum Bloodworth 's success hasn't come without some lessons learned along the way. "W hen you look at a project," he noted, "you think this is how it's going to go, and then it doesn't always quite go that way." For example, Southern Industrial Linings was beginning a project at a ver y large water treatment facility, approximately 125,000 square feet (11,612.9 m²), but Bloodworth quickly realized there was enough silt in the pit to fill 3,800 dump truck loads over the course of six weeks. "It should have been straightfor ward," Bloodworth added, " but there was poor planning on the customer's part. They were supposed to have the silt out of there, but their original solution was just a guy on a Bobcat." As a result, the additional month-plus on the project led to a domino effect that pushed other projects into December with less than ideal weather and scheduling conditions. On the opposite end of the spectrum, in 2010, a chain of depart- ment stores approached Bloodworth, needing 29 stores coated within a very short time frame — just one month to be exact — with locations spread from Georgia to New Hampshire and as far west as Nebraska. e chain also requested that no work was to be done on Saturdays or Sundays or during the workday. "We took a huge chance on it, and we ended up getting it done, but it was three to four weeks of no sleep, working all night, then driving all afternoon to the next job. We've always taken the chance, and it's worked out," Bloodworth explained. What the Future Holds Currently, Southern Industrial Linings employs 10 to 12 people. Work is busy year-round, and there's a slight decline starting for a few months in October. e team just finished up a project for the Nav y, and they're already looking forward to municipal projects and a large project coating underground wastewater tanks in the future. As far as future goals, 39 -year-old Bloodworth half-joked, "I'm hoping for retirement, but people say I'm too young for that. I'm open to a little bit of expansion, but I'd like to spend more time at home and less time on the road. I w ill need to hire more people to handle projects. I don't see us getting much big ger, maybe 20 percent big ger." W hen he gets to enjoy time at home — including a house that he built himself over the course of five years — Bloodworth enjoys tending to his farm, complete with cows and horses, and riding motorcycles. CP By Christa Youngpeter Tackling Challenging, Diverse Projects ProFile: Matthew Bloodworth Hard Work & Craftsmanship

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