During his tenure as NPCA chairman, the association negotiated a milestone agreement on behalf of industry with state attorneys general establishing lead exposure warnings, education and training programs signed by 51 state attorneys general and their counterparts in May 2003. The agreement removed the impetus for state-sponsored litigation on the lead-paint issue.
Under Sullivan's guidance, the NPCA also was a leader in establishing the Asbestos Reform Coalition of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, which is actively supporting a measure in Congress, S.1125, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2003. S.1125 sets up a new major federally administered trust fund paid for by industry defendants according to specified tiers based on their asbestos liability exposure, whereby asbestos lawsuits are curtailed in favor of this system.
Sullivan helped RPM become a global leader in specialty coatings that often are in the top position in their respective marketplaces. Sullivan joined his father's company, Republic Powdered Metals, RPM's forerunner, in 1961 as a sales manager. He was president and CEO from 1971 until his retirement in 2002.
During his career, he was named CEO of the decade by Financial World magazine and received a Business Statesman Award from the Harvard Business School Club of Cleveland. In December 2002, he received the Anti-Defamation League's David H. Litter Humanitarian Award, which was established to recognize those who have personified the noblest traditions of the United States and of the ADL.
Also at the annual meeting, eight industry members received the Industry Statesman Award, which recognizes individuals for their long and devoted service to the paint and coatings industry. The following are NPCA's 2003 Industry Statesman Award recipients:
Michael Bauer, Tnemec Co.'s senior vice president of technical and regulatory affairs
Eric DeLoach, retired business director for coatings at Eastman Chemical Co.
George DiAmico, retired in December 2000 from Aexcel Corp. as senior vice president
Louis Ruckgaber, who had been president of Egyptian Lacquer Manufacturing Co., and is a former recipient of the George Baugh Heckel Award. He passed away September 24 in Columbia, TN, after a battle with cancer.
Robert Taylor, president and CEO of Global Coatings Consultants LLC
Francois Vleugels, chief administrative officer of Resolution Nederland B.V.
Lawrence Wigdor, executive vice president and COO of NL Industries, and CEO, president and COO of both Rheox and Kronos, NL subsidiaries
John Williams, retired executive vice president of Bayer Corp., and president of its coatings and colorants division
NPCA also honored three individuals with Industry Achievement Awards. They are:
Ron Hilovsky, of PPG Industries, chair of NPCA's Automotive Refinish Coatings Coalition
Kent Raabe, chairman of Raabe Corp. and NPCA's Coatings Care Committee for the last two years
P. Kelly Tompkins, vice president and general counsel of RPM Inc. and chairman of NPCA's Corporate Counsels Advisory Council