From the Battle Field to Business Ownership

By Mark Lambert, Co-owner of Five Star Painting, a Neighborly Company (of Colorado Springs and Temecula)

Originally from California, I graduated from high school in Long Beach and decided to follow in the footsteps of my father and both grandfathers and enlisted in the Army. I went on to serve in multiple locations and assignments throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as multiple combat deployments. After 22 years, I retired at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs. My military experience instilled in me strict discipline, strong work ethics and a heck of a lot of ambition, so it’s no wonder I wound up as co-owner of two successful Five Star Painting franchises. Nearly half of my life had been devoted to following a proven system with a strict set of rules and franchising was no different.

However, the road to franchise ownership was no easy feat. When I returned to civilian life I met someone who owned a painting company and started painting for him. I thoroughly enjoyed the work. I learned everything I could about the industry and put the leadership skills I acquired in the military to work, which eventually turned into me leading the company and being in charge of providing customer estimates. Unfortunately, the owner sold the company and the new owner hired a family member to do my job. What was a disappointment turned into an even greater opportunity as this change led me to meet my current business partner and fellow Army vet, Mike Shaffer. Mike suggested that we look into Five Star Painting, a Neighborly company, as he had been in talks with them in the past. A few months later we drove out to Utah to meet with the previous president of Five Star Painting and immediately signed on to develop Colorado Springs – East and West. This new venture turned out to be one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made. A few years later an opportunity came up for Mike and his family to move back to Southern California, so he transplanted one of our territories to Temecula, where we still are partners to this day.

Being veterans ourselves, any time we have an opportunity to hire a fellow veteran we try to do so. Interestingly, painting tends to be a therapeutic activity especially for vets who may suffer from anxiety or PTSD. The job allows for some peace and quiet as you often are working in a space by yourself. Giving back is part of our company’s ethos. Whether helping a veteran’s family with pro bono work or partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project, we give back because we care.

Being able to continue to apply the character and leadership I’ve acquired through decades as a soldier has allowed me to excel. I chose the painting industry as my mode of service, and I’ve never looked back.