In August on 1984, Tom McCasland arrived in Camden, Arkansas. According to his son in-law, Tracy Payne, “He has $15,000 in his pocket and his family. He bought a home and started B&M Painting Company.” Lockheed had just gone into production. Tom was dong similar work for a company in Texas when a machine shop in Paris, Texas (still a customer of B&M today) suggested to the firm Tom was working for that they expand their opperations to Camden. Tom’s firm was not interested in expansion into Arkansas, but Tom saw a business opportunity and seized it.
Specializing in aerospace and military coatings, B&M started with one client, a 300 square foot facility with one paint booth and the family members doing all the work. It was one year before B&M hired its first employee and after 2-3 years in business still employed fewer than ten people. Today, B&M now has 35 customers over 15 states, occupies a 40,000 square foot facility overlooking the Ouachita River with three pint booths, and employs 40 people. Among B&M’s customers are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Aerojet, Spectra Technologies, and Goodrich Aerospace, Cargo Division of Jamestown, North Dakota who constructs cargo systems for the airline industry.
Payne attributes the company’s success to two simple words, “customer service”. The industry standard on turnaround is 7-10 days and B&M does it in 3-4 days. When asked how they accomplish this, Tracy does not hesitate, “The good employees we have, employees that know their job and take pride in their work. Over 50% of our employees have been here over five years. People enjoy working here in our relaxed, casual atmosphere and because of that they give back to our customers our unique personalized service.”
Payne stressed that B&M is still a “family business, even today.” Unfortunately, Tom passed away in October of 2002, but B&M is being run today by Payne, Tom’s son Brian McCasland and Tom’s daughter Shelley Johnson. Payne said, “When I say family business, I really mean it, its not just our family. We have families with 4 or 5 family members working here. We have one family with two brothers, and aunt, and a cousin working here. We have a father, a son and a daughter working here. That’s how we’ve been able to get our good employees.”