*ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPT FROM COATINGS PRO MAGAZINE*
Based near Houston in Alvin, Texas, BHI Coatings is a woman-owned contracting business specializing in industrial coatings offering protection from corrosion and erosion.
The company distributes and applies Belzona products to clients in East Texas and Louisiana while also servicing offshore assets in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Breanna Remmers, president of BHI Coatings and a certified Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP) Basic Coatings Inspector, leads a team of engineers and consultants that are trained to handle many projects and situations. In many ways, it’s a role she’s long prepared for.
“I’ve been in the industry basically my entire life,” Remmers said. “Growing up, my mom had her own company in Alabama. So, she had a woman-owned contracting business, and I pretty much followed her lead. My dad is the Belzona Distributor in the Houston area. So, coatings is all I know and all I planned to do.”
“We decided to start our own contracting company in 2019. We saw a need with specialty applications, such as leaks. These are things that other contractors can do, but they don’t do it every day. So, we wanted a crew that trained specifically using Belzona products and knows how it’s done. Then, we have the QA/QC [quality assurance/quality control] to supply to our customer
Remmers acknowledged some unique challenges she’s experienced in the industry. “We’ve run into obstacles … where people don’t think women know anything in the coatings industry,” she said. “So, I have to go a little beyond what our competitors do in terms of being able to adapt to products and provide the right solutions. Being a certified inspector definitely helps.”
On the other hand, Remmers has been able to work that to her advantage. “In some cases, being a female owned business gets us into places that a male-owned business wouldn’t,” Remmers said. “As an example, the University of Houston uses us on all of their chiller HVAC applications because we’re a woman-owned business. We get first dibs.”
Know your Niche
Hospitals and higher education are big parts of the Houston job market, as is the expansive oil and gas industry. Between producing and storing harsh chemicals and the moist and humid environment outside, corrosion concerns are constant. As a result, during maintenance turnarounds, many operators have specialists they regularly contract to mitigate these concerns. BHI Coatings serves in that capacity for multiple plants, such as a job profiled in March 2023 at our website, www.coatingspromag.com Deep in the Heart: BHI Coatings Protects Texas Refinery.
“Belzona is not cheap,” Remmers said. “So, if a client is going to spend that amount of money to line their tank, they’re going to want the coating company to know exactly what they’re doing. We go after niche jobs that other contractors don’t necessarily go after, which is the leaks. And some people don’t want to apply those coatings themselves because they don’t know how. We do, and that builds trust.”
Because these coatings have unique technical properties, that puts a premium on training Distributors and crew members. “We do very hands-on training with our crews before they ever go into the field,” Remmers said. “We’re not afraid to get our hands dirty, and we make sure our quality is what our customers are expecting.”
“Each coating has a little bit different personality to it,” added Alex Tzamtzis, BHI’s vice president of technical services and a chemical engineer by trade. “Coating by coating, we go over how to use it and the best way to apply it.”
Remmers, Tzamtzis, and Ethan Perkins, vice president of operations, work together as an executive team for key decisions. Using a collaborative approach, BHI emphasizes staff retention in hopes of allowing an experienced team to reap rewards in the years ahead.
“We have a great team now, and we give them incentives,” Remmers said. “If they come in under budget and on time with a job each month, we give them an award … like a gift card or a night out with their significant other. This month we took everybody and a plus-one to an Astros game.
Beyond just the quality of their work, they have incentives to feel like a family here within our small company. It’s so they know we appreciate what they do.”