Redwood Painting Co.
For nearly 70 years Redwood Painting Co. has been serving industrial, commercial, and residential clients throughout the western United States with top-tier protective coating systems. Founded in 1947 by D.P. Del Monte, Redwood has been built on a belief in professionalism, customer service and environmental stewardship.
With headquarters in Pittsburg, California, Redwood operates primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area but will travel throughout the west when the need arises.
The company specializes in serving the heavy industrial and commercial sectors with wide range of services that includes abrasive, water and CO2 blasting, waterproofing, tank and containment linings, lead abatement and applying 100 percent solid epoxies, moisture cure urethanes, elastomeric polyurethanes and fiberglass reinforced systems. In the last five years the company also added metalizing (Thermal Spray) to its list of services in response to increased customer demand.
A niche in public sector work
In recent years Redwood has been involved in some of the Bay Area’s most notable infrastructure projects. The company has worked extensively with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) on the region’s water system, which pipes water from Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy watershed to over 2.6 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across the Bay Area.
“We’ve done work for them previously. When they did a major expansion recently we did the bulk of their protective coating applications on the new pipeline and plant upgrades,” says Charles Del Monte, president of Redwood. The company’s expertise working in small, confined spaces has allowed it to establish a niche within the industry and build a relationship with large utilities such as SFPUC.
Redwood’s most recent project for the SFPUC saw the company line a 300-foot clear well and while the SFPUC has moved on to improving the system’s waste water treatment system, Del Monte is confident that Redwood will remain on the commission’s shortlist when it comes time for future improvements to the system.
The company has also developed a loyal customer base in its hometown of Pittsburg, repainting City Hall and City Park Stadium recent years. While this type of project helps Redwood’s visibility in the local community, major pipeline work for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has been a major driver of business as of late.
“Oil refinery work took a bit of a hit as gas prices have gone down, but we’re still doing lead abatement and corrosion work for multiple Bay Area Refineries. Routine maintenance is down, but we’ve been picking up work with all their shutdowns,” says Del Monte.
Looking ahead, a major project in Richmond, California as part of Chevron’s modernization push should help round out the company’s workload in the coming year. “That’s starting up soon and will run through mid-2018,” he says.
Training ensures continual expertise
Having grown into one of northern California’s most trusted and comprehensive protective coating systems specialists, the team at Redwood is confident in their position at the top of the market.
With healthy growth and revenue figures to back it up its reputation, Redwood can now afford to focus on improving some of the less tangible aspects of the business such as employee and customer satisfaction, as well as in-house training and education.
“There is not a lot of turnover with our employees because we do a lot of training, which helps us control our product quality and risk,” says Del Monte.
A Bay Area apprenticeship program for young painters looking to break into the industry has been a boom to Redwood’s efforts as well. “They’ve put together a new industrial curriculum focusing a lot on the safety aspects of the painting trade which will help because when we hire these kids one of the first focuses is on safety,” says Del Monte.
Safety has long been a central focus at Redwood. The company is coming up on five years and 1.2 million hours injury-free and has been recognized with a number of national safety awards from the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) and Finishing Contractor’s Association (FCA), earning the FCA CREST award in both 2014 and 2015.
“It’s a commitment from top to bottom and we’re very proactive with our safety measures” says Del Monte. “We are increasing focus on younger and short service employees and make sure we’re paying attention to them because that’s where a lot of the liability is.”
This generation gap has been a continual challenge at Redwood, where management has spent a lot of time trying to understand the younger, millennial workforce. “We try to mentor them and make them feel like they’re moving along in the process,” he says.
Del Monte says Redwood was able to weather the recent economic downturn thanks to both a booming local economy and the last-man-in nature of finishing work. “We’re the last people there, so even with the recession in 2008 we had some projects that went right into 2010 and we weren’t as affected as some other industries,” he says.
At the end of the day, it’s Redwood’s commitment to safety and quality that truly sets the company apart. “The biggest thing is putting out a quality product, maintaining our client base and doing it in an extremely safe manner because at the end of the day the most important thing is that people go home in the same condition they came to work,” he says.
With this focus on safety and a portfolio of projects for some of the Bay Area’s largest industrial and commercial clients, the future looks bright for Redwood Painting Co.
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