I was so pleased to read about the recent career day hosted by The Sherwin-Williams Company, in conjunction with the TH Hilson Company, and Cabot Corp. On February 7, 59 Chicago State University science students were treated to a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the technical coatings lab and paint manufacturing plant located at Sherwin-Williams’ South Chicago facility. The students also learned about the synergy of business between raw material suppliers, distributors and paint manufacturers. In addition, current employees interacted with the science majors regarding career requirements, responsibilities, and local and global opportunities. The event’s purpose was to identify potential recruits for the coatings industry and be supportive of the next generation of scientists.

In an innovative partnership, Sherwin-Williams and its suppliers are teaming with the university to develop a chemistry curriculum that will customize academic training for the next generation of professionals in the coatings industry. In addition, students will be eligible for internships and full-time employment opportunities at the paint company and its suppliers.

Lori Hilson Cioromski, President of TH Hilson, has actually been very involved over the past year in organizing events designed to teach both high school and college students more about the opportunities that a career in chemistry can offer. Her hope is to engage other specialty chemical distributors and customers to bring a real-life experience to young people through the education system and to attract bright minds to the chemical industry. And since the career day at Sherwin-Williams, several other coatings manufacturers and suppliers have asked to partner with her on similar projects.

I applaud these companies in reaching out to the next generation of scientists. As the baby boomer generation enters its retirement years, it is so important to recruit, teach and inspire the next group of chemists and business leaders for this industry.

On a side note, many of us will be heading to Nuremberg later this month for the European Coatings Show. I look forward to seeing you there. Please be sure to stop by PCI’s booth, 9-150, to say hello and share your ideas on how we can better serve you. For information about the show, as well as a preview of what many exhibitors will be showcasing, see pages 22-26 of this issue.