CoatingsPro Magazine

MAY 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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76 MAY 2018 COATINGSPROMAG.COM industry for a while now, longevity is not without its pitfalls, and he's learned many lessons along the way. "I basically started out with no knowledge of anything I was doing," Cleavenger noted. "Going from automo- tive to abrasive blasting when I started did, thankfully, lead to an easy transi- tion into rooftops. I'd already gained the knowledge and had a good reputa- tion. anks to the business, I had painting equipment — and there was a big demand thanks to my quality of work. I took all of that knowledge and improved the industry by learning by trial and error and standing behind a warranty, even when I had to pay for it." When it to comes to advice for someone wanting to get started in the industry, Cleavenger said, "Without being biased, I would say to do the research, correspond with a master appli- cator, and really understand what you need to get started, such as techniques." He added with a laugh, "I'm training people to put me out of business." His passion for teaching people the right way to do the job is something that he sees as a needed element in the indus- try, which he believes has never been Photo courtesy of Jeff Cleavenger L ike many in the coatings industry, Jeff Cleavenger started out painting commer- cially. In his case, he was doing sign lettering back in the early 1980s in San Diego, California, which led to painting rides at local Chuck E. Cheese locations, building motorcycles, and doing promotional marketing and painting for a decade at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, Nevada. By the mid-1990s, Cleavenger was back painting signs and working with automotive paint, then he moved to abrasive blasting and heavy equipment painting during the next decade. "After I got out of equipment painting, I sold that part out and stayed in the sign business," he explained. He then "got into roof coatings. e acrylic coatings part of the industry needed a lot of understanding of how it worked, and it needed better equipment and application techniques, so I partnered with Graco." Getting involved in the early days of spray rig work helped Cleavenger understand both customer and contrac- tor needs to get the jobs completed in a timely manner with the proper equip- ment, as well as bridge the gap between the applicator and the manufacturer. "I shifted to learning technique and became more of a coating consultant in automo- tive, industrial, and commercial work," he added. "I still do a lot of listening and learning, and I know that working together is key, especially with working the problems through and learning the limitations of acrylic versus silicone, for example. If you don't know what you're doing, you're going to have some issues." Pay Off and Paying It Forward A lthough Cleavenger has been in the done before. "I want to have a network of people that [customers] can rely on and be able to provide [applicators] with equipment and installation training and, for example, the proper way to look at these roofs in the big picture." Cleavenger, an applicator out of northwest Arkansas, is currently transitioning from his current company, Freedom Coatings, to HLC World Wide, which " brings to the table everything from specifiers, silicone-specific equipment set-up, and streamlined installation practices and methods." And that's "along with in-class rooftop training, followed up with contract procurement and market development strategies." A lso an equipment inventor, Cleavenger is always fine-tuning his proprietary apparatus, includ- ing a seam striper. He also wants to overcome some of the frustration where there is little information sharing amongst applicators. He'd like to be able to share teaching and equipment, and to not be limited to inventing his own "specialty items" that improve just his labor and bottom line. He added proudly, "I made the machines if they didn't exist." The Journey In his free time, Cleavenger builds custom guitars and donates many of them to charity. And according to him, "my goals are to get to the masses of the coatings industry and share instruction and equipment and turn HLC into a one-stop shop." He mused, "is is my trail in life, my journey, and I want to give back in life. I love teaching and instructing, and I'm right where I want to be." CP By Christa Youngpeter One-Man Show Tackles Industry ProFile: Jeff Cleavenger Hard Work & Craftsmanship

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