Professional meetings and conferences are where people go to learn from others in the same field: what works, what doesn’t, what to do. Through workshops and casual conversations, tips and tools of the trade are revealed and shared.

Last fall’s annual convention of the Middle Atlantic Council of the Painting Contractors Association (PCA) gave attendees the opportunity to hear from H.J. Holtz & Son painting company president Rick Holtz and his business coach, Bill Silverman. The two spoke in a session titled “Transforming from Plateaued and Frustrated to Growing a Profitable, Smooth-running Business.”

Anita Dallas, executive vice president of the Middle Atlantic Council PCA, says the presentation was beneficial to association members because Holtz and Silverman’s collaboration is obviously succeeding.

“Rick didn’t inherit his business; he worked in the business and purchased it,” she says. “He’s made it his painting company and did it with [Silverman’s] help.”

Over the last seven years, H.J. Holtz & Son has more than doubled in business volume, and the workshop used that growth as a case study for attendees to see how an owner can seek and accept input from a business coach.

“As the company got bigger, and we all got busier, I couldn’t be everywhere at once,” Holtz says. “I needed help in creating a team that I could trust to identify what needs to be done and to do that in a way that helps everyone be successful. That’s when I turned to Bill.”

Holtz says he was happy to speak because the gathering is about sharing experiences – both good and bad.

“I learn from others,” he says. “I’m happy to talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for us. All of us who go are there to learn.”

It’s important for the conference to have practical instruction for attendees, Dallas says.

“Many guys come from being painters and then start their own businesses, but they don’t [think about] all the details that had been hidden…all the overhead costs, like trucks, gas, phone,” she says. “This gets their eyes opened.”

Holtz, who has spoken at the conference before, is a favorite, she says, adding that another presenter shortened his session so he could hear Holtz.

“He really didn’t want to miss Rick’s seminar,” Dallas says.