Based in Kerrville, Texas, Clay Bennett is leading the charge at 1 Priority Coating & Bridge Painting as the division manager. A subsidiary of EIS Holdings, LLC, the largest U.S. abatement contractor, 1 Priority Coating & Bridge Painting specializes in industrial and commercial work for complex, large-scale concrete and steel bridges.

Bennett has become an industry mainstay over the past 30 years — but it wasn’t all by design. “I did not aspire to be a bridge painter,” said Bennett, whose team’s work was recently profiled in an online case study for CoatingsPro Magazine (“Overpass Overcoat for a Major Texas Thoroughfare”). “It started out as just a summer job, and it was going to be something temporary. But it started turning into something bigger.”

Bennett’s job today is living proof. Although there are a lot of aspiring bridge painters, not many get into operations or management, according to him. But Bennett has taken it to the top. “If you work hard enough and you stay somewhere long enough, you can get to the top of whatever it is you’re trying to do,” he said.