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Ethics. Education. Excellence

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PDCA's Commercial Forum Conference Recap

The PDCA Commercial Forum’s recent conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, was the place to be for the commercial painting contractor on Thursday through Saturday, November 6 – 8.  Forty people attended the conference and learned tips and techniques to help them build their businesses.


On Thursday morning, Bob Cusumano of Coatings Consultants presented his signature seminar on “Ensuring You Don’t Have a Catastrophic Paint Failure.”  Bob is Past President of PDCA, chairman of the Standards Committee, and currently handles inquiries on the PDCA technical hotline.  Bob’s seminar was packed with information from his vast experience in analyzing paint failures for Coatings Consultants.  He covered methods of testing surfaces for correct temperature and moisture levels as well as holiday detection, adhesion detection, and measuring paint thickness. 

In the afternoon, Ralph Trallo, Past President and CEO of Cannon Sline, a national industrial painting contractor, gave his presentation on “Becoming a Large Contractor – What it Takes to Survive.” Mr. Trallo has forty-five years experience in construction management including thirty years in the industrial painting industry.  Ralph discussed the transition from being an owner/operator to managing a large operation including relinquishing authority and going from “hands on” to “hands off.”  He talked about finding the business and resources to grow including expanding business opportunities, acquiring working capital, staffing and hiring trades people.  He covered contract management, internal controls, and employee relations. 


Friday’s activities began with the Annual Member meeting of the Commercial Forum where the bylaws and financial policies were ratified by the attendees and the officers and Board of Director members were elected.  Ron Yarbrough was elected President, Carl Postupak, President Elect, and Aaron Moore, Treasurer.  The Board of Directors for 2015 are: Bob Cusumano, Paul Dunkman, Jon Dryfhout, Gary Gray, Tom Lewis, and Lee Pickett.

After the meeting, Jerry Howell moderated the Hot Topics discussions for the rest of the day.  We discussed the objectives, goals, problems, and solutions for the forum in the years to come which include recruiting, training, and retaining good employees, the advisability of using subcontractors, government regulations, and human resources.  Lee Pickett spoke on a training program his chapter uses in California, Aaron Moore presented a paper on Building a High Performance Culture in your company, Bob Cusumano and Ron Yarbrough addressed forming a task force to work on getting the PDCA Standards in use universally in contracts.  Richard Reed, attorney at law with Coats/Rose in San Antonio discussed the use of ConsensusDocs, Paul Dunkman presented his paper on “The Path of Least Resistance” which outlined some of the issues his company has dealt with concerning sub contracts.


On Saturday morning, Dr. Yilmaz Karasulu (Dr. K) chairman of the Department of Construction Science, College of Architecture, Construction, and Planning at the University of Texas at San Antonio, gave a fascinating lecture on “Applied Ethics: Decision Making in a Competitive Business Environment.”  Dr. K took what could have been a very dry subject and made it into something our attendees found valuable and enjoyed. 

After Dr. K’s talk, we discussed where and when the next Commercial Forum will be held, and what topics would be of interest.  Watch your e-colors newsletter for details as they become available.


By Anita Dallas, Executive Director Commercial Forum