About Champion

OUR STORY

Founded in 2006, Champion is an industry leader who meets or exceeds safety, performance, and specification requirements for each and every client and project.

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500 of
the best

craft workers and staff

15+
years

of providing specialty services

Ranked #3

by Engineering News-Record 2021

Our team

Our team is loaded with industry-respected professionals and experienced tradesmen across all aspects of the specialty services industry.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

  • Carlos M. Hernandez

    Carlos M. Hernandez

    Chief Executive Officer

    As President of Champion, Carlos Hernandez has grown the company to be a leader in heavy construction, specialty services, road and bridge, and military industries. He and Champion are firmly committed to their mission of delivering high-performance services to the public and private sectors while always maintaining the highest degree of safety, quality, and integrity.

    As president, Hernandez leads efforts in business development and building relationships. He also supports the sales, estimating, project management, staffing, and partnerships activities. Hernandez believes that team members are the backbone of the organization and leans into staff development by ensuring that his teams are well-trained and possess the tools to be successful.

    His interest in construction started at an early age through his father. He took that passion, founded a specialty coatings company, and led the organization prior to purchasing Champion in 2012.

    Before his professional pursuit of construction, Hernandez served in the United States Marine Corps. From there, he led a highly decorated law enforcement career in South Florida that spanned more than a decade. Hernandez holds a bachelor's degree in professional administration from Barry University. He also holds certifications as SSPC Protective Coatings Inspector (PCI) Level 2, SSPC Quality Control Supervisor (QCS), and Florida Department of Transportation Advanced Maintenance of Traffic (MOT).

    Hernandez is an active community member and has lent his support to United Way, the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots, New World School of the Arts, DANCE NOW, Miami Children's Theater, and more.

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  • Kyle Hough

    Kyle Hough

    Chief Operations Officer

    Champion’s Chief Operations Officer Kyle Hough is an industry leader with over 20 years of experience in industrial coatings and construction specialty services. His vision for Champion goes beyond annual revenue, focusing on building a diverse footprint with resources that prioritize the development and well-being of their people. Hough believes in bringing great individuals to the team and has cultivated a culture and environment that values continuous improvement.

    With Hough’s expertise in business, customer growth and solving workforce issues, Champion has successfully expanded to multiple construction specialty services and construction craft companies in a wide range of industries, from power, pharmaceutical, and stadiums, to road & bridge, theme parks, and commercial construction. Hough’s vision has always been the same: develop an exceptional company culture and dedication to the people.

    Hough’s mindset for the growing company has always been to strive for perfection, knowing that it may never be fully achieved, and always aiming to get better. He strives to remain ahead of the industry trends and continues to push the boundaries and go beyond industry-wide expectations.

    After becoming an apprentice with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades at a young age, Hough has worked his way up through the industry’s ranks. He is a true thought leader and has contributed multiple articles to Coatings Pro Magazine and the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings.

    Hough holds an SSPC-certified Level 3 Protective Coatings Inspector (PCI), a C 3 Supervisor/Competent Person, a Protective Coating Specialist (PCS), and a Master Coatings Inspector (MCI).

    When not working, Hough spends time with his wife, and their two adult sons. He also enjoys practicing his lifelong passion of martial arts.

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  • Charles Jeffrey “Jeff” Gibbons

    Charles Jeffrey “Jeff” Gibbons

    Chief Business Development Officer

    Jeff Gibbons, Chief Business Development Officer, leads the Champion Specialty Services division. He is a seasoned construction executive with more than 30 years of experience at all management levels of construction, maintenance, modifications, demolition, and plant upgrades serving the power industry — hydro, fossil, and nuclear, along with other industrial markets.

    Gibbons is involved in strategic planning, presentations, and execution related to sales, marketing, proposal writing, estimating, and contract negotiations. He has experience in industrial business market areas, encompassing conventional power, nuclear power, pulp and paper, chemical, food and beverage, U.S. Department of Defense, and Department of Energy industries. He is also responsible for maintaining and strengthening client relationships and developing new business opportunities.

    A proud Florida State University alumnus, he is a previous winner of the Bechtel Annual Award, issued for being one of the Top 50 Subcontractors in the world. Gibbons is a member of SSPC, NACE, NACE Nuclear, and NRCA. When he’s not championing our capabilities, he enjoys playing golf, working out, and spending time with his wife Shirley and their two adult children.

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  • Jenny Guzman

    Jenny Guzman

    Chief Administrative Officer Champion Corporate

    Chief Administrative Officer

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  • Jim Arnold

    Jim Arnold

    Chief Financial Officer Champion Corporate

    Chief Financial Officer

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  • Duane Hough

    Duane Hough

    President of Champion Industrial

    Duane Hough, President of Champion Industrial, leads our military outreach and has extensive knowledge and experience in project management, scheduling, estimating, negotiations, budget development, strategic planning, and project closeout.

    In his role as vice president, Hough focuses on business development and overseas expansion, as well as oversight of quality assurance.

    We Champion Quality “Our clients expect the highest-quality work, and we deliver. The longevity of the work we do is important to them, and so it’s important to us.”

    Hough is an SSPC certified Level 3 Protective Coatings Inspector (PCI), a Level 2 Bridge Coating Inspector (BCI), a Level 2 Concrete Coating Inspector (CCI), a C 3 Supervisor/Competent Person, a Protective Coating Specialist (PCS), a Master Coatings Inspector (MCI), and a SSPC BCI instructor. He previously served as a project manager/foreman for a large national contractor. In this capacity, he managed scheduling for projects, determined labor requirements, and oversaw team members.

    Prior to joining Champion, Hough served in the United States Marine Corps, where he led, trained, and counseled Marine Corps infantry. A decorated veteran, he has conducted combat and humanitarian operations throughout the world. Hough is husband to Julie and father to four children. Outside of work, he enjoys working with philanthropic organizations such as No Kid Hungry.

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  • Anthony Maracic

    Anthony Maracic

    President of Champion Infrastructure

    Anthony Maracic, President of Champion Specialty Services Infrastructure division, boasts a remarkable career spanning over four decades, with a particular focus on protective coating and paint systems for the structural steel industry. His unwavering dedication to leadership, quality production, and safety is at the core of his role, where he adeptly oversees a diverse team of over 200 professionals engaged in more than 150 global projects. Maracic's leadership philosophy places a strong emphasis on the significance of each team member's contributions, understanding that their collective efforts are pivotal to the company's success.

    Throughout his illustrious career, Maracic has been intimately involved in numerous high-profile projects, including iconic structures such as the George Washington Bridge and the towering 1,776-foot antenna of Manhattan's Freedom Tower. His crowning achievement came with the successful bid and execution of the monumental $168 million Queensboro Bridge project, which was the largest US paint project at the time. Maracic personally managed the estimation process and then directed the entire project to a triumphant conclusion, surpassing the owner's expectations.

    Before joining the Champion team, Maracic honed his skills and amassed extensive experience in the bridge painting industry. He began as an apprentice and gradually ascended to become a partner at a distinguished New York-based contractor, where he laid the foundation for his impressive career.

    Maracic's commitment to his field is not limited to his role at Champion. He is an active member of the Association for Materials Protection and Performance, representing both the former SSPC and NACE. Additionally, he serves as a founding committee chairperson for FOP Ashley's Cure, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing research on Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP).

    Outside of his professional life, Anthony Maracic finds joy in spending time with his wife, Joanne, and cherishes moments with his four daughters, son, and grandson. He also takes pleasure in watching his son excel in collegiate baseball, a testament to his support not only in the business world but also within his family life.

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  • Kelly Powers

    Kelly Powers

    President Champion Nuclear Services

    Kelly Powers has more than 25 years of power & energy industry experience on major construction projects and programs in the government and commercial sectors. He has a proven track record of strong business growth and project/commercial performance.

    Powers attributes his history of success on endeavoring to be a servant leader, always focusing on the needs and support of those for which he is responsible.

    Prior to Champion, Powers worked as a Program Manager for Aircraft Carrier Nuclear Propulsion (joint DoE/DoD program), Corporate Functional Area Manager of Capital Projects for Entergy Nuclear, Vice President of Major Projects for Entergy Services, and President of Williams Industrial Services Group.

    Mr. Powers holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a Masters in Nuclear Engineering earned through Naval Postgraduate training. He also holds Project Management Professional (PMP) and Program Management Professional (PgMP) certifications from the Project Management Institute.

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  • Mat Bryant

    Mat Bryant

    Vice President of Operations Champion Industrial

    Mat Bryant brings more than 20 years of experience in finance, project management, operations, and supply-chain management to the Champion team. His eclectic expertise includes a 20+ year military career in the US Navy and various leadership roles with one of the country’s leading financial institutions.

    Bryant joined Champion Specialty Services in 2018 serving as Operations Director, providing financial oversight, reporting, and planning for all aspects of the company. Throughout his two years in this position, he played a key role in strengthening relationships with financial institutions, insurance providers and surety to ensure adequate resources during a successful period of significant year over year growth. As Vice President of Operations for the industrial division at Champion, Bryant is at the helm of developing and implementing organizational strategies to ensure divisional execution is aligned to corporate goals and objectives.

    A decorated US Navy Commander, Bryant’s two-decade active military career includes deployments to the Caribbean and Mediterranean and service as an Electronic Warfare Officer supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2010, during a six-year break in military service, Bryant obtained a Masters of Business Administration at Arizona State University with a focus in Finance and Supply Chain Management.

    He then began his civilian career with Bank of America where he held various roles in regulatory reporting, program and financial management, and operations during his eight-year stint. Most recently, he leveraged his civilian experience while serving as Comptroller for Fleet Readiness Center Command,, responsible for a $2.3 billion annual operating budget supporting the Naval Aviation Enterprise.

    Bryant is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering. His many accolades include the Meritorious Service Metal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Today, he continues his military service as part of the US Navy Reserves.

    Bryant is married and resides with his family in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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  • Andrew Wieber

    Andrew Wieber

    Vice President of Operations Champion Infrastructure

    Andrew Wieber brings 20 years of experience in project management and engineering within the paint, coatings and contracting industry. He joined Champion as a Project Manager in 2021 under the leadership of Anthony Maracic, President of Champion Infrastructure. In his position as Project Manager, Wieber played a key role in supporting growth and expansion for the Infrastructure division of Champion Specialty Services.

    Now, as Vice President of Operations for Infrastructure, Wieber leads some of Champion’s largest infrastructure projects, while also recruiting and managing a support team for the division. In just two years as part of the Champion team, Wieber has successfully managed notable projects such as a $43 million project at the Bruckner Expressway in the Bronx, a partnership with respected NYC metro area contractor, El Sol Contracting, and an award-nominated project completed alongside Sherwin-Williams.

    Wieber started his career at Ahern Painting Contractors Inc., where he spent a combined 15 years building his acumen in leadership and project management. During his time at Ahern, he worked his way up the ladder from Field Engineer to Project Manager, ultimately managing over $100 million in contracts for the New York-based company.

    Wieber earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management Engineering Technologies from Farmingdale State College in Farmingdale, New York. He continues to live and work in New York, propelling Champion’s projects to new heights.

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  • Rusty Gasser

    Rusty Gasser

    Vice President of Operations Specialty Services

    Rusty Gasser

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Safety

The Champion Safety Program is managed by our team of experts, who continuously work to maintain compliance with environmental conditions, employee training, EPA, OSHA and other appropriate government standards and regulations. Champion is a firm believer that task-based safety assessments, effective communication, specific work controls, and direct worker involvement is paramount in achieving an incident free work environment. As a result of our proven and sustainable safety culture, Champion maintains an exemplary industry safety record.

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