CoatingsPro Magazine

NOV 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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COATINGSPRO NOVEMBER 2017 51 L ike many coating contrac- tors, Eric De Rose, southwest regional sales manager for Oakridge Industries Inc., got his start following his father's busy career — but not without some early protest. "I remember telling my dad at 10, 'I never want to do this,' then in college in the summers, I'd still think, 'I won't do this forever,' but now I'm grateful for that experience in the field," De Rose recounted. "My dad was in sales, and I was in the field installing, but now as a sales manager and project manager, that time being out there working hands-on was invaluable to me and my career." Now nearly two decades in, De Rose manages big-name, large-scale projects. Company Focus Oakridge Industries, an industrial flooring and coatings company, is headquartered in the Los Angeles area and has additional offices in San Francisco, San Diego, and Las Vegas. W hile De Rose is mainly focused on California-based projects, the new 1,000,000-square–foot (93,903.0 m²) Tesla battery plant, known as the Gigafactory, near Reno, Nevada, was a welcome exception. Other recent projects include the Anaheim Convention Center and an Amgen production facility in ousand Oaks, California. "W hile we focus on biotech, pharmaceutical production facilities, healthcare, and food, we also tackle residential flooring, wall coatings, and ceilings," De Rose explained. "For pharma, it's all about the right system. For food, you need to consider what is being produced. For example, at a brewery, you need to consider all of the hops and yeast when selecting the product," De Rose noted, adding, "For one recent project, the spec came out, we bid it, but then the client changed the product to a thin-mil coating, and the health department didn't approve it, so we were quick to provide our expertise and experience to mitigate any issues or delays." Crew, Clients, and Continuous Improvement W hile calls have come in from across the country to do small projects, De Rose has focused on what is right for the scope of the company. anks to the boom of construction in southern and northern California, he has had issues finding good, hardworking workers. "Like terrazzo, which requires exten- sive work and expert craftsmanship, it's difficult to find good epoxy craftsmen. And because we specialize in biotech, pharma, and food, the demands in those areas alone are huge, and we need quality individuals performing that level of demanding work," De Rose added. "We're hiring people all the time, and the 5:00 a.m. starts and hard work do pay off and can be more valuable than a college degree if you have some fire in you to want to get up and learn." anks to their expertise in both improvement and new construc- tion, the company is currently booked through the next year. As far as additional advice for those just starting out, De Rose explained that, "I've found in this business that you never stop learning. No matter what you do to fireproof and safeguard, there will be mistakes. You need to constantly be on top of it, and go over everything with the crew. Every year, there's a new product and a new coating. Also, if you look back to just 10 or 15 years ago, you would just pull up and start working, but now it's all about safety and your IIPP [Injury and Illness Prevention Program], JHA [job hazard analysis], and PPE [personal protective equipment], which is definitely a good thing." In addition to the booming industry and challenges with labor, De Rose has found that managing scheduling expec- tations is an additional, though not insurmountable, challenge. "Sometimes you'll get a client with a 20,000-square– foot [1,858.1 m²] project asking, 'Can you start tomorrow?' Everyone wants everything started and completed right away, and they don't understand that the scope of a project might take 4‒5 weeks with prep and cure time, so client education is key." Time for Family Despite regularly leaving for the office as early at 4:30 a.m., De Rose still makes times for his wife and two-year-old son. "I try not to take my work home," he concluded. "I do my work, and I love it, but I spend time with my family. I'll have foremen call at night, but in the end, I balance a very challenging and stressful industry [with my home life]." CP Photo courtesy of Oakridge Industries Inc. By Christa Youngpeter Evolution in the Field ProFile: Eric De Rose Hard Work & Craftsmanship

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