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Dear Centennials…Welcome to the brilliant art and science of the paint and coating application world!  In an optimistic effort to be positive, we are reserving the nickname designation for a later date in hope that it will be a great one. The Millennials earned the “slacker generation” title by largely avoiding the trades, living in basements and becoming coffee and clothes folding experts.

Many white hairs are leaving or counting the days down to holstering the brush. The next ten years will be an enormous transition for the greater construction industry and it will become even more difficult to preserve craftsmanship. The Millennials never embraced making and fixing with their hands in consequential numbers. Unless there is a sudden surge of twenty-somethings joining the Brothers of the Brush, the next group up is the Centennials.

Here at PPT, we were one of the first to sound the worker shortage alarm (5+ years ago). It was easy to see from the confluence of the everyone go to college or be a loser mentality (which was wrong to say the least) and the vacancy of young people not showing up.

One sign that spelled trouble: Some national retail chains implemented a call-in protocol for workers. Before going to work, the system required a call-in within an hour of a shift starting. This nutbag concept was designed to weed out no-shows and those lacking work ethic. Managers overbooked shifts and waited to see who consistently called in and showed up. Never mind trying to satisfy customers or maintain deadlines, imagine running projects like that? Maybe stop giving out participation trophies and coddling young people would allow the next generation to develop enough coping skills to lead productive professional lives?

It looks like the choice will be old guys, entitled slackers or newbies; the time has come where it will be necessary to recruit the best of the bunch. No more newspaper classified ads…consider where to find good people at How to Hire the Next Generation of Professionals.

The labor shortage will put pressure on wages and craftsmen will start to get long, overdue raises. With payroll and material costs increasing, will the labor to materials ratio every go back to 90/10? Most likely not…unless the project type involves a substantial amount of preparation. For the greater portion of application, the material ratio will vary from 15 to 30 percent…conceivably higher for blow and go jobs. Professionals will be investing in product and depending on performance more and more as materials cost climb and products become more technologically advanced and specialized. Check out Why Paint Quality Matters.

In the News there are two videos showing previously reported product introductions: Ultra Spec SCUFF-X from Benjamin Moore and Graco’s Fine Finish Low Pressure Tips. According to BM, SCUFF-X is available in gallons and five-gallon pails in more than 3,500 colors and three finishes: Matte, Eggshell and Satin.

PPG Paints has jumped out front of what was the fall color prediction sweepstakes and picked the “in” color for 2018: Black Flame. Apparently, the color was unanimously selected by PPG’s more than 20 color stylists from around the world, who specialize in industries such as consumer electronics, architectural, automotive and aerospace. According to Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager, “It’s a fantastic blend of black and indigo, two classic hues. Black creates the silence we crave in an information-heavy world, while the indigo offers possibility and a deep hopefulness. The blend of two colors makes it incredibly versatile…”

Color sells product and projects: from gadgets to buildings to cars knowing what palette is most likely to get customers’ attention will increase sales. Whether you are a color trend watcher or not the prediction season is shifting towards summer, rather than fall.

Krud Kutter, a line of cleaning products from Rust-Oleum, a RPM International brand, has been chosen as a 2017 Safer Choice Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Safer Choice Award recognizes manufacturers who have furthered the safer chemistry and safer product goals set by the EPA.

Rust-Oleum rolls out new roof coating program: The line includes silicone, white elastomeric, aluminum and black roof coatings. Each has strong warranties and industry certifications that exceed expectations. Additionally, the program includes patch & repair products for roofs which are easy to use and available in a wide variety of sizes.

Sherwin-Williams announced the winners of its seventh annual Student Design Challenge. According to SW, hundreds of original designs were submitted in the residential and commercial categories. In other SW news, we feature a video clip about Emerald, an innovative premium product line.

Training and craftsmanship performance must be part and parcel of everyday…The next time someone says they do not have the time to show an apprentice or less experienced worker a best practice, it is a moment to consider tying wages to whole team improvement. Plus, if the person is grouchy and/or prefers to work alone maybe they should go to work elsewhere…teams of good people accomplish great things!

Please send comments and corrections to

Mark Casale, Editor