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As president and CEO of Col-Met Spray Booths in Rockwall, Texas, Eric Jones has overseen several expansions of his company, which, obvious by its name, sells and installs paint spray booths, batch ovens and related products throughout the U.S. He started his finishing career in high school installing spray booths, then sharpened his pencil and became an accountant. Restless to get back into the action side of the finishing industry, he helped found Col-Met Spray Booths and is active in trade organizations and industry shows.
Col-Met Spray Booths made a big splash a few years back when you hired American Chopper to build you a motorcycle that was chronicled on the popular TV show. Where’s the bike now, and how did everything turn out for Col-Met with the show?
EJ: The bike is now on display in the lobby of Col-Met’s world headquarters. Everything turned out great with the show … we still have people talking about it.
Your company philosophy stresses doing business ethically and honestly with strong principles. How important is that to you and others at Col-Met?
EJ: Our core values are ones that I live by. Life is too short to live any other way. I preach to our team … at the end of the day, always do the right thing.
Col-Met gets involved in a lot of charity endeavors, including contributing $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project to assist those who have been injured in war. How did you get involved in that project?
EJ: We got involved with the Wounded Warrior Project through Ryno, the painter for the show “Trick My Truck.” It was a great experience, and one that we at Col-Met are very proud of.
You were a big advocate of adding a Finishing Pavilion at the Fabtech show. What did you see that made you feel that was a good route for the finishing industry?
EJ: I had been attending the Fabtech show since the mid-90s—prior to anyone in our industry exhibiting there—in order to purchase manufacturing equipment. Several years ago while attending the show, I decided we needed to attend the following year as an exhibitor. The reason was simple … everyone I met while attending the show worked with metal that eventually needed to be painted.
How did you get your start in the finishing industry and specifically with Col-Met?
EJ: I started in this business doing finishing system installations as a summer job in high school and college. After college, I went to work for one of our previous customers as his accountant. A year later, and shortly after Binks sold its sheet metal division, I convinced the owner to start Col-Met Spray Booths with his money and my idea. I bought him out several years ago, and here we are!
What is playing on your car radio or CD player?
EJ: On my radio is ESPN, and on my iPod is Nickelback.
What’s the best piece of professional or personal advice you’ve received?
EJ: I have a sign posted in my office, one at home above my bathroom sink and one in each of my kids’ rooms that reads, “Every Day I Play Like a Champion.” Try it … it works. n