Safe and Sustainable: Scaturro Secures Legacy at Alpine, AMPP

Sam Scaturro, president of Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors, was chair of the AMPP Board of Directors in 2022. As an industry leader, he prioritizes working closely with the association.

Since its founding in 1975, Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors (Paterson, New Jersey, USA) has been family owned and operated. Today, the contract company specializes as a full-service, regional provider of commercial, industrial, and shop painting.

Sam Scaturro, now company president, was born into the business alongside his two brothers. With an engineering background, Scaturro changed Alpine’s technical path by rigorously obtaining certifications and training from industry-reputed organizations, including SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings and NACE International (which combined in 2021 to form AMPP, the Association for Materials Protection and Performance). 

“I have lots of certifications, and our employees have lots of certifications, many of them provided by AMPP,” Scaturro says as part of a recent podcast episode with AMPP. “It gives credibility to what we’re selling, and to what we’re telling our clients. “It speaks to the knowledge that we bring to the table.”

Alpine also makes it a point to be actively involved with AMPP and its member magazines, as evidenced by its three first-place wins (and one second-place honor) in the latest iteration of CoatingsPro’s Contractor Awards Program. Those awards were presented at the 2024 AMPP Annual Conference + Expo, which took place this March in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Safety First

Over more than two decades in the coatings business, Scaturro has watched the industry grow and evolve. For the sake of both clients and crew members, he considers it essential to adapt to modern trends. In 2024, those start with an emphasis on safer work practices.

“I think it’s becoming more important to take people out of harm’s way,” Scaturro says. “We can have robotics and equipment do things that people don’t have to do anymore.”

“I’ll give you a good example,” he adds. “We recently bought a drone to power wash with, so we no longer have to send people up on a suspended scaffold. It’s not for every job. But we no longer have to have people on lifts… and have the risk of the power washing lance come in front of them, if they were to slip and fall. We have technology to do that.”

“Even with sandblasting technology, we have a lot of robotic sandblasting equipment. I think the industry is making leaps and bounds into robotic spraying, but we’re not ready to make that investment yet, because I don’t think it’s quite there. But these types of situations are going to be more and more important in the future.”

Workforce Development

Scaturro knows that much of Alpine’s success is tied to its coatings application crews, and keeping those workers happy and healthy is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining valuable staffers.

“Every year, we have a meeting internally to set our goals for the next year,” Scaturro says. “And the majority of our goals are around this exact topic.”  

One of the first priorities, naturally, is safety. While adopting technologies that can take people out of harm’s way is part of the solution, another vital aspect is updated applicator training, which is available through AMPP.

“Making people feel safe is critically important,” says Scaturro, who recently spent a year as chair of the AMPP Board of Directors in 2022. “That also involves staying on top of craftworker training so that people feel comfortable where they are… and that they’re going to go home healthy to their families, every day.”

Photo courtesy of Alpine.

At Alpine, that emphasis on training is supported by both experienced field personnel and newer crew members.

“We did an interesting [company] survey,” Scaturro notes. “We asked field personnel, ‘What’s the single biggest thing we could do to impact our business?’ Our foremen and employees who have been here for a while said, ‘Find me people that are better trained.’ The newer employees said something like, ‘I’d love to have more direction and training from the field staff… and a little more respect and patience.’” 

“That all goes straight to training, and we’re putting a huge emphasis on it,” he says. “We want to have the best training possible to keep those employees.”

Other important variables include salary and company culture. 

“Costs are increasing like crazy for individuals, so we need to make sure that they can continue to afford to live, and to come to work every day to provide for their families,” Scaturro says. “With labor, material, and equipment costs rising, we have to keep finding ways to transfer those costs into the jobs… and still be able to get these jobs and keep our employees happy.”

“Outside of just pay, we have a lot of company events where we enjoy each other,” he adds. “It’s not just throwing a holiday party every year. We have summer parties. We’re taking our employees go-karting soon. We go on fishing trips. We play paintball. We do a lot of fun activities to keep people engaged and enjoying each other’s company. Culture is a huge part of our business.”

Photo courtesy of Alpine.

Sustainable Practices

While safer practices and workforce development are key trends in 2024, so, too, is sustainability. To make that happen, Scaturro points to technologies offering longer lifespans.

“I think longer-lasting technologies are going to continue to become more and more important,” Scaturro says. “We do a lot of linings… for water and wastewater, for chemical processing. Having these systems last longer—so these structures don’t have to be taken out of service as often—I think is really important.”

“I think the environment and sustainability is also a huge trend,” he says. “We’re consistently changing our marketing on how sustainable we are as a company, and what kind of recycling technologies we do… and how we’re trying to be smarter and better about the energy usage that we utilize for our work. There’s also waste minimization, and things like that. Those are probably the biggest trends that we’re seeing.”

‘Pay More to Get More’

When it comes to both people and materials, some of these trends cost more money. But by properly communicating the benefits to clients, Alpine has found success in landing those types of investments.

“Our typical clients are generally clients who are willing to pay more initially to get a better value,” Scaturro says. “Sometimes it’s okay for us to say, ‘I just don’t think that we’re a great fit, and I think you’re looking for something different. That’s completely fair.”

“Alpine works very hard to train its employees to a very high degree, which may come at a bigger initial investment,” he adds. “But what ends up happening is the lifespan of what we provide to them — and the customer service, and what they get in the process of dealing with good people and having a good experience — they’re usually willing to pay more to get more.”

The same approach holds true with materials.

“We tell them that they’re going to have a lower overall cost of ownership with this particular project,” Scaturro concludes. “We’re going to give you something that costs a certain amount, but it’s going to cost that over the total lifespan. Some people feel good about buying that more expensive product up front, because they feel like they’re going to get that better value. That’s what it’s like working with Alpine.”

Listen to Scaturro’s complete interview at the embedded link below, and check out more industry conversations at

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