Painting with Purpose
Matte & Lacquer Painting, LLC applies military discipline to conventional painting paradigms
Owned and operated by former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot and logistics specialist Daniel Feliciano, Matte & Lacquer Painting, LLC is not your traditional painting and wall covering service provider.
Established in November 2017, this young Goshen, New York-based company is on a fast track to becoming one of the top operations of its type throughout New York’s Hudson Valley, Westchester County and New York City as well as Bergen County, New Jersey, with jobs that range from retail and restaurants to warehouses and hotels.
By challenging conventional painting paradigms, Feliciano and his team are using military planning protocols to drive the operational possibilities of this commercial venture with impressive success.
Optimized for Flight
While some may not see the correlation between flying a CH-53E Super Stallion (a heavy-lift military transport) and running a commercial painting operation, Feliciano believes the first experience prepared him for the second.
“Flying that helicopter through three combat tours helped mold my views on how to plan and run a job—any job,” he confirms. “As a Marine pilot, I was responsible for rescue operations, transport missions and tactical troop landings. We learned discipline and most importantly how to implement a plan with an eye on potential hurdles.”
He went on to apply those lessons learned as a regional Aviation Logistics Lead for Royal Dutch Shell. In 2017, ready to run his own operation in the private sector, Feliciano looked to professional painting.
He recalls, “I saw an opportunity to implement short- and long-term operational improvements to the painting process.” By scaling those improvements he could reimagine what a painting company could offer to general contractors and homeowners.
A Measure of Success
Feliciano’s business model for Matte & Lacquer Painting is all about partnering with former military and professional painters to grow the company. The first step began with understanding the products, application rates and processes, time constraints and market needs as well as safety policies.
“Once we identified all of that, we would be able to measure materials, time and cost with accuracy. We believe one of the major tenets of business is if you can measure it, you can improve it,” he says.
The company’s early jobs were largely residential and retail, though Feliciano had an eye on bigger, more demanding commercial projects, as part of his one-, three- and five-year plans for growth.
Within the first few months of operation, the company won its first big contract to paint the historic First Congregational Church in Middletown, New York. Painting a church with 35-foot vaulted ceilings, immovable pews and 100-year-old stained glass windows would require planning, care and skill.
“This was a step change for the guys to go from painting kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms to working on lifts and scaffolds,” Feliciano says. “It was also the first big test of our business model. Could we demonstrate that our processes were efficient and cost-effective? Did we have the fiscal discipline to cover the bills over a long-term job?”
The church project took five weeks to paint—exactly as Feliciano had predicted. The company reputation began to grow as did the scope and scale of jobs. He continued to improve the model with each project, always with an eye toward partnering with the general contractors.
“We are responsible for everything we do and fail to do. We will leave no job behind.” Daniel Feliciano, Owner and Project Manager, Matte & Lacquer Painting, LLC
Feliciano explains, “For the church, we were project managers, so we drove the timeline and process. For larger commercial jobs, we’re a cog in the wheel working with and around a number of other trades. We had to learn valuable lessons about the bidding process, timeline expectations and of course how to do the paperwork.”
Feliciano’s standardized plan was well-suited to working with other trades to achieve a common goal. He adds, “We strive to be project-focused and part of the team. The other trades, particularly the drywall and floor guys, notice our cooperation right away. I believe that a teamwork attitude helps reduce issues for the general contractor and contributes to delivering a quality project.”
A Team Spirit
As the company has grown, now up to 10 full-time employee equivalents (combination of part time and full time), Feliciano has put in place comprehensive training and safety protocols for new members of the team. Every member is trained in paint application, product selection, job site preparation/safety and customer care.
“Our teams have a certain amount of autonomy,” Feliciano explains. “I provide a plan and support with logistics, but we let the guys run the show, which gives them a sense of ownership and independence that we foster and promote. In my mind, each crew is like a tactical squad. We encourage individual leadership.”
2019 proved to be a strong year for the company with a number of commercial jobs, including store remodels of Prada and Versace at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York.
As well, Feliciano and his team partnered with another general contractor to help with a major recovery effort at a local university. Working with Hudson Valley Contracting & DKI on a very tight timeframe, Matte & Lacquer Painting was responsible for extensive drywall repair and painting over all four floors of the Sakac Hall dormitory at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York. As planned by Feliciano, the job was completed on time and on budget.
“These jobs are helping to build relationships with general contractors and other trades. Part of my vision is to be a one-stop shop, full-service resource for general contractors when it comes to painting and wall coverings,” Feliciano adds.
Aggressive and Agile
By fall 2019, just two years after founding the company, Feliciano looked for help with operations. He hired Rachel Rohr as the company’s Business Development Manager. She has years of commercial construction experience as a member of a very successful general contracting family and working as a consultant for numerous other large-scale construction companies. Her experience makes her the perfect person to help guide and grow Matte & Lacquer Painting during its next phase of development.
Matte & Lacquer Painting continues to challenge itself and the industry. Current projects in New York include a new 200-room hotel in Middletown where crews are supplying both paint and wallcovering finishes, and several home renovations in Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties.
Future projects include a major warehouse development and church restoration in Orange County.
“At any given time, we have three to five jobs going—and Rachel and I visit every one of them regularly to make sure our teams are providing quality service and integrating well with the rest of the project team,” Feliciano says. “It’s a key part of our service that the general contractors seem to really like.”
In fact, visit any one of Feliciano’s job sites and you’re likely to see him dragging buckets of paint and water or cleaning brushes.
Feliciano is in the third year of his five-year plan, which includes more projects, more partnerships and more team members. The company will also be opening its first satellite branch office in Westchester County in 2020.
He adds, “My vision is to team up with former commissioned and noncommissioned military officers to grow the company. I want to provide veterans with an opportunity to utilize their leadership skills while also delivering specific goals through a team they can trust.”
Matte & Lacquer Painting is fully engaged in the application process for both the veteran-owned designation and minority business enterprise status for New York State and New York City.
Feliciano concludes, “We are extremely aggressive in our desire to grow and provide opportunities to former military personnel.” He fully believes in the motto, “We are responsible for everything we do and fail to do,” further noting, “We will leave no job behind.”