President & CEO
All American Painting Company
Location: St. Louis, MO
Industry: Painting Contractor
In the early stages of Rick Phillips’ painting company, finances were sometimes tight.
“Many times we were so broke I could not spend money because we needed the money for payroll or payables, equipment or the next job,” he said. “We always said: ‘Do not stop the machine. Keep working.’”
That perseverance paid off. Today, All American Painting Company, where Phillips serves as president and CEO, counts among its clients some of the biggest entities in the region and accounts for 60% of the revenue for Sherman Williams in St. Louis.
Phillips says the secret is never forgetting the importance of people.
“Build the relationships. Be a motivator and be kind, caring, hardworking, friendly, confident, flexible,” he said.
And that also means knowing when to reach out for help to get input on handling complex problems.. “Some problems can be solved with the flip of a coin. Other problems you need to phone a friend, a CEO, a lawyer or a client,” he said.
The company, founded in 1999 and specializing in commercial and industrial projects, has earned contracts from the MLS CITYPARK Stadium, Busch Stadium, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Anheuser-Busch, Boeing Company, Ameristar — River City Casinos, Washington University, Bayer, Dynegy, Chick-fil-A, US Cellular, Missouri Botanical Gardens and more.
Phillips credits his mentor, Walter Bazan Sr., for teaching him how to run a painting business. Phillips completed his apprenticeship and started learning the economics of the business from Bazan, including how to bid on projects. Phillips learned how to do estimating and lead crews on-site over the course of 10 years. At that time, Phillips told Bazan he wanted to run his own company. Bazan once again helped Phillips, even after Phillips launched his own company and was competing with Bazan for business.
All American Painting made $96,000 in its first year, then $600,000 the following year, then hit $1 million after two years. Phillips added staff and the company grew to $4 million, and then he added more people and the growth continued.
The company’s goal in the coming years is to eclipse the $15 million annual revenue mark, and with that goal in mind Phillips hired an operations manager and an estimating vice president.
Phillips’ team describes him as a relaxed manager who does not allow tempers or negativity in the office. Phillips, who grew up with eight siblings, prioritizes family and implements employees’ families into company activities, including holiday parties with significant others, BBQs in the summer, construction site safety meetings and more.
“Rick never expected the company to grow to this size,” his team said. “He kept showing up to work every day and implementing new procedures, hiring new managers and looking for employees who like to work as a family ... Rick is skilled at building and nurturing relationships and continuously trying to improve those relationships.”
People who know Rick, know that that Rick is always smiling and happy. He came from being the brokest person you know to having the best life ever. He also loves cars!