Black (right) shakes hands with New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Bob Black is truly a coatings innovator. He has 10 patents to his credit and has developed many innovative products used around the world. One of his best known coating innovations is G-PRO®, a patented protective coating used to protect against graffiti, UV degradation and water penetration. It can be found on the bridges of New York City, highway sound barriers and overpasses, the soccer stadium at the Sydney Olympics, and numerous landmarks including the Brooklyn Bridge and the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy.

Black is a native New Yorker and a retired high school chemistry teacher who taught at the prestigious Brooklyn Technical High School for 28 years. He has been featured in The New York Times, AIA Magazine, “Good Morning America,” “Dateline,” The Discovery Channel and Forbes. He is the founder and president of Great Barrier Systems, the Chicago-based company that commercializes his technologies. “Our company is dedicated to making our cities cleaner and graffiti-free. Our mission is to clean the environment without harming it. Our graffiti-preventive coatings and graffiti removers are non-hazardous, non-toxic, and biodegradable,” he says.

G-PRO being applied on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Black invented G-PRO after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge for years and feeling outraged that there was no effective solution to keep the work of “graffiti artists” off this beloved national landmark. While working in his lab in New Rochelle, NY, he began with the premise that spray paint is made up of three components: a solvent that evaporates, a pigment, and a glue that holds it on. He began by analyzing the process that makes spray paint adhere to each substrate. “I needed to find a non-hazardous, non-toxic, zero VOC solution. I wanted it to be virtually invisible and resistant to UV discoloration. When I saw that G-PRO was easily applied and removed graffiti easily, I knew we had a winner.”

“I have never met such a talented inventor, who analyzes and solves everyday problems like Bob,”says Great Barrier Systems CEO Yehuda Cohen. “Give him an industry problem that can be solved with chemistry and watch him go!” Black’s patent attorney, Gerald Schur of Welsh & Katz, agrees: “Bob has more inventions than the R&D departments of many of my corporate clients.”

The Brooklyn Bridge, protected by G-PRO.
Jim Russo, former director of New York City Department of Bridge and Arterial Maintenance remarked, ”Three workers can do in one hour what it usually takes nine people seven hours to do with sandblasting equipment. More than anything else, G-PRO saves both labor and labor hours.”

“There is nothing on the market that is remotely as good,” says Charles Ford, chief executive of All Surface Protection in Sydney, Australia, the firm that used G-PRO for the Sydney Olympics. Ford distributes G-PRO in Australia and says business is booming.

His patented G-PRIMER™ product is a new type of primer technology for the residential and commercial paint industry. “You can use our G-PRIMER technology for many purposes,” says Black. “It will heal and restore cracked and flaking paint. You can use it as a primer between latex and alkyd paint. You can use it to prime over high chalk surfaces. It is also a superior waterproofing primer. I have used it on the bottom of my powerboat as a primer between the gel-coat and the anti-fouling bottom paint. After a full season of use in the Atlantic Ocean subjected to speeds up to 40 MPH and salt spray, the coating was intact. After the season, when we wanted to take off the anti-fouling paint residue, instead of sanding, all we had to do was use a high temperature power washer and take off the G-PRIMER and paint. As a non-toxic and zero-VOC product we see a great deal of potential for this product. If G-PRIMER can survive this highly invasive test, we know how durable it will be under normal conditions!”

Mayor Giuliani using G-PRO at Buffensboro Bridge.
When asked when Great Barrier Systems will have G-PRIMER on the market, Black said, “We are currently speaking with several large paint companies who have the brand and distribution capabilities to take the technology to market.” Great Barrier Systems is not a household name, which is fine in the world of commercial and industrial products, but we feel that a company that has a significant consumer and commercial presence will be able to do more with the technology.”

Black is always working on new projects. He has been working with a major fragrance company to develop a pleasant-smelling fragrance that may be added to paint. The fragrance lasts as long as it takes for the waterborne materials to cure. He is also in the final stages of development for a paint additive that radically diminishes the residual smell from fires when repainting is necessary. What will he think of next?

For more information, contact Great Barrier Systems®, 6951 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL 60645; call 773/761.1677 ext. 235; visit; e-mail info@greatbarrier