In 1979, Dan Thomas started Dan’s Quality Painting, painting residential homes in Medford, Oregon. Thomas’ relationship with Jack Batzer, a commercial builder, soon provided opportunities for Thomas to work in a variety of industries including lumber, fruit, mining and commercial and general engineering structures.
In 1982, Batzer helped Thomas bid on more extensive restoration projects such as the Jackson County Courthouse and the Point Arena and Point Cabrillo Lighthouses on the Northern California coast. Thomas hired Ray Kinney during this period to oversee the expanding operations.
While working on the Northern California coast, the crews gained the confidence and skills to perform concrete restoration, abrasive blasting and painting of steel surfaces. Over the next few years, Thomas purchased the assets of several painting contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area, providing equipment needed to perform industrial coatings and to spray applied polyurethane foam insulation. Thomas custom-built several large tractor-trailer rigs to help expedite travel to remote locations.
By 1986, Thomas was performing work in a variety of industries throughout the Northwest and California. Industrial painting work increased with customers such as Simpson, L-P, G-P, Pope & Talbot, Boise, International Paper and Weyerhaeuser.
In 1988, Thomas incorporated the business and the name was changed to F.D. Thomas, Inc. (FDT). The same year FDT moved into more demanding work such as chemical-resistant coatings for tank linings and secondary containment. With demand growing for environmental compliance, FDT was positioned for the opportunities that lay ahead. The semiconductor industry was in full swing. When Hewlett Packard began construction on its first state-of-the-art clean room in Corvallis, Oregon, it tapped Marshall Contractors to build the facility. Marshall, in turn awarded FDT the contract for the chemical-resistant coatings as well as the epoxy flooring.
FDT’s relationship with Hewlett Packard spawned amazing growth opportunities, including work for Intel, Micron, IBM, Motorola, WaferTech, Microchip, Samsung and Novellus. Many of these relationships continue to this day. During this period of growth, Dan Brewington and Walt Handloser became part of the FDT team. With the help of CPA Lou Carmisciano, Jim Clark was hired to handle finance and administration and to implement new management information systems that would create efficiencies still used today.
By the early 1990s, FDT was working in Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, as well as California and Oregon. Thomas sought the help of Ken Roper and FMI to work with FDT’s team to develop their first strategic plan. FMI and Roper are still an integral part of the FDT team.
Grover Lee joined FDT shortly afterward as a field superintendent, and within a few years, settled into the corporate office assisting in estimating and project management. His expertise led to work in Waste Water Treatment Plants, Water Treatment Plants, penstocks, power plants and other large industrial-type coating work. FDT performed either as the subcontractor or prime contractor, depending on the specific project’s scope.
Also in the early 1990s, Thomas hired retired contractor Bill Sinay, an expert in the field of sealants, waterproofing and building restoration. His expertise took FDT to a new level. In 1998, Sinay convinced Thomas to purchase a small sealant and waterproofing contractor in Sacramento, California. The result was the first FDT satellite office. With this purchase, FDT acquired the experience of Stuart Hunter and Carl Thompson, as well as many other seasoned project leaders. Today the Sacramento office is a leader in the San Francisco Bay Area and has completed many landmark projects.
In 2000, Thomas seized another strategic opportunity when he purchased Engineered Coating Applicators. With it, this acquisition brought relationships with customers who required expertise in parking garage restoration, carbon fiber installations and concrete restoration, as well as most other specialties already performed by FDT. An expanded corporate office and shop were completed, and J.R. Jackson came out of the field to head the shop operations.
In the early 2000s, F. D. Thomas recognized a slowdown in semiconductor industry work, but at the same time noted an increase in pharmaceutical labs and nuclear cleanup projects.
In 2003, FDT, along with Bechtel, was awarded the coatings application for the Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, also known as the VIT plant. The ongoing project has a set completion date of approximately 2019. This massive undertaking is a testament to the management skills and capabilities FDT has acquired over the past three decades. FDT is also one of only two companies to successfully complete the most demanding BSL 4 containment coatings requirements.
Throughout the 2000s, FDT has capitalized on its employees’ experience, its strong financial and bonding capabilities and its solid past performance to take on large fast-track projects while continuing its ongoing relationships with employees, vendors and clients who have been the backbone of the company from the beginning.