Power Tools for Professionals

Rope Access Painter

Dutch Purnell, Rope Access Painter, Denver

What is your trade/profession and how did you first get involved in it? (e.g. How long have you been doing this? Were you ever in a similar trade? Tell us how you started working this job.) Also, what do you enjoy most about your job and what’s the most exciting part of it?

My trade is rope access painting. I got involved in the profession because I used to be a professional ice climber. While I was a climber I used to paint houses during the summer and save that money to take the winter off to climb ice. After doing this professionally for a while I decided my sponsors were never going to give me the money I wanted to earn so I developed the grand idea to combine my talent of ropes with my trade of painting and started the rope access company, BASE Group . I run a business now and have very little time to climb.

Rope access painter

Daredevils work hard and play hard, what are the “play hard” leisure activities you do off the clock (e.g. fishing, riding dirt bikes, rappelling, hiking, mountain climbing, etc). What is the most memorable experience you had “playing hard?”

In this time of my life I do several different things for leisure such as skateboarding and fishing with my seven-year-old son, as well as attending his football and soccer games. When I have the time for myself I like aerial aerobatics, parachuting and riding my Harley. My most memorable extreme leisure activity last year was the first time I took a ride in a Pitts aerobatics plane. We were working for several weeks in Milwaukee during a famous air show. It was the first time I’ve ever seen aerobatic planes do tricks in the air. I was taken by the fact that in all my 40 years I have never seen aerobatic maneuvers. When I returned to Denver (my hometown), I found a local pilot just five miles from my house and hired him for several hours. They say that motorcycle riding is freedom, but I say you have never experienced freedom until you have pulled a flawless hammerhead in a aerobatics airplane. Now I hire a pilot to learn aerobatics in every city we visit.

Like any Daredevil, you obviously have a knack for finding the best life has to offer. A lifestyle of performance, creativity and bold efficiency isn’t complete without a fun tale. Tell us a story about when you took a calculated risk, played a practical joke on a fellow tradesman or about one of the most extreme jobsites you’ve encountered in your career.

In my day-to-day business, every day and every job is a calculated risk. We take a risk each day – I have guys hanging on ropes on a structure from grain silos to baseball stadiums to radio towers. My goal is to bring each and every one of my employees back home safe to their families. One of the most extreme job sites we’ve had would be the painting of the retractable roof at Miller Park in Milwaukee. We performed this painting during the end of fall, just after the Brewers finished up their season. During the five-week-long job, we had to deal with relentless weather as well as the closing and opening of the roof. Since our guys were rappelling off the girders of the roof each time it moved, they had to jump out of the way to avoid being crushed.

What Daredevil products do you use and how do you use them?

I use Daredevil spade bits when I work on wood projects, but a majority of my projects are steel and concrete.

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