Ashburn College Students Find House Painting a Learning Experience

By Patrick Szabo

Now that spring is officially here, it’s time to start thinking about breaking out the tools, or the checkbook, for home improvement projects.

If you live in Ashburn and it’s painting you’re in need of, there’s a pair of college students that might be right for the job. Clay Rosales, 19, and Nick Federovitch, 18, manage the two College Works Painting branches in Ashburn. Freshmen at James Madison University, the two travel home each weekend just to paint homes.

The duo landed their CWP jobs at the beginning of the school year after filling out forms inquiring about their high school GPAs, intended majors and any previous leadership experience. Once selected, they went through a series of interviews.

“They interviewed about 500 [people] at JMU and they chose 32 of us,” Federovitch said.

Rosales and Federovitch now manage the two CWP branches in Ashburn. Since Rosales attended Briar Woods High School, he manages projects south of Ashburn Farm Parkway. Federovitch manages those to the north, since he attended Broad Run High School.

Rosales and Federovitch carpool home from JMU almost every weekend during the school year to manage their branches and paint homes. With exteriors to paint in the warmer months and interiors to paint year-round, there’s always a project on the table.

“Managing a house-painting business at 18, it’s kind of hard but rewarding when you’re a freshman in college,” Federovitch said.

Before they joined CWP, the two had no experience painting houses. According to Rosales, CWP chose them because of their potential and work ethic.

“A lot of the job is training,” he said. “We go through weekends of training where we learn the specific stuff.”

Aside from the painting aspect of the job, finding clients also requires some effort. Although Rosales and Federovitch use tactics such as posting flyers in public places, it’s the direct contact at a customer’s front door that gets them the most business.

“What we do is, we’re hustling,” Federovitch said. “We’re going door-to-door in a lot of neighborhoods.”

Once they find clients, they head out to give an estimate on the project.

“We give free estimates and it usually takes around an hour and a half to two hours,” Rosales said. “We use industry standards to come up with an accurate price.”

Founded in 1993, CWP advertises itself as an internship that provides college students with an opportunity to build a competitive résumé and gain marketable skills by teaching them how to manage their own painting business.

According to its website, CWP operates in 35 states and hires more than 2,000 college students to paint more than 10,000 homes each year.

While their post-college plans don’t involve painting, Rosales and Federovitch intend to make the best of their current managerial jobs.

“This internship is kind of just a great experience,” Rosales said. “Not a lot of college students get to say they ran a business when they were 18.”

Rosales is determined to use his experience at CWP, as well as his intelligence analysis major, to open his own consulting business after he graduates.

Not dissimilarly, Federovitch is also taking full advantage of his role at CWP.

“I’m treating it as an awesome summer internship, getting all this great business experience,” he said. “I have plenty of dream jobs out there, but I just want to be able to travel and work for a big company when I’m older.”

The two plan to work full time in Ashburn this summer as CWP branch managers.

For further information on CWP, go to

Leave a Reply