Proud Twice Over – Of Its Indigenous Roots and National Growth
Pro Paint Canada is an industrial service company specializing in blasting and coating, along with additional painting services and solutions, based out of Red Deer, Alberta.
Company owner Randy Brown started the business in 2011 together with Director Cody Wallis after Brown had spent years working as an auto body apprentice and spending his free time painting cars in his garage.
Upon entering the industrial space, Brown remembers how his first job involved managing 400 BBL fluid storage tanks in a Quonset hut on a farm outside of Red Deer, a far cry from where he dreamed of being in the industry.
After apprenticing under Carmon Brown at “Pro Paints” in Terrace, British Columbia, Randy asked for permission to use the name Pro Paint for his own business endeavour in the sector. “I always loved it and dreamed of my own company with that name,” Randy says.
Over the ensuing decade, Pro Paint made its mark in the industrial sector and the broader coatings market, with sales increasing 50 percent since 2018 thanks to continued work contracts and a sterling reputation particularly in the construction, maintenance, and resurfacing markets.
The company prides itself on its diverse range of services, its ability to apply coatings to anything a customer may desire, and its adherence to the strictest quality standards on every job.
Sales Manager Dan Zinger, who has been involved with the company since 2018, says that the company’s identity in the marketplace is that of an outfit that continuously and diligently works on itself to ensure that its customers are offered the most competitive bang for their buck.
Zinger believes that the biggest driver for Pro Paint’s success is exceeding customer expectations, which in turn leads to repeat work. “We spend a lot of time and resources,” Zinger adds, “getting that first ‘foot in the door’ opportunity. When we get that first opportunity, we want to perform in a manner that compels the customer to, in turn, give us the next job as well.”
Randy Brown himself is of Wet’suwet’en and Tsimshian descent and is both a registered member of the Witset First Nation and a part of the Laksilyuclan (Small Frog) Clan, giving Pro Paint the distinction of being an Indigenous-owned company, one that Brown, and the entire company, are proud of. Pro Paint’s identity is multifaceted, and since its inception it has been ably managing all aspects to great success.
Pro Paint is entering its first decade as an established company this year and has seen many notable accomplishments and projects in its time. Speaking of these significant business milestones, both Zinger and Brown remember the opportunity the business had working as a subcontractor for the Nova R3 Expansion for construction and building contractor The Ledcor Group in 2015.
The expansion, a major project by plastics and chemical corporation NOVA Chemicals, was both a huge undertaking (involving the management of 50 workers) and a milestone of success for Pro Paint as the project came in on time and on budget for Ledcor and NOVA Chem, adding to Pro Paint’s resume and reputation.
A similar milestone was reached recently as the company was awarded the coatings contract for underground piping on a substantial LNG (liquefied natural gas) project near Kitimat, British Columbia. This is a $40 billion dollar project that represents a considerable accomplishment for both Pro Paint and its Indigenous partner, Kisumkalum Economic Development Group.
Brown adds that, five years ago, Pro Paint set out to get into large-diameter tank coating, strategically adding people and company assets before internally coating its first tank in 2014, which in turn led to opportunities on dozens of tanks and a much-enhanced resume.
Each of these experiences has not only increased business success but led to the acquisition of valuable learning experiences and improved company skills.
Both Brown and Zinger are quick to extol the good work that the Pro Paint workforce does every day for successes like these. The workers, according to Zinger, value a positive environment where a good attitude is more important than skills. The company has adopted an open-door policy for its workers where truthful and respectful communication is valued at all levels.
Zinger adds that the group operates on a growth mindset with the accepted belief that those with the right attitudes will succeed. So those who are a good fit for the company are empowered, helped, and directed toward opportunities where their talents can flourish. “We know how to work,” Brown summarizes, adding that employees will work all hours to ensure clients get exactly what they ask for. Although, he adds, they still manage to keep things light and have a good time.
Pro Paint’s ongoing successes saw an unfortunate stall in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But thanks to the strengths of its pre-existing structure, the company was able to avoid laying off any key employees. To preserve the positive working environment that it has carefully cultivated over the past decade it continues to search out creative ways to reduce costs without cutting people.
The pandemic also created a greater need for safe practices in companies of all kinds, a focus that was already at the forefront of Pro Paint’s efforts. Zinger says that the company develops procedures and policies daily that are proactively creating a safety culture in the workplace, with daily morning-meetings for reviews and discussions.
Beyond the effects of COVID-19, Zinger observes that the industry has shrunk within the past few years, with less investment by many companies and so, fewer capital projects underway. Maintenance is a service that will always be necessary on some level, so opportunities still exist for the company and others like it but, with less activity occurring overall, Zinger says that the competition has gotten intense.
Brown adds that the company is “eternally optimistic about the future,” with lots of visible opportunities for continued expansion of its service offerings and clientele base. Considering the future in the light of the shake-ups of the past year, the company acknowledges that circumstances will be different but its size and flexibility will see to it that it remains a setter of the pace within its sector.
Pro Paint is focused on growth above all else as 2021 takes shape, daily revealing new challenges facing both the company itself as an individual business and the industry overall.
Balancing and spending will be kept on a tight leash as new areas are explored and as the company plans to double its current capacity to better serve client needs.
Respect will also continue to be paid to the company’s Indigenous status in both how it identifies itself within the marketplace and the partnerships that Pro Paint will embark on.
“We’re a coast-to-coast Canadian company,” Brown says. ‘I’m proud that we’ve been able to partner with other Indigenous communities. These partnerships have allowed us to engage those communities in a win-win relationship and for both of us to share in mutual benefits.”
Pro Paint continues to innovate in its processes and so remain at the absolute cutting edge and forefront of its industry. Although only a decade old, it already has so much to offer any potential client in need of painting solutions.