What is the biggest misconception about the industry?
The belief of the painting and wallcovering industry it is an easy craft to learn, therefore easy to start and operate a business. Most homeowners have dipped a brush, painting a room at home and have some basic knowledge to get their job done. The commercial construction painter not only needs to know his products and craft, but know how to navigate the highest level demands of today's building industry. This requires us to fluently mesh with the building process: drawings, specifications, contract language, safety, and adequate manpower at the most crucial phases of a project. Today's professional painter trains to succeed in this environment.
What is your biggest current challenge at work?
Our challenges are many. Bidding and winning a viable constant flow of our work. Finding and growing quality personnel for our varied and complex commercial projects.
What keeps you up at night?
The sleepless nights usually involve financial stress: payroll, collections and a un-balanced workflow. Keeping an even sales workflow lets us manage the business more successfully. Large swings of ramping up or down puts pressure on everyone in the organization.
What project is your company most proud of?
We are very proud of our 30+ years in business. We have thousands of beautiful and notable projects in our wake. The DC metro skyline has changed over those 30 years and we smile that we were a small part of it. We are most proud of our dedicated and professional staff and their belief in us. The culture of helping, growing, mentoring and challenging each other is a foundational benchmark throughout our organization.
How does your ABC membership help your company?
We need ABC to carry our torch to the highest levels of government. You represent the hardworking construction worker and their small and large business owners. We need to show the world that the construction industry is still vital to building anything without organized union influence. Cochran & Mann has been vested in education, training, safety and ABC has been a great resource for us. When we signed up 30 years ago we were just a 5-person shop with a dream of success. We needed to swim in a big ocean and the ABC connection was perfect. The countless builder relationships that blossomed and are still strong and the connections and trainings at every level helped us grow and succeed.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An Architect...I still love to visualize in 3 dimensions any plans I encounter.
Tell us something no one in the industry knows about you.
I was born at the same Honolulu hospital 37 days before President Barack Obama. During his run for presidency, there was a big controversy on the validity of his birth certificate. It's very plain and missing some vital information. Mine is exactly like his! He most likely shared my same bassinet.
What do you look forward to each day?
Love visiting my management staff every day and hearing their challenges and successes and offering my aide and/or accolades.
What are you like to work for?
I encourage openness and hope my staff enjoys my style of management interaction. I'm not the micromanager, but i do engage staff with pointed discussions on their challenges.
What is your favorite metro Washington hangout/restaurant?
"The Tasting Room"....Great Chef and Cocktails.
Who would you trade places with for a day?
My 19-year-old son.
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
What do you do for fun?
I love to retire to my man-cave and play blues on one of my guitars.
What business/career advice do you wish you had when you began?
Trust, but verify.
What was your first job?
Worked on a Sheep Farm. I learned how to wrangle them, trim hooves, and shear their wool for Market.