Success Stories

M&E Painting / Loveland, CO

Certified Healthy Workplace™ Leader

Family culture at M&E Painting


There is a Spanish coffee machine in the breakroom. It’s not being used at this very moment, neither is the high-end massage chair in the corner, because most of the employees are in a free jiu jitsu class on their lunch break. One employee is not in the office today, taking advantage of their unlimited vacation days to be with their family. Another has taken time to go for their annual well check at their doctor’s office.

Are you in the office of a downtown tech start-up? Or possibly a progressive corporation with a large employee benefits budget?

Not exactly. You are in the office of M&E Painting in Loveland, CO.

M&E Painting offers house painting services to customers in Northern Colorado and has one part-time and eight full-time employees. Its office feels a little homier than you expected because M&E is more of a family than a business. “We know our employees and we work together, but we are more like a family,” says M&E Painting Founder Matt Shoup. “We want to make sure that everyone is taken care of in every aspect of their lives, from their finances to their health to their home life.” 

This family perspective has shaped not only the culture at M&E Painting but has driven the company’s health and safety policies and benefits. While the Spanish coffee machine and free, on-site jiu jitsu studio membership may be exotic, the rarest thing that M&E Painting offers employees is its benefits. “It’s rare for a construction company to offer full medical, dental, and vision benefits like ours,” says Danielle Scarzello, Marketing Director.

“We are also a tobacco-free workplace, which is especially rare," adds Danielle. "We offer unlimited sick and vacation days because we understand that life happens. Sometimes you can't say you need just one week off, sometimes it's a question mark. So, we try to be as accommodating and flexible for our staff as we can.”

People first

Consistent with most of Health Links’ Healthy Workplaces, M&E Painting’s employee-focused culture begins with its leadership. “Matt does a really good job setting the tone for our company. We don't start with business first, we start with people first,” says Danielle. “We check in with each other before the start of our weekly meetings and it's a chance for us to be honest about how we’re really doing.”

“There's physical health and then there's mental health, and it is really important to me as the leader of the company to check in with employees about their mental health to whatever degree they’re comfortable sharing,” says Matt. Matt knows that his employees can sniff out insincerity from a mile away, so this concern for their personal lives cannot be faked. “We're not just doing it for show, we really care,” he adds.

Since the COVID pandemic hit, M&E Painting’s workplace culture of honesty and support has been essential. When schools shut down, employees often brought their children in to do remote schoolwork from the office and employees have relied on the flexible schedule to navigate the many other challenges of the last year.

M&E Painting has been part of the Health Links Healthy Workplace Network since 2017. Out of all the many benefits Health Links members receive, Danielle appreciates the advising sessions and free resources (such as webinars) that Health Links offers. “I’m always looking for more information and resources I can share with our team,” says Danielle. “I especially love the mental health resources. Mental health is very important, especially within our industry. Work overload can be a real problem, especially when we get into our busy season. We know that it impacts our project managers.”

M&E Painting has spent considerable time forming great communications among its team so that when leadership shares mental health or other health-related resources, they are well-received. The company extends these resources to its site crews and subcontractors, as well as offers safety trainings.

Recognized and inspired

Since working with Health Links, M&E Painting has been able to integrate all of the offerings it provides employees into an official, attractive benefits package. It was only fitting that in October 2020, M&E Painting received the Integration Award at Health Links’ annual award ceremony, Celebrating Colorado’s Healthiest Places to Work.

“It's so nice to know that the things you are implementing are being recognized,” says Danielle. “It’s motivating because while you are being recognized for your accomplishments, you see all the other winners and the things that they're implementing in their companies and organizations.”

“Out of a lot of the awards that you can win as a business for revenue and growth, the majority of them feel empty,” adds Matt. “What matters is how you are taking care of your people. The Health Links award aligns with that priority, so it was a huge honor for us to win.”

For companies looking to create a family culture like M&E Painting, Danielle suggests that they begin from wherever they can. “You can start small and can always build up from there,” she says. “What matters most is forward momentum and thinking progressively about how you can make your workplace better.” 

Watch M&E Painting’s 2020 award video here.


Written by Laura Veith, marketing & communications coordinator at Health Links and the Center for Health, Work & Environment based at the Colorado School of Public Health.

The M&E Painting team

Team outing

Crew safety