CoatingsPro Magazine

JAN 2018

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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98 JANUARY 2018 COATINGSPROMAG.COM S imilar to many in the industr y, Josh Stof le, VP of F. Roberts Construction, started out in a related construction field before heeding the call of coatings. "I started in demo asbestos abatement 12‒13 years ago in Mar yland," Stof le explained. " T hen I went back to my home state, California, and started remov- ing coatings. You learn a lot about products by removing them." Stof le found that he enjoyed being an abatement contractor, removing mastics and lead-based paint. One of Stof le's more high-profile projects was at the University of California, Los A ngeles' (UCL A) Pauley Pavilion, hydro blasting the lead-based paint. UCL A had brought in several compa- nies from all over the countr y, and no one could remove the existing product — until Stof le got the job done. Eventually, that led to big ger painting projects, and Stof le slowly moved into new markets, culminat- ing w ith his most recent project: a massive, multi-year contract on the Queen Mar y in Long Beach, California. " We weren't looking to take over multi- ple areas, but if you look at the Queen Mar y, it started as only demo and abatement, then they started seeing some of our multi-family and hotel work, and it turned into 'Can you do this and this? '" He added, "In the end, the project was no different than some abatement and paint work, though the application may be different. If you can take the time and are w illing to learn, you can be successful." Thinking Outside the Box As Stofle discovered, products from the marine industry didn't work on the Queen Mar y. ey had to think outside the box, working with a manufacturer and its product that was typically used to spray the undercarriages of cars in a paint booth. "So we worked with their scientists and had a lot of 'We never thought about using it or doing it like that' moments," he said. Despite being committed to the work on the Queen Mar y for several years, F. Roberts Construction still has numerous multi-family and demolition projects. "We're regularly taking differ- ent products and are willing to grow and change, introducing new clients and new products and vice versa," Stofle noted. ey're also "willing to adapt as the market twists and turns." e real-world application and testing of products on the Queen Mar y led to the opportunity for more similar work. As a result, Stofle is bidding a restoration project for a landmark nav y ship in Philadelphia, Penn. "ey have budget constraints, which is unfortunate," he lamented, " but if we start rust treatment now, we' ll be using a very cost-effective product." Coming Full Circle As far as advice for those looking to get into the coatings industry, Stofle encouraged contractors to "Be open and don't limit your own capabilities. I've said the same thing talking with my kids, family, employees. Self-limiting will stop you from doing a lot. You have to think outside of the box and consider strategic lateral movement since several lateral steps are better than one giant leap." Stofle appreciates the analyti- cal side of the coatings industry, but he wishes there were fewer limiting factors. "Sometimes, competing products are as good or better, and you need to combine products to get the best result," he said. For maintaining a work/life balance, Stofle explained that the "start early, end early" strategy works best. "My phone never turns off, but if it's not an emergency, it's not a priority. If you're not paying attention at home, it's not worth working," he said. Stofle, his wife, and kids head to a lake retreat in Iowa every year while maintaining a busy family schedule around soccer and softball. "It seems hectic and busy, but in the end, it's a great distraction, and being involved is far more rewarding than the job; however teaching [my kids] the same lessons from the job brings it all full circle." CP Photo courtesy of F. Roberts Construction Staying Afloat in Rust Abatement and Coatings ProFile: Josh Stofle By Christa Youngpeter Hard Work & Craftsmanship

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