For 47 years, Burton Doyle Windeknecht has been an icon in the powder coating industry, and for the past 20 years of my powder coating career he has been a “Mentor for the Ages.” Burt will retire from Becker Powder Coatings, Inc. and the powder coating industry on June 30, 2007 and will be greatly missed by many.
According to friend Dale Magre, Burt’s career in the paint industry began in 1960 when, with a broken arm, he signed on with the Jones Dabney paint company. Burt spent four years working in both the industrial and appliance laboratories while at Jones Dabney. In 1968, Celanese purchased Jones Dabney, and shortly thereafter, in 1972, Burt’s career in the powder coating industry began. Burt remained with Celanese until Glidden purchased the powder coatings division of Celanese in 1977, when he moved to Charlotte, NC. Burt’s career in the Glidden Coatings and Resins plant in Charlotte continued until his departure in 1989 to assume the duties of technical director of Becker Powder Coatings, Inc. in Hilliard, OH. While with Glidden, Burt won two technical awards for achievement for his work in the appliance industry and for work in the formulation of coatings for the aluminum extrusion industry. Long-time friend John Park, plant manager for Celanese Powder Coatings (later Glidden), worked with Burt from 1974 until 1987 and notes that “Burt is truly a pioneer in the powder coating industry. Think Maytag, GE, White Westinghouse, Whirlpool and Hardwick Stove - Burt’s technical prowess has influenced these and many of the major powder finishing facilities in the country.”
I first met Burt in 1986 when I joined The Glidden Co. in Charlotte and immediately knew that there was something unique about this man. I quickly observed that he was extremely knowledgeable about many aspects of the industry - a truly accomplished formulator and a creative and innovative thinker. Jan Frick, QC manager for the Valspar Corp., who also worked with Burt at Glidden in the 1980s, observes that “Burt’s color knowledge is revealed in his ability to tell what pigments are needed to match a color. He has the ability to use his eye and memory of pigments in all lights to determine what pigments are required for a particular color.”
But the characteristic that has really differentiated him from others in the industry is the fact that he is a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He has touched the lives of many in this industry with his wisdom and authority, not only with formulation advice, but with guidance on many of the trials and tribulations of life outside of the powder coating trade.
Through the years, I have heard his opinions on everything from the stock market to life insurance, raising kids to automobiles, and, of course, which epoxy resin to use to increase crosslink density while maintaining good cure and other properties. Just about all of his opinions have been well taken and right on the money.
Burt is retiring from our industry after a long and certainly accomplished career in the coatings industry. He will be missed by the many people that he has touched over the past 47 years. Please join me in congratulating Burt on a job well done, and wish him the best as he and his wife, Mary Lee, begin their transition into their retirement.
Becker Powder Coatings’ website is at www.beckerpowderusa.com.