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Water Tower Spruce Up

Published October 19, 2016

Limestone Independent News – Pepper Bauer

Photo – Donald Bauer

A massive monolith now looms on the State Hospital grounds alongside Pfeiffer Road, across from the Peoria Area Electrical Training Center.   A sound reminiscent of a jet warming up on a runway seems to issue from inside the shiny exterior as the flexible panels vibrate.

Is it a secret project of a mad scientist, or an alien ship? Maybe it’s a piece of modern art gone wild.

In reality it’s something we’ve seen every day for many years, just getting spruced up.   The water tower with the Bartonville logo painted on the tank is getting a new paint job.  It’s something to see, especially in the bright sunshine, looking snazzy in its dress and hat.

The tower is owned by Illinois American Water Co., and they’ve contracted the huge painting job out to TMI Painting and Coating Restoration Contractors.  The “hat and dress” on the tower is to protect the new paint job from dust and debris in the air.  Behind the tower a large yellow vacuum machine called a “Dust Collector” reaches under the tower’s covering with tubing and clears the dust from the air, sucking substantial volumes of air per minute.

The paint is applied by spraying most of the tower and tank, but some of the inner parts are rolled. A consultant from Illinois American Water Co. said that the projected date to finish the project is December 1, but that date is dependent on weather and other factors.  The workers can’t paint if the temperatures drop below 35 degrees.

So, keep watching. In a couple months the water tower will drop her dress, toss her hat, and show off her sparkling new paint job.

Bauer, Pepper. “Water Tower Spruce Up” Limestone Independent News [Bartonville, IL], 19 Oct. 2016.

Richfield’s water tower paint job a tall order

TMI Coatings rehabs the Penn Avenue water tower in Richfield, Minnesota

Workers scale the Penn Avenue water tower Aug. 5 to prepare the structure to accommodate a giant tarp that will cover the tower as part of a reconditioning project. Beginning last week, the project is expected to take eight weeks. (Sun Current staff photo by Andrew Wig)


Published August 15, 2015 at 12:05 pm
Sun Current – Compiled by Andrew Wig


A symbol of Richfield is being freshened up as the water tower at Penn Avenue and 63rd Street undergoes reconditioning.

Workers are repainting the tower and replacing stairs and railings in accordance with the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according Richfield facilities superintendent Robert Hintgen.

And make no mistake about a water tower’s symbolic significance to a city, Hintgen noted.

“It’s the essence of the city,” he said.

The eight-week reconditioning project began last week as crews prepared the tower for the new paint job, work that required climbing to the very top of the structure.

“It’s being sandblasted to bare metal – the entire tower,” Hintgen said.

As part of the reconditioning, the structure will also be covered by a giant tarp at times. Crews were working last week to prepare for the covering.

Workers for St. Paul firm TMI Coatings work at the base of the Penn Avenue water tower

Workers for St. Paul firm TMI Coatings work at the base of the Penn Avenue water tower Aug. 5 as they prepare to repaint the structure, part of an eight-week reconditioning project. (Sun Current staff photo by Andrew Wig)

The tower was last reconditioned in 1996, according to Hintgen, while its sister tower on Logan Avenue to the south got a fresh coat in 2011. When the Penn tower is complete, it will look very similar to its counterpart, the only other water tower in the city, Hintgen said.

In addition to the sight of a freshly gleaming tower, people in the area of Penn Avenue and 63rd Street might enjoy improved cell phone service when the project is complete. Currently, cell phone equipment normally positioned at the top of the tower has been placed on a temporary pole nearby.

When the paint job is complete, operators will install updated cell phone equipment, Hintgen said. He added that cell customers should expect no lapse in service.

– Compiled by Andrew Wig

TMI Coatings, Inc. receives national re-certification from Women’s Business Development Center as a WBENC.

TMI Coatings, Inc. receives national re-certification from Women’s Business Development Center as a WBENC.

St. Paul, MN – (July, 2015) –TMI Coatings, Inc., a business specializing in the application of protective coatings and linings for industry, received national re-certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).WBE Hi Res exp 6-16 (3)

WBENC’s national standard of certification is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

To learn more about TMI Coatings, please visit

About TMI Coatings

TMI Coatings is a Painting and Restoration Contractor specializing in the application of protective coatings and linings. One-third of TMI’s business is sandblasting, rigging and painting (including hazardous paint removal) tanks, structural steel and infrastructure; one-third is concrete coatings, and the remainder is building restoration.


The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council is one of the nation’s largest certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the United States. WBENC is a resource for the more than 700 US companies and government agencies that rely on WBENC’s certification as an integral part of their supplier diversity programs.

TMI Coatings in the Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses in Minnesota

Each year the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal honors the Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses in Minnesota. 2009 found TMI Coatings included in this prestigious list and ranked in position 20. Tracy Gliori is the president and CEO of TMI Coatings. In business since May 1985, the company has approximately 85 employees. We are not dependent on brokered labor and use our own crews for our work. TMI Coatings is licensed to do business in 23 states. One-third of our business is municipal sandblasting, rigging, and painting water towers; one-third of our business is flooring, and the remainder is building restoration. TMI Coatings has a new, larger facility in Eagan, Minnesota, which includes a 7,000 sq. foot office, 11,500 sq. foot warehouse, and 4 acre yard. Take a minute to get to know Tracy Gliori and some of the TMI Coatings employees.

Visit TMI's employee page

A Focus On Big Jobs - Profile Entrepreneur: Tracy Gliori

St. Paul Pioneer Press
November 9, 2008
Profile Entrepreneur: Tracy Gliori

Tracy Gliori knew when she was only 11 years old that she would someday have her own business.

Her dad told her so. “He told me in the fifth grade that after I graduated college, he would help me start a business,” Gliori, the co-founder and president of TMI Coatings Inc. recalled. “I don’t remember exactly when and I don’t remember how he said it, but it changed my life forever.” Jim Imre never told his daughter what kind of business to start. But he had his own business doing commercial painting and refinishing jobs that he started in the basement of the family home in White Bear Lake. Gliori assumed her business would be similar. But an early business lesson from her father cast the die on how her business would differ from his. “One day he was telling me the differences between a business where you sell a lot of small items and try to make a little money off of each one or where you sell a few big items,” Gliori said. The fifth-grader decided she liked big. So after graduating from the College of St. Thomas in 1985 with a degree in business, Gliori and her dad started TMI Coatings, and she decided to super-size it. Her company would tackle industrial jobs and a wide variety of them. Eagan-based TMI has done everything from sandblasting and painting water towers to refurbishing the Mill City Flour sign at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. Even its indoor painting jobs are beefy. The company doesn’t do offices, Gliori explains, instead focusing on big jobs like the Kemps Marigold Foods plant in Farmington. The company pours concrete coatings for pits, dikes and floors so they don’t leak during industrial spills, and it has lined steel tanks that hold chemicals for companies such as 3M, Gliori said. TMI has done a lot of work for agricultural giant Cargill, refinishing grain elevators, she said. A wall of favorite projects at TMI’s offices includes a picture of a grain headhouse where the company did some concrete ! restoration and waterproofing. It even does tuckpointing, the restoration of mortar joints in brick walls. It restored Hamline University’s wall at the entrance to its St. Paul campus. None of her competitors handle the range of projects that TMI does, Gliori said. A competitor might sandblast and paint bridges, she said, but would not also bid for a water tank job. The jobs are gritty. Behind TMI’s offices is a cavernous garage and storage yard where dusty sand haulers and air compressors the size of a small garage are parked. The yard is mostly empty in fall, because that is the busy time when the equipment is out at job sites, and crew are trying to get clients’ work done before winter. Gliori acknowledges she works in a man’s world, noting that most of her company’s approximately 80 employees are men. She recalls that when she went on sales calls years ago, clients would warn her not to wear a skirt or heels because everyone walked around in steel-toed boots and hard hats. But she said she hasn’t encountered discrimination or hostility because she’s a woman, and she found her talent lay in making the sales while her father managed the jobs. Her father dissolved his own business in 1985 when he helped her start TMI as a federally designated “women’s business enterprise,” or WBE. But Gliori said she was quickly disabused of the notion that it would help her company snag easy contracts. “No one calls you and says, ‘Are you a WBE?’ ” Gliori said So she sticks to basics: price and workmanship. The company doesn’t make being a WBE part of its sales pitch. “I’m just not sure it’s an advantage or not,” she said. At St. Jude Medical’s manufacturing plant in Minnetonka, TMI recently finished recoating a floor in a clean room where medical devices are assembled. Steve Thoreson, a facilities engineer, said he’s used the company several times for floor-coating jobs because it has quoted him the lowest cost per square foot “and their work is good.” The company has been profitable since its inception, Gliori said, and this year it’s projecting sales of $11.2 million, making it midsized in its industry, she said. Since 90 percent of TMI’s work is maintenance, it has been insulated from the halt in new construction, Gliori said, but the slumping economy poses a challenge. “We are finding the same number of opportunities to bid on for work, however, to be profitable, we have to work with the field (staff) to get the job done as efficiently as possible,” Gliori said. Gliori’s dad, mom, brother and sister have all been involved in her business at some point, but now it’s just her. In 1996, her father died in a motorcycle accident. Gliori said it left a hole in her life that still aches. So far it doesn’t appear that her own daughters, now 11 and 12, will carry on the family tradition. In fact, her older daughter brought up the subject a couple of years ago. “I told her not to worry about it,” Gliori said. But  just in case they change their minds, she made them the same offer her dad gave her.

TMI Coatings Named Top 25 Women Owned Business for 2010

TMI Coatings has been honored as one of the top 25 Women Owned Businesses in Minnesota for 2010 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. This is the fourth consecutive year that Tracy Gliori, President, and her staff have been recognized with this award.

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