John Lohkamp has seen a lot in his fourteen years with Thomas Industrial Coatings. He’s managed crews of ten to sixty men on a variety of jobs all across the United States, as well as earned an impressive list of certifications that include Tank Failure Analysis Training, SSPC training in Surface Preparation & Coating Application and Removal of Lead Paint and SSPC PCI Level 2 Certified Inspector status. This month, we’re asking John about his thoughts on what makes TIC unique, the company’s approach in emerging penstock markets and, maybe most importantly, what his March Madness bracket looks like this year.
How long have you been with Thomas?
I started with Don Thomas in 1999. That’s 14 years now.
What’s your role at the company?
I’m a General Manager. I oversee the team of Project Managers, Estimators, and all the CTOs, Superintendents and so on.
What makes Thomas unique in general?
We as a company are probably one of the most professional painting contractors you can find. In other words, we’ve got the highest-trained, most-knowledgeable guys in the business who also really care about their work. We talk a lot about the safety culture at the company, and everyone is into it from the top down, boss included.
It’s great to have a leader that not only invests money back into the company, but who is also concerned about your safety and family. That just starts filtering down to all of us who work here at Thomas, and it really shows in our work.
What is Thomas’ approach to penstocks – is there anything unique?
We’re actually a very good contractor for that market. In that industry, they’re looking for a fast turnaround, someone who knows what they’re doing and to get the job done on time – that’s what we’re good at. As we’re getting to know these people and we get up north, at Duluth right now, the owners up there have realized that, “Hey, this is not your normal painting contractor coming in here. These guys are safety-conscious, they’ve got the tools, and they’re willing to invest in equipment.”
What are some of your greatest accomplishments at Thomas?
One of the first things I did here. We were able to do one of the largest above ground water storage tanks in the country, down in Austin, Texas. We did a project up in the Chicago area with Inland Steel, too, and it was related to the power industry because it was a shut-down, fast-turnaround, new piping, new furnace installation and specialty linings. We had to turn it out pretty quick.
Overall, though, I’d say being able to grow as a team and grow the company so quickly here in the last three or four years.
I thought it would’ve been that you won the Pinewood Derby…
Oh, yeah, yeah, that was pretty neat too. I get made fun of every time I joke about that. Though I am entering a better car this year – I guarantee it.
What do you do when you’re not at Thomas – when you’re not painting stuff?
I’ve got three boys in high school, so we’re very active. I’ve got one boy in band, two boys in football and baseball. I actually coach 6th through 8th grade football, it’s more of a club team and I’m the Defensive Coordinator for them. Other than those tasks, I don’t have much time for anything else.
If you were having a poker party, who are three people you’d like to deal in?
Walter Payton, George H.W. Bush, and Gen. George S. Patton.
With baseball season right around the corner, how do you think the Cardinals will do this year?
They have the right pitching staff and always have good bats. The question this year is how will their defense/ fielding be. I think they will contend for the Central Division title again and make the playoffs. From there, it is anyone’s game.
Can you give us your picks for this year’s NCCA Men’s Basketball Tournament?
I am going to be a “homer” and pick Missouri to make it to the Elite 8. However, I have to go with Miami, Gonzaga, Louisville, and Georgetown in the Final Four. Give the title to Miami.