Painting Pro Times, the source for paint professionals!

Most of us can cite our favorite sports star or actor. Likewise, we keep a mental file of the greatest plays or best movies. These exercises require knowing a little history, some internal prioritizing and maybe the occasional verbal debate. What about work? Ever consider industry innovations and accomplishments?

In this issue there is an Origins of Craftsmanship feature, The American Paint Timeline, which demonstrates some of the most important industry achievements in US history. One fun fact to recognize is that many of the early innovators were Master Painters. These leaders not only swung a brush, they made their own product. It was in colonial times that Master Painters started it all. Think about the first paint brand in the world, the first trade association, the original spray pump and so on.

Is your work a safety first business? If the answer is a yes without the real stuff, training and updates, then in reality, associate well being and professionalism is not the number one priority. Safety first may cost money, however it is a wise investment. It starts at the top; ownership must commit and back up the words with a financial commitment. In addition to helping manage injury and even the death risk for colleagues, safe operations have lower customer property liability, since project scopes are performed in a more organized and professional manner; damage is less likely to occur.

Whether you need improvement or already work safe, check out Create a Safety Culture to consider upgrading operations. We have known for years that the number one reason for associate turnover is not a slightly lower wage. Good and fair people want to work for ethical businesses that value the individual. Simply giving associates a raise does not automatically engage real exchange.

Effective leaders leverage individual capacity and it begins with recognizing colleagues as whole people and their production as an ongoing valuable practice. Action precedes accomplishment. When individuals work cooperatively the action rises to an achievement in process. Company management should NOT find fault in individuals. The approach should be upgraded to coaching (not bossing). We should make positive sandwiches; complement the good, suggest improvement options, restate the common (company goal) and part with another praise phrase.

Like safety, the concept of servant leadership starts with the owners. The focus must always be based on company/group success, not individuals; not supervisors or foreman; and certainly not managers or non-field people. As the labor force continues to tighten, the need to manage diverse personalities will increase. By no means should any professional business maintain non-performers or super problematic achievers; it may be best to seek a balance of good people willing to embrace a team effort.

Every lineup has coaches, captains, stars and position players. Company success depends on each individual putting forth an honest and sincere attempt at working within a system to satisfy customers by performing professional paint and coating application, as well as the required related scope.

Maybe the place to start is with the idea that every organization, big or small, benefits from improvement. There are easy and low cost ways to demonstrate to associates that ownership cares and the ship sails best when everyone is fed well. Read Associate Appreciation to consider some efficient ways to advance the team.

In the News, PPG is all paint now. There was a time when glass ruled at the Pittsburgh based giant. The final divesture has been made with the sale of the fiberglass business. PPG is now comprised of two coatings-focused reportable business segments: Industrial Coatings and Performance Coatings.

If you have already read the Origins of Craftsmanship column, you may see the natural connection in NACE International’s acquisition of the Master Paint Institute. NACE was started by 11 corrosion engineers, while MPI began with the investment of 9 Canadian union contractors. Each industry group recognized a void and responded with a needed, relevant product.

NACE is by far the largest industry organization (36,000 members worldwide), while MPI is the default specification source for the American military and the General Services Administration, as well as a renowned independent paint product certification company. These are amazing achievements and organizations started from small groups (in MPI’s case, paint contractors); hats off to Barry Law, a consumate professional, and the longtime and tireless MPI leader.

There are a couple of note worthy legal developments to report. The big one: Paint Makers Contest $Billion Dollar Judgment. You may recall the landmark ruling in the California lead paint case. In December 2013, Santa Clara based Judge Kleinberg tentatively ruled that Sherwin-Williams, ConAgra and NL Industries should pay a $1.1 billion judgment. The judge dismissed claims against two other defendants, Atlantic Richfield Co. and DuPont Co. The original lawsuit was filed in 2,000 and 7 of 8 eight similar cases brought in other states found in favor of the paint companies.

At the appeal, Sherwin-Williams argued that lead-based paint is only one potential source of the toxin. Up to 85 percent of lead found in individuals comes from gas pollution, they argued. In addition, SW pointed out that the plaintiffs never identified the specific homes at issue, and as a result there’s no way of knowing which company is purportedly responsible for the lead paint in the various homes across the state. SW further argued had the company had “nothing to do” with lead paint after 1947 and the risks of lead use were unclear until decades later.

The appeal was heard by a three judge panel that will issue a ruling at a later date. PPT will monitor and report.

In other legal News, it appears that four manufacturers painted themselves into the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) corner. The issue revolves around the paint makers’ “green” claims. The FTC cited Benjamin Moore & Co, ICP Construction (California & Muralo are their consumer brands), YOLO Colorhouse and Imperial Paints (Lullaby Paints and ECOS Paints) for advertising products as “emission-free or containing zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including during and immediately after application.”

The proposed FTC order directs the companies to publish “clear and conspicuous disclosures” that their paints are not emission- and/or VOC-free. The FTC asserted that any express or implied claims that a product contains “low” or “zero” VOCs, or is safe as a result of the absence of certain chemicals, must be backed by reliable testing.

Here at PPT we have stated our favorite three paint and coating application inventions (Application Innovation).  Each breakthrough has changed the craftsman’s life for the better: premixed paints, the spray pump and acrylic resins. Of the three, PPT crowned Mr. Binks’ spray pump invention as king; partly because pumps actually bring a measure of joy to application and partly because we like the fact that a Master Painter (a person from the field) made history by figuring out a better way to get the job done.

Thanks for reading Painting Pro Times!

Please send comments and corrections to

Mark Casale, Editor

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