Milford business provides a second chance to people formerly incarcerated

American Dry Stripping and Powder Coating offers professional dry abrasive blasting services, powder coating and high-temperature ceramic coating for cars and trucks.

News 12 Staff

Feb 4, 2023, 5:38 PM

Updated 498 days ago

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A Milford business owner tells News 12 Connecticut his company grew during the pandemic, in part because his employees are people who have been incarcerated.
American Dry Stripping and Powder Coating offers professional dry abrasive blasting services, powder coating and high-temperature ceramic coating for cars and trucks.
The business also restores items made from iron, such as radiators and patio furniture.
Owner Roger Van Brussel credits his company's success to the talent and hard work of his employees, some of whom have served time.
"I just love what I do and I've been doing it for so long," says 46-year-old Jose Maldonado, of Bridgeport. "I'm the best at what I do. I don't think nobody can top me."
Maldonado says so many doors have opened for him in life thanks to his job. He has worked for the company for 25 years, says it was a rocky road that led him there.
"It was tough for me growing up with nothing, which led to me selling drugs to try and make ends meet," he recalls.
Maldonado thanks 77-year-old Van Brussel for taking a chance on him, even though he had a criminal record.
"Most people that I've met that are coming out of prison are willing to change. They just don't have somebody to push them to change," Maldonado says.
Van Brussel says his whole business is based on one very simple idea: Taking something damaged and restoring it.
"When you see the beginning product, which is kind of destroyed and old and rusted, and then we finish it and its like brand new," he explains. "It's almost like a phoenix, from rusty and old to new and resurrected."
Maldonado says he is grateful that Van Brussel's company is doing the same for returning citizens like him.
"You surround yourself with good people and you become good people," he adds.
Maldonado adds he hopes the example his boss sets will inspire other business owners to take a chance on people with criminal records.


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