How Janina Del Gallo Learned To Love Commercial Painting
April 25, 2018
As she grew up, Janina Del Gallo moved around the South, including Charlotte, North Carolina, and Athens, Georgia. She graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, with a bachelor’s in business finance.
After graduating from school, Janina was ready to leave behind her various restaurant gigs for a more stable job. A long-time connection told her about an available position for an assistant project manager at Cochran & Mann in Frederick, Maryland.
She overdressed for an interview with President Mike Cochran and Executive Vice President Will Cochran, leaving a lasting impression that’s a running joke around the office to this day.
“In college, they always teach you [to] dress for success,” she laughed.
About an hour after the interview, Janina received a call with a job offer to be part of the special projects team, working with Wawa and Royal Farms. She partially credited her “broad” degree to getting her foot in the professional world.
“The degree really helps when it comes to doing costing...and making sure [we’re] staying on budget,” she said. “Having a business degree always helps in any kind of field.”
Though she never considered a commercial painting company as a career, Janina spent the last 11 months at Cochran & Mann.
“I thought, ‘Why not just give it a go?’,” she said. “I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I’ve been here close to a year now, and I just love it.”
The first few months were spent learning about paperwork and computer programs from existing assistant project managers and the accountant. As for field and safety training, everyone helped Janina learn the ropes.
“You can pretty much go to anybody and ask a question,” she said. “They’re always willing to help. As long as you’re willing to ask, it works out.”
Once she was certified and experienced in the office, Janina dove into field work, which led to the discovery of her favorite part of the job.
“My favorite part about this industry is the places it takes you,” she said. “You have an opportunity to establish friendships and widen your circle of people. It’s not just paint.”
As an assistant project manager, Janina spends every day a little differently. From running to the office to visiting various project sites and the Gaithersburg, Maryland, office, she’s always traveling between Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and most recently New Jersey.
“I’ve been to places that I’ve never been before,” she said. “Even on a daily basis, I get to...go around and travel. I get to go to beautiful places. I get to see new places all the time. I would rather travel than sit behind a desk every day, all day.”
This travel and influx of work comes with meeting new people, a huge perk in an industry that she thought she’d feel like an outlier in.
“At first, I thought this was not going to be a field where I was going to have people my age or anybody I could really relate to,” she said.
According to a 2015 article by the Chicago Tribune, Janina is part of 4 percent of women in the workforce of natural resources, construction, and maintenance, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Aside from being outnumbered in gender, the 25-year-old is on the younger side of the age spectrum in the commercial painting industry.
However, she finds that under Cochran & Mann, she receives an equal level of respect as her more experienced colleagues.
“People treat me with kindness and respect and fairness,” she said. “On job sites, the general contractors [and] the supers...can range anywhere between 23 to...65 [years old],” she said.
“That’s what I love. It’s just all different kinds of people, all different ages.”
The diverse commercial painting industry is a niche that Janina never thought she’d fall in love with, but Cochran & Mann’s honesty and openness “100 percent” made it easy.
“I love working with the people that I work with,” she said. “Everybody in the office is like family, and it’s really nice. Even if you don’t have the Cochran last name, you never feel that way.”
If you’re looking for a career in the commercial painting industry, click on the button below to apply to Cochran & Mann: