For more than 40 years, Masterpiece Painting Company Inc. has carved a reputation as a consistent and reliable contractor that puts forth professional results – attributes that general contractors seek out when finding a painting company for challenging projects. A long-time anchor in the Ohio construction community, Masterpiece Painting bases operations from Warren, Ohio but completes work throughout the region.
“We insist on professionalism and customer service at all times, from all employees in the office and in the field,” says John Handerhan, president of the company. Handerhan worked his way up through the company for over 20 years with co-worker Elaine Gustovich, now the company’s secretary-treasurer and a 28-year employee. The two work together to run daily operations of the company.
The history of Masterpiece Painting Company is rooted in a motivated immigrant from Greece whose work ethic and commitment to professionalism and customer services that he brought to the company when it started 40+ years ago continues to drive operations today.
Masterpiece Painting Company Inc. began in 1968 by Elias G. Liakaris after coming to the United States from Chios, Greece.
Elias bought his first truck for $250 and began his American dream by painting in the Tri-State area.
The company may have started with small projects, but today it easily tackles large industrial and commercial work, both indoor and outdoor. Masterpiece works in office complexes, multi-tenant housing units, federal, state and municipal buildings, schools, prisons, and hospitals. Its industrial projects include corrosion control of structural steel and associated plant and equipment painting; and water treatment plant facility tanks.
Both Handerhan and Gustovich say the company built its reputation in part as a result of its insistence on highly-trained
and skilled employees. “We keep our staff up to date on all aspects of the job. Safety is a big factor, as is the health of our people and maintaining a drug-free workplace,” Gustovich says.
“Any accident is a detriment. These people have been part of our company for a long time,” she adds, “We have very low
turnover, and we are family. We want to take care of them.”
High-Level Expertise Fuels High-Profile Work
The high level of expertise at Masterpiece helps land high profile projects. One challenging project was restoration work
on the Trumbull County Courthouse. This Romanesque-style structure, built in the 1890s, is on the National Register of Historic Sites and is the centerpiece of the historic downtown business district. Clarence Darrow tried cases in this
courthouse. Susan B. Anthony had offices there.
Work had to be historically accurate and specifications included 60 different colors. Masterpiece delivered with discipline and attention to detail, a lot of decorative painting and gold leafing. “We also stripped and refinished the
ornate woodwork in the courtrooms,” Handerhan explains.
Painting the new, $65 million, 500-bed super-maximum prison in Youngstown, Ohio was another opportunity to accomplish excellent results. “The supermaximum prison was a challenging project because the scope and size of it was so large,” Handerhan says.
And, Masterpiece is a regular at school job sites, both for renovations and new construction. Gustovich estimates educational facility projects number into the hundreds by now. Because the company gets a steady diet of this work each year speaks to the company’s professionalism. “I like to think we’re a stable, consistent, reliable contractor, the kind of contractor that GCs are comfortable giving work to,” Gustovich adds.
Keeping up with Technology
Masterpiece is keeping pace with the construction industry’s acceleration into green building standards. The company is a certified installer of several environmentally responsible products such as Scuffmaster Polychromatic, Coraflon Polychromatic, Polomyx Polychromatic, and Zolatone Polychromatic coatings, and Albi Fire and Triarch Decorative textures. Triach is a textured finish that many designers use when they seek a luxurious alternative to paint and other coatings. “Triarch takes a certain amount of expertise above and beyond the painting,” Handerhan notes. “But it’s something that our journeymen have an expertise with.”
Masterpiece Painting Company employs only union-trained professionals who are well-versed in all of the latest products
and paint applications. Masterpiece employees are experienced journeymen who not only graduated from four-year apprenticeship program, but who also participate in consistent ongoing skill enhancement training. All employees also carry OSHA-10 and -30 cards. They also are DOT trained and certified through Veriforce. The company regularly employees 10 to 12 but can staff as many as 25 to 30 depending on the schedule.
“Our people are trained and professional and our product is second to none in the market,” Handerhan said. “The result of our work speaks for itself. That’s our best advertisement.”
Another asset that contributes to Masterpiece’s advertising and marketing is the company’s membership in the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The Builders, representing employers in Trumbull, Columbiana and Mahoning counties in eastern Ohio and Mercer and Lawrence counties in western Pennsylvania, services 15 different skilled trades in the region, and is an ongoing resource for union construction contractors such as Masterpiece. Members of The Builders have access to state-of-the-art education and training, unlimited manpower from apprenticeship and union labor halls, contract negotiation support, and a pool of technical, administrative and support resources.
Handerhan is a past-president of The Builders, and remains active on the executive and marketing committees. He also is a past president of the Trumbull Division for The Builders, and he serves on the Joint Trade Board for Painters Local 476. The company is also a member of the Youngstown-Warren Area Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, LMCI, and the Painters, Decorators and Contractors of America.
“Being union opens up opportunities for us, and provides the manpower and training that we need so that we’re set up to do any kind of work,” Handerhan said. “We can answer demands for specialty finishes and certifications, which separates us from others who can’t access that type of depth of talent.”
Services and Capabilities
Masterpiece employees are certified installers of scuffmaster, coraflon, polomyx, and zolatone polychromatic coatings, albi fire proofing, and triarch decorative textures. We are experts in:
Industrial Coating and Surface Treatment: Epoxies and urethanes, floor coatings, corrosion control on structural steel,
intumescent fire control coatings, tank coatings and linings, abrasive blasting, high-pressure water cleaning, corrosive
control linings, waterproof coatings.
Commercial Coatings & Surface Treatments: Faux finishing, vinyl wall covering, architectural coating, specialty finishes, graffiti control, polychromatic coatings, and textured coatings.