How Adrian Gongora Found Success At Cochran & Mann
March 28, 2018
Originally from Sevilla, Spain, Adrian Gongora grew up helping his father with his local banana import-export business.
"Since I was a kid, I was working all the time in the office with my father, but really, I love painting," he said.
After both parents passed away within a year of each other, Adrian made the decision to leave the family business to his eight siblings and fly to the United States for a new opportunity.
"When I came here for this country...you don’t have too many options because you have nothing," he said. "You have to start from the beginning."
Adrian and his now wife touched down at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, and moved to Maryland.
With a passion for color, he pursued a career in painting, despite people questioning his decision to go into this trade instead of carpentry, plumbing, or electric work.
Adrian began painting for a small company that offered him "a good teacher", but it closed after years in the business.
He saw a newspaper advertisement for Cochran & Mann, a commercial painting company that was hiring painters. In December 2003, Adrian spoke to Executive Vice President Will Cochran over the phone about his job history, but Mike said that they weren’t looking for painters anymore.
"I said, 'Wow. That's not good,'" Adrian recalled. "So, the next day, I take my resume and take my car and came to...the old office, and I knock the door."
'I said, 'It's me. This is my resume, and I'm looking for something to do,'" Adrian said. "[Will] told me, 'Yes. [You're] going to prove me exactly what you can do.'"
The bold move proved worthwhile, as Adrian was hired on the spot and sent to work the next day. He thanked his instinct about the commercial painting company for the courage to create a second opportunity.
"I had a feeling," he said. "It was a really, really good feeling about this one. I said, 'OK. I'm going to take my second chance.'"
"You need to keep your dreams, your ideas, your heart," he said. "That's exactly what happened that day."
Adrian enrolled in safety classes, including multiple U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration certifications, CPR, and first aid. He also spent time in POSIX® training for painting techniques.
“You are learning all the time from something different,” he said. “Every day, the company change your life because you learn something.”
As a painter, Adrian constantly asked the leadership team about what they expected from him in order to exceed project demands. This advantageous attitude advanced him to his current position as a foreman in only a few short years.
His responsibilities include creating a safe, happy environment for painters and the client; checking materials, blueprints, and colors; and discussing details with project managers and engineers.
He has hopes of becoming a project manager in another few years, a common path in the company.
"Honestly, I'm really, really happy every day when I wake up in the morning and say, 'I'm working,'" Adrian said.
He cited the client communication, family atmosphere, and trustworthy relationship between the employees and leadership team as his favorite aspects of Cochran & Mann. The help and support from everyone at the commercial painting company was a stark and welcoming contrast to other painting companies.
"I was talking with some friends, and they were like robots," he said. "They don’t have that interaction [with] the owner or the foreman. It's really impersonal, and it's not just one company.
This is the big difference [at Cochran & Mann]. You can ask...the bosses, the superintendent for somebody's name, and [they're] going to told you...the name and the last name for every single employee in this company. I'm not just another painter."
Beyond-company friendship and understanding are what drives Adrian to come to work every day.
"Cochran & Mann is growing, growing, and growing," he said. "They have a lot of jobs. It’s keep going, keep going. I saw a big, big future for us and for them.
The most important thing is...I wear this shirt for the company. This is something really, really important."
If you're interested in working for Cochran & Mann, a commercial painting company in Frederick, Maryland, click below to apply: