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Keith McDonald Promoted To Senior Project Manager

August 15, 2018


“Selling Cochran & Mann. That’s what I like doing the best. I believe in my company, so it’s easy. I’m not...being fake about it. I enjoy my job.”

Keith began in the painting industry in 2002. He worked for a paint company that specialized in petroleum stations, retail stores, hospitals, and restaurants. He was a helper that didn’t paint much but was always around the trade.

He cleaned and taped on small painting projects. He learned everything on the job site from more experienced painters. It was the office part of the industry that came naturally to Keith.

His first boss needed him “to learn the tricks of the trade” before working in the office, Keith recalled. He learned estimating and client communication out of his boss’ home office and in the field.

After the paint company permanently closed, Keith’s boss recommended him to Mike Cochran, president and co-owner of Cochran & Mann.

Keith met Mike at a nearby coffee shop for his first interview. After that, he met Mike and Will Cochran, executive vice president and co-owner of Cochran & Mann, at the Gaithersburg office for a second interview.

“I didn’t think I did very well,” Keith said. “I was actually kind of bummed, but Will was impressed with my answers. I just wanted a chance to prove myself.”

They gave Keith that very chance, and he joined the Cochran & Mann family in August 2011.

Keith seamlessly integrated into Cochran & Mann and quickly earned the trust of his colleagues.

“I can go out and be me and work hard,” he said. “That’s kind of the big thing.”

Keith also enjoyed the flexible work-life balance and family atmosphere of Cochran & Mann. He connected with the team through annual holiday dinners, Frederick Keys games, golf tournaments, and employee birthday celebrations. Even a simple lunch with his boss means a lot.

“Mike will come by random days and be like, ‘Hey. Do you want to go to lunch,’” Keith said. “He doesn’t have to take me to lunch. He has bigger fish to fry, but he does that with everyone.

“They want everyone to be close. They’re just good people. They make it easier.”

A few years later, Keith received a promotion to Senior Project Manager.

With a hand in every project, Keith is responsible for a commercial painting project from start to finish. He performs superintendent work and financial aspects, including the billing process and procurement of paint. He does change orders, planning, and “a lot of site work.”

“They need to see me,” he said, referencing on-the-ground painters and other project managers. “I don’t want to be that type of guy that picks up the phone and tells them what to do. I want to be out there, showing them I can do it, too.”

This team-player mindset was a hallmark in Keith’s work ethic and office personality from day one. It was also a major reason he joined the Cochran & Mann team.

“He has that can-do attitude that inspires his team to meet deadlines without sacrificing quality,” Mike said.

“I’ve worked my butt off,” Keith said. “[It’s] because I see [Mike and Will] working their butts off. They hired me for a reason, and they trust me.”

As for his recent promotion?“I’m happy they gave it to me,” Keith said. “I’m proud. I’m ready to take on the next chapter, the next big thing. I’m a senior? It just means I’m getting older,” he laughed.

“I don’t want another job. It’s another five years of trying to make this company better. I’m not going anywhere.”

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