Case Studies

Paul Thomarios – Thomarios

Skylights to soaring rockets, a company constructs new heights

In 1948, Nick Thomarios started a small painting company to meet the needs of his neighbors as well as residents of nearby communities. His son Paul Thomarios would often join him, wielding brushes and rollers.

Later on, as a political science undergraduate student at The University of Akron, the younger Thomarios would spend his summers helming the company while his father traveled the world and visited home and family in Greece. In this leadership role, Paul Thomarios realized the company had a lot of scope for expansion and, as long as it adhered to his father’s values of quality and integrity, it could pull in well-established brands as clients.

So, after graduating in 1971, he started advocating and marketing the skills of those working at the company and its services across the nation. The next two decades brought in larger clients from Goodyear to Metric—and by 1986, he was able to take the Ohio-based company global.

Between 1994 and 2003, he continually added new services, and alongside painting the company now offers powder coatings, construction and flooring. It also has a specialty group that focuses on aerospace, aircraft and historic building restoration as well as specialist fabrication like helicopter and shuttle parts for clients such as Lockheed Martin, NASA, Kennedy Space Center and the Smithsonian.

“This company has been a part of my life since I was a child, and we have already accomplished such amazing feats—with many more fascinating projects in the works,” Thomarios says. “I enjoy everything we do, which is why I’m still working here at 76 with no plans to retire just yet.”

Rocketing into a diversified project portfolio

Leading and working on a variety of unique projects over the past half century—from fabricating and installing a tray-shaped, multi-sided skylight at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City to restoring and reinforcing the waterproofing at Cleveland’s Terminal Tower that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976—Thomarios has difficulty picking a favorite.

Nevertheless, he did share with Blueprint how much he enjoyed the work he and others at Thomarios did in 1996 on the Saturn V rocket.

Funded by the Smithsonian, the project restored and preserved the piece of national history for Delaware North, NASA and the National Air and Space Museum at Kennedy Space Center. It involved replacing the hazardous coating with safe, specialty coatings across the body of the 375-foot rocket. Thomarios also cleaned, remanufactured and installed several parts of the rocket.

“Apart from the work, we also had to stay aware of the public tours, day-to-day operations and monthly space launches—and not disrupt any of the three,” he tells Blueprint.

He and his team were also working on a tight schedule, completing what should have been a year-long project in less than five months through collaboration and clear communication. The quality and speed of work on this project earned the company awards from The Themed Entertainment Association of America and NASA.

“This project was one of many that helped Thomarios grow its services and show how we efficiently and smoothly tackle even the largest, most nuanced tasks out there—and it was rather enjoyable, despite the challenges that came with stabilizing and transporting such a large object,” Thomarios says. “Projects like these are what led Astronaut Gene Cernan to attend our Copley facility grand opening in 2003.”

Billions to building for communities

Not all projects are quite as finicky or involve multi-billion-dollar equipment. Yet, Thomarios gives his all to each venture his company has on its docket, staying involved in everything from planning and bidding to completion.

He’s currently excited about the largest construction job in the company’s history: the Ocasek Building in Akron, Ohio. This $30 million project will renovate and fashion the five-story downtown office into a government building with a new municipal courthouse and space to house all judges throughout the city. The project should be complete by early 2025.

Of course, a company as large as Thomarios has several, simultaneous projects in the works. In Ohio alone, it’s tackling two other major endeavors, one being the $8 million construction of a new city hall for Kent. Paul Thomarios worked closely with Kent’s city planners in 2022 to design it.

The other is a regional dispatch center for Summit County. Thomarios and his team will be renovating an existing building, making it an office for 9-1-1 dispatchers for the county’s several townships, which will free up space in police stations. Similar to the Kent city project, he’s working closely with leadership and town officials to ensure the building will suit the needs of the dispatchers. The project is well underway and should be complete by early 2024.

In the midst of several local, national and international projects, Thomarios also celebrated a major milestone this year: its 75th anniversary.

“My father started this company out of his garage with nothing more than a few paint cans, tools and a desire to provide the best quality product and services to those in nearby communities,” Thomarios says. “We’ve kept that spirit even as we’ve grown into a global entity, working with the world’s largest companies and organizations. It’s been a wonderful journey—I’m excited for our future and looking forward to celebrating our 100-year anniversary.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VIII 2023 Edition here.

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Testimonials

It was an absolute pleasure working with the team at Blueprint. Their genuine interest in our company's journey not only resulted in a delightful piece, but gave us the opportunity to recognize some of the unsung heroes of our rapidly-growing organization. We are grateful for the opportunity to highlight the development and growth of our now well-established work-hard, play-harder culture.
— Cole Settem, Communications Coordinator, Brain Corp
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— Joan Magill, Founder, Residential Realty Group Inc.

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