My experience in the coatings industry began in 1971 when I went to work in a large factory that supplied zinc die-cast and plastic parts to the automotive industry. After a few weeks of working in the trim department I was assigned to a job in the paint department. Spray painting was not my career choice but it was good work and it paid well.

My plans were to get an education in architecture and start a career someday. You may have heard the line, “Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans.” What an accurate statement that is!

A few years later I was hired by a shop that did metal fabrication and custom coating work. This was going to be a summer job to pay the bills while I contemplated my next move. After a few months of working in the shop I was asked to accept an office position. Shortly after I accepted the position my boss asked me to join American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers (AESF). I did that and began attending meetings to learn more about the industry and get to know the people who were part of the coatings world. Then a customer suggested that I join Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI), and I did.

What I discovered is that the associations provided the best possible way to keep informed and build a valuable network of contacts. I attended every meeting and trade show I could to keep up with the industry. No single factor has contributed more to the progress in my career. The knowledge and professional contacts gained from participation in these programs and trade shows has been an important key to the development of my career.

This year, October 28-30, 2003, there will be another show to attend. Coatings 2003 in Indianapolis is the third semiannual event that is co-sponsored by 10 industry associations. Virtually every kind of coating process available to industry is represented in educational sessions and displays. The value of this experience cannot be measured.

Let me put it this way:

Car miles or plane ticket 30 to $350

Hotel $100

Meals $50

Fees 20 to $275

Thousands of industry peers sharing technical information and personal experiences related to coatings in one place: priceless!

I estimate that this will be my 35th career trade show. Certainly, they were not all as interesting as this one promises to be, but I would not have missed any of them. I have never attended a show without learning something or making a new and valuable contact. With all of the exhibits and programs, there is something for everyone. With global competition more fierce than ever before, we need to find new ways to be efficient and effective at our jobs. I cannot think of a better way to do that than attending an event that is specifically designed for that purpose. I will be there for that purpose and I hope to see you there.