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New career, old job skills

image Karen Wagner, owner, Fresh Coat

AUSTIN - Karen Wagner has an MBA in project management, and as the owner of Fresh Coat North Austin Painting, she finds it as useful as she did when she managed finance departments for Dell.






    “These now are shorter-term projects, but you get to see results sooner,” she says.
    Wagner celebrated her fifth anniversary last May as a painting contractor who works out of her home, serving North Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, and West Round Rock.
    After working at Dell for 18 years, Wagner was ready for a fresh start, and Fresh Coat offered the change she wanted.
    “I knew I wanted to own a business, so I looked at nine different franchises, and I liked the Fresh Coat business model.”
    Their support structure includes a project estimator for reliable quotes and a customer satisfaction survey that permits Wagner to monitor and address feedback.
    Everything appears to be going strong. “It has been rewarding. This year has been good for revenue growth,” Wagner says.
    But, there are additional gratifications.
    “At Dell, I had a lot of good experiences, and it’s a global company, but what I found was I didn’t know my neighborhood. So now, I’m getting to know all my neighbors,” she says.
    She also enjoys Fresh Coat’s charity project, Paint It Forward®, through which she offered free painting services to a
veteran and a local nonprofit group.
    And finally, her eyes light up when she talks about working with “creative” millennials. Recalling one project, she reports, “They wanted a whole wall to write on.”
    Over the client’s chosen paint color, the Fresh Coat team applied a new dry erase clear coat that allows the wall to be used as a wipe board.  “It’s really cool,” Wagner says.

      Fresh Coat offers light commercial, new construction, and residential interior and exterior painting.
– ke

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Kim Estes austineditor@constructionnews.net