40-Under-40: Class of 2019
The Class of 2019 for the Products Finishing 40-Under-40 leadership group has a vast array of experiences and training, but one thing appears to remains constant through all of those selected: the pursuit of excellence in surface finishing.
This year’s class includes chemists, engineers, professors, business development managers, general managers, quality control specialists and company presidents. They were all nominated for their accomplishments so far, and also for their potential contribution in the future.
Coatings Engineering Specialist, BRP US
In just over two years, Akriti Agarwal has made a major impact as a coatings engineering specialist in the Evinrude Outboard Division of BRP U.S. Her work has been one of the major factors that has allowed BRP to offer an industry-leading, 5-year nondeclining corrosion warranty on its Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboard engines. As part of the manufacturing engineering team, Agarwal has led major improvements in BRP's surface treatment, electrocoat and liquid paint lines to provide boaters with a world-class marine product. She has been responsible for multimillion-dollar capital investments, as well as day-to-day problem-solving and process improvement. Prior to coming to BRP, Agarwal worked as a manufacturing design engineer for Apple in Cupertino, California.
Technical Process Engineer, Precision Finishing
Jeffrey Bell entered the finishing industry in 2013, working on the shop floor as a machine operator until transitioning to a process development role in Precision’s development lab. There, he worked to overhaul process workflows and introduce cloud computing and digitization to a then 63-year-old company. Now, Bell leads the accelerated surface finishing program and spearheads many critical finishing projects at their two subcontract finishing facilities. Bell has played a critical role in the construction of Precision’s new headquarters, process diversification and the onboarding of new technologies. He says he is proud to continue the finishing tradition in his family, alongside his cousin, father and uncle, and in memory of his late grandfather who founded the business.
Director of Quality and Engineering, AeroDynamics
Upon Emerson Bilodeau’s arrival at AeroDynamics two years ago, it was clear he was the missing link the company needed to grow. After graduating with an engineering degree from Cornell University, he worked in materials engineering for a few years before coming to AeroDynamics as a process engineer, and was quickly promoted to his current role. As a leader, Bilodeau is calm, level-headed and encourages his employees to think critically. He has played a integral part in several large-scale projects and has spearheaded efforts toward merit Nadcap accreditation, enhanced cybersecurity and automation. His employers say Bilodeau has a deep desire to solve inefficiencies and bottlenecks, and uses an analytical approach to increase quality, throughput and profitability.
Technical Manager, Silvex
Todd Canedy has been involved in the plating industry since 2004, coming to Silvex with a degree in ecology and environmental science from the University of Maine. He has grown during the subsequent years, earning his master’s degree at Husson University and his CEF certification from AESF in 2013. Canedy has helped develop numerous plating and anodizing processes for Silvex, and is currently leading research and development for new technologies to help them maintain an industry edge and the ability to offer new finishing techniques and technologies across a broad spectrum of industries, including defense, aerospace, energy production and water purification.
Technical Service Manager, Coventya
Adam Colburn began working for Coventya in 2011 as an R&D chemist and, with nearly 1 ½ years of previous instrumental experience working for an external laboratory, he was able to become the materials scientist for them. As the company made significant investments in instrumentation in recent years, he has overseen and managed the requests for analyses from customers, ranging from routine to in-depth troubleshooting and failure analysis. Colburn transitioned to technical service manager for electroless nickel and functional technology in 2016, and became a key interface between the laboratory and customers when helping troubleshoot issues with chemistry, as well as investigating defective plated parts. He has also trained new personnel in each department to help support customer requests, and provide valuable reports as quickly as possible.
Gloria Da Ros
Gloria Da Ros came to the United States from Italy eight years ago when she was 28 years old and a third-generation owner in order to start the U.S. branch of Tecnoplast. A DVS-certified plastic welder, Da Ros arrived with no employees, no equipment, no facility and just one customer. Her father and grandfather started the company in Italy in 1969. “I literally grew up in this business,” she says. “Tecnoplast’s workshop was my playground since our home was on top of the company.” Now the company has 20 employees, high-tech equipment and a 50,000-square-foot facility in Indiana where Da Ros and her brother, Ronnie, have expanded the business. The company has grown between 10% to 20% each year, and now has its own engineering offices, operations department and sales team. “I am very passionate about my job,” she says. “I have put together a great team in the U.S. and that is really what makes the difference.
Chemist and Business Development Manager, Chemeon Surface Technology
Shay Davis has been with Chemeon since 2016, and is an Army veteran and former crew chief on UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters stationed in South Korea and the U.S., with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and experience in oil/gas, automotive and aerospace industries. Davis has forged new business in Chemeon Consulting Services and on-site training of anodizing and chemfilm classes, and represents the company at military conferences in the U.S. and Europe. She has a chemistry degree from Wheeling Jesuit University and is regarded as a subject matter expert in trivalent chrome for the aerospace and metal finishing industries.
Lina De La Cruz
Vice President of Operations, Control Electropolishing
Lina De La Cruz comes from a long line of women entrepreneurs who have overcome many obstacles to achieve their goals in life. Despite being diagnosed with a learning disability at age 20, De La Cruz has truly become a team player and an excellent manager at her family-owned facility. She wears many hats because it is a small business. She single-handedly developed its sales and marketing department, oversees purchasing and handles the accounts payable side of the accounting module, and also handles payroll/human resources. De La Cruz earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Queens College, and obtained her master’s degree in 2014. She has been a part of the Master’s Association of Metal Finishers of NY/ NJ since 2014 and, in August, was elected president of the association. De La Cruz also advocates for children with learning disabilities, encouraging them that if they set their mind to it, they can visualize it and accomplish it.
Chemical Laboratory Manager, Precision Plating
Dan Detro’s engineering background, along with his initial training in electroplating, has proved very effective in how he troubleshoots issues related to a plating solution. His coworkers say Dan is very systematic, and has instituted various computer programs to help monitor and control the electroplating solutions. Detro graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and since 2010 has worked at Precision Plating Company in Chicago, starting as a plating engineer and moving into the chemical lab as manager. He’s been active in learning how to operate the conventional wastewater pretreatment system at Precision Plating, and will be taking over many of the environmental functions for them in a few years.
EHS Director, Asterion
Safety is not only mentioned prominently in Asterion’s mission statement, it is also identified as one of their core values. Billie Dzunda has been the company’s EHS manager since 2015, and her bosses say she has provided exceptional leadership for their team in ensuring a safe workplace. She graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources and environmental science; and, after becoming well-versed in hazardous waste and transportation regulations on a state and federal level, she arrived at Asterion when they were in the midst of the MSDS-to-SDS conversion. Dzunda is part of the ISO 9001 team, and has worked hard to not only maintain compliance, but also strive for improvement. Asterion management says she understands the industry and the challenges that customers face, and has developed excellent rapport with all of their management and production team, and many of the clients.
Production Manager, Asko Processing
Growing up in Yosemite National Park in California, Fred Elchlepp knew he always wanted to be a scientist. After graduating from Linfield College in Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in biology, he got his start in electroplating at Advanced Circuits in Colorado where he supervised the plating department. Elchlepp moved to Seattle, Washington, as the plating department supervisor at Asko before getting promoted to production manager, where company owners say he brings a fresh energy to the shop with innovative ideas and a new approach to his role of managing production. They say Elchlepp is helping them through an extensive growth in their business, and his leadership and overall efforts are helping them reach their goals.
Technical Service/Lab Operations Director, Pavco
Over the past 11 years, Josh Fish has climbed through the ranks of the plating industry as both a supplier and an applicator. After graduating from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, he began his career as a chemist for Atotech USA. He quickly accepted more responsibility by moving into the technical service lab to help internally solve customer issues, and then into the field as a technical service engineer. From there, he advanced into plating management positions at Librandi’s Plating, a decorative job shop in Pennsylvania, and Bolta U.S., a large plating-on-plastic shop in Alabama. In 2018, Fish transitioned back to the supplier side to serve as the director of technical service and lab operations for Pavco. This new challenge allows him to utilize his acquired knowledge from working both inside of plating operations and in technical support to further solidify Pavco’s position in the industry.
Director of Operations, Perfection Industrial Finishing
Toni Gauna has been instrumental in Perfection’s workforce development program, where she brought to light the second chance citizen value as an untapped potential workforce, and has helped Perfection win many grants for this project. One grant was used to bring a network resource coordinator into the facility once a week to work with the team on any issues they have that could possibly take their time and concentration away from the work task, which helps solve problems with child and elder care, car or transportation issues, family counseling, health or dental care, and a litany of other issues. She started working at Perfection seven years ago in an entry-level position, and now has an associate’s degree in applied science, is an accredited lead certified auditor for AS9100 and is OSHA 10 certified. Gauna serves on the board for Women in Manufacturing and the Second Chance Coalition.
General Manager, Steelville Manufacturing
If you walk into Steelville Manufacturing and ask the person changing the media in an abrasive cabinet where the general manager is, chances are you’ve just met him. Robby Harris is a hands-on manager or, as his coworkers call him, the “working manager.” Harris began his career in finishing in 2010 at Ozark Mountain Technologies and, in 2013, moved to Steelville to be an inspector. He says he is ‘lucky enough’ to become processing general manager and be “part of building something extraordinary, and working with some amazing and talented people” in a company that has successfully passed several Nadcap and AS9100 audits. Steelville is now constructing an 82,000-square-foot facility, so the success of Harris and his team is very evident.
Sales Consultant, Coral Chemical
Luis Hernandez has been in the finishing industry on both sides of the fence, starting as an engineer supporting a large OEM powder coating department and then as a general manager for a large job shop. He now supports the western states areas with sales and service for Coral, and is on the CCAI Las Vegas chapter board of directors. Hernandez has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and his Coral bosses say he is dedicated to his customers and the industry, going above and beyond to ensure customers are supported both during and after hours. He is very active with CCAI in both Nevada and California, and always volunteers his time to help out with both CCAI chapters, including winning the supplier of the year award for Las Vegas and helping at the SoCal Toys for Tots golf tournament. Hernandez’s calm attitude, detail-oriented work and professionalism sets a great example
of what young people in the industry should strive to be.
Account Manager, JIT Powder Coating
Brian Hofmeister started at JIT in 2009 as a shipping/receiving clerk, and moved on to roles as a customer advocate and in sales and marketing. Each step of the way, he has been a quick learner and shown the ability to be an excellent problem solver. Hofmeister is responsible for more than $3 million in customer sales, and last year added two key accounts that brought in nearly $450,000 in annualized sales for JIT. This included engineering new production racks and fixtures; working out a packaging plan; and creating a production schedule to guarantee a five-day turnaround time. He is attending Rasmussen College adult education to complete his business degree, and JIT says is he expected to take a senior management role in the company.
General Manager, Estanadora
Francisco Hornelas has been in the finishing business for 10 years, and is a Certified Electroplating Finisher. Since taking control of the family-owned company five years ago, Estanadora has been growing every year and achieved Products Finishing’s Top Shop award status for two years. While it is said that 50% of family companies don’t survive to the third-generation transition, in Estanadora’s case, Hornelas has them growing faster and bigger than ever before. He is one of the founding members of the Mexican Surface Finishing Association and part of the directors
’ board. “I’m an industrial engineer for my own choice and general manager of the family business for pleasure,” he says. “I love to work in this industry and really enjoy my job. I’m sure I have a lot more to give and learn in this industry.”
Technical Service Chemist, MicroCare
Learning is Venesia Hurtubise’s passion. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and forensics from the University of New Haven and her master of research in green chemistry from Imperial College in London, publishing her first research article in 2014. Hurtubise found her perfect fit at MicroCare where she serves double duty as a customer sales representative and technical chemist. She manages technical projects and R&D in the lab. She also conducts technical service in the field and assists with regulatory compliance projects. Hurtubise is described by her peers as a student and a teacher, one who is always willing to learn and share her knowledge. She is continuing her education at the University of Connecticut School of Law in pursuit of her Juris Doctor.
Application Lab Manager, Kyzen
Chelsea Jewell is the application lab manager at Kyzen, where she develops and evaluates cleaning products for the metal finishing industry. In her seven years with the company, she has earned several awards, including contributor of the year and rookie of the year. In 2019, she became application lab manager and is the first woman to hold that title at Kyzen. Utilizing her award-winning skills, Jewell has developed three successful products and implemented numerous processes used around the world for precision parts cleaning. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and enjoys her time in the lab. “Sometimes change and innovation will cause a problem with cleaning,” she says. “But that’s what I enjoy the most: fixing those problems.”
S SME Surface Finishing, Apple
In her current role, she is directly responsible for developing and scaling to extremely high volume, a vast array of exacting colors and reliable finishes that enable the user to enjoy their product in extreme environments. Her recent contributions enabled Apple to deliver the aluminum enclosures for iPhone 10R in six beautiful colors and the Apple Watch Series 4. Prior contributions in this role include the first-generation iPAD Air/Pro and iPhone 8/8S. Her journey to this role began in 2008 when she was recruited by Apple at MIT’s on-campus recruitment, for her first full-time job. Over the span of 11 years at Apple, she has proven excellence in both quality and process engineering roles across multiple product platforms, such as iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac Portables, Apple Watch and Accessories. She came to the United States in 2006 from Mumbai, India, to pursue her master’s degree in manufacturing at MIT and create a successful life for herself in a new world. Outside of Apple, she is a wife to an equally accomplished husband and mother to a 4-year-old girl.
Engineering Manager/Vice President, Advanced Plating Technologies
James Lindstedt started at family-owned Advanced Plating Technologies (APT) in the early 2000s, first in the environmental department and later in the maintenance department. He is a graduate of the University of WisconsinMadison with a bachelor's degree in engineering. He enlisted in the Navy and served on active duty for five years, deploying to the Persian Gulf with the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. Lindstedt returned to the APT engineering department in 2015, later moving on to the role of production manager and, most recently, engineering manager, where he is responsible for process development, tooling and fixturing design, and structural fabrication. He is passionate about approaching industry challenges with sound design and utilizing new technologies, such as 3D printing for rapid prototyping.
Plant Manager, Douglas Corporation
In 2009, Paul Madden graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and no knowledge of the finishing industry. He answered a newspaper ad for a laboratory manager position at ECO Finishing in Minneapolis, and worked in technical sales and as technical director. Madden was hired in 2016 as corporate EHS director for Douglas Corporation and began to learn plating-on-plastic for the automotive industry, and was promoted to plant manager of the plating division. Madden is vice president of the NASF Minnesota Chapter.
Customer Service Director, Black Oxide Industries
Having a metal finishing bloodline, Jackie Mata is following the footsteps of her father and grandfather, but a previous career in public relations and marketing assisted her growth in the finishing field. A Biola University Graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in biblical studies, she is learning about the job shop metal finishing industry and understands the importance of Nadcap accreditation and servicing customers. Mata’s marketing background is helping the business grow by sharing technical sales information to an untapped market, and her positive demeanor and personality have won the hearts of existing customers as well as new ones. She is involved with production scheduling, quality control, planning, and learning more about chemical processes as they relate to the customer base.
Powder Coating Manager, A.M. Metal Finishing
Colin Mirenna worked part-time for three years at A.M. Metal Finishing while attending the Motorcycle Mechanics Institut. He moved to full-time and attended the Gema Powder Coating School, as well as several wet finishing and anodizing seminars. Mirenna has helped AMMF achieve Products Finishing's Top Shop status in plating and powder coating three years in a row. Company owners say he has a broad education in many different metal finishes, and he installed a new hydro-dipping system that they use in conjunction with their powder coating line. As a new manager, they say Mirenna is a roll-up-your-sleeves leader, and has passed along his knowledge to the powder coaters and finishers who work under him through example and formal classroom training.
Business Development Manager, Serfilco
Melissa Mitchell joined Serfilco in 2013 and is now a technical applications specialist focused on business development. She has worked with global electroplaters and anodizers in North, Central and South America, providing customer service and technical advice. She has written technical articles on pumped eductor agitation; sponsored several technical courses throughout Mexico; and organized and attended several trade shows in many locations throughout the Americas. Mitchell says she is committed to helping customers achieve their business, environmental and developmental goals.
Director of Sales and Marketing, All Metals Processing
Matthew Moore understands his customers’ needs from his experience in all parts of the supply chain. With over 12 years of experience in aerospace machining, forming, forging and metal finishing, he has been successful in engineering, operations, finance and sales roles. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech, and his master's degree from Pepperdine University. Moore is relentless in his pursuit of delivering results and takes pride in his work. He has a passion for working with customers and developing relationships. The main driver of his success has been his focus on the customer, analysis of their problems, and delivering solutions to their challenging technical or supply chain issues.
Business Development Manager, Calvary Industries
Austin Morelock wears many different hats, including sales and account management, marketing, talent acquisition, international expansion and serving as a liaison between field representatives and the office. With his father as company president , he grew up spending summers working in Calvary’s maintenance department. After several years of cleaning toilets and sweeping floors, he was promoted to chemical blending. A graduate of Emory University, he started his sales career with Groupon in Chicago, then took an outside sales job with Calvary and based in Dallas. Several years ago, he moved back near the Calvary offices and has been working alongside management staff, who he credits as mentors.
President, Triple Cities Metal Finishing
Trevor Morgan graduated from Le Moyne College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and began his career in public accounting in North Carolina. After two years, he joined Triple Cities Metal Finishing and has worked to grow TCMF by creating a team environment and focusing on efficiencies and first pass yield. He pushes TCMF to be on the forefront of technology and use the most environmentally friendly chemicals possible. Morgan was promoted to vice president in 2014, and was named president this year. Outside of work, he spends as much time as possible with his wife Becca and his four children. Trevor is extremely competitive, loves all sports, and his favorite pastime is wake surfing with his family.
CEO, Master Finish
Aaron Mulder has been in the plating industry for just over five years, but he came to the family-owned Master Finish with an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University and worked 10 years in the automotive industry where he designed wiring harnesses and electrical support systems for many automotive suppliers. His expertise in electronics has been a huge benefit at Master Finish in automating its plating lines and systems, and his efforts have greatly improved uptime, product quality and controls precision. In his new role as CEO, his diligence in system design has led to some vast improvements in the company’s operating systems, making Master Finish truly a leader in metal plating technology.
APQP/Process Engineer, Roy Metal Finishing
John Murphy graduated first in his class at Clemson University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics. He specializes in the development of new technologies and the optimization of processes to meet the ever-changing needs of the automotive and heavy equipment industry. With seven years of experience in the coatings industry, Murphy began his career with a focus on research and development for Zn and ZnNi plating, where he developed multiple proprietary processes. His scope widened as the process engineer over ecoat, which included the implementation of a Class-A initiative. Murphy then transitioned to powder coating, where his team designed and developed the equipment and processes from the ground up. He currently oversees all organic and multicoating applications.
Vice President of Sales, Apex Anodizing
Some of Jamie Olson’s earliest memories come from his father taking him to work on weekends at the plating shop where he worked. Olson says he never wanted to be in any other industry, because surface finishing is just too fascinating. He started at the bottom with Apex Anodizing, racking parts on the night shift and four months later he was on day shift running zinc and nickel lines. Olson started Apex’s quality department in 2006 and moved to sales in 2008.
Business Manager WRC, Atotech
Collin Peters joined Atotech in 2005 after graduating from Carleton University, and has quickly developed a preference and specialty for functional chrome and electroless nickel applications. He is Atotech's North American business manager for wear-resistant coatings, and is an active NASF participant. Peters is a member of the SUR/FIN technical advisory council and the PFAS technical work group, and is looked to as an expert in both electroless nickel and functional chrome both internally and as a respected resource at the applications level.
Physical Sample/ISO Testing Manager, MacDermid Enthone
Kristy Reinhardt has been a critical part of MacDermid Enthone for the past 12 years, and supervises its physical testing laboratories, which determines imperfections in raw parts or processed ones through several tests. Reinhardt’s ability to identify and report the root cause of failure assists in capturing new business, and helps maintain strong relationships with current customers. A former college hockey player, Kristy spends her time away from the lab as an avid fan and youth girls’ coach.
Quality Manager, Freedom Metal Finishing
J.D. Renner’s hard work ethic, resilience and determination have contributed greatly to his success. He began a career in the aerospace industry in 2002 as a quality inspector at Hohman Plating in Dayton, Ohio, and worked his way up to his position at Freedom. Renner has successfully completed more than 200 audits from Nadcap, AS9100, ISO, TS, medical and nuclear requirements. Recently, he developed a curriculum to help people battling addiction recovery, anxiety, depression and PTSD, using his background in mixed martial arts.
Region Sales Manager, Process Technology
Tony Riley joined Process Technology in 2018 with its acquisition of power supply manufacturer Dynatronix, and has extensive experience in the application of power supplies for the surface finishing industry. As a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, he found his way into the finishing industry in 2014. His knowledge of the industry, combined with the ability and high energy to learn products quickly while understanding customers’ needs, makes Riley an asset to his company and customers.
Technical Support, Columbia Chemical
Stephen Roberts is known for his strong analytical mindset and common-sense approach to solving customer problems. His work includes troubleshooting and analysis of plating baths, and providing technical lab support. Well respected for his capabilities, his two most significant accomplishments include help with training and installations of decorative plating in foreign markets and overseeing Columbia’s C.A.R. audit program to ensure established quality standards are met to benefit OEM and Tier 1 suppliers. Roberts earned a bachelor’s degree from Butler University and a master’s degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of South Carolina; and is an active member of OAMF and NASF.
Director of Communications, TrueLogic Company
After receiving a finance degree, Ellen Sellers spent the first six years of her working life in the financial world before joining TrueLogic in 2017. Transitioning to the metal finishing industry appeared to be quite daunting at first, but she quickly learned the industry is much more of a community than the world of finance. Being so warmly received has made her feel welcome, which has been instrumental in establishing roots. She has added significant value to her organization by proactively engaging existing customers with tools and tips to help them continue to strive and achieve continual process improvement. Her strong work ethic, cheerful nature and customer-focused attitude is quickly recognized by those who work with her.
Process Engineer, Hohman Plating
Adam Sokol has been with Hohman Plating since receiving his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton in 2014. During his tenure, he has had engineering responsibility for the company’s zinc plating, phosphate coating and chemical strip operations. Sokol is responsible for process engineering in the aluminum anodizing department, and also oversees the company’s co-op program. His dedication and methodical approach to problem-solving have made him one of Hohman’s go-to technical resources. His skills, combined with his drive for continuous improvement, have allowed him to head up large-scale projects, including the addition of a new wet-processing area, installation of a boric-sulfuric acid anodizing line, and reorganization of the chemical strip department.
Vice President/General Manager, Technical Plating Inc.
Tyler Thomas has been with Technical Plating Inc. (TPI) since 2013. After starting out racking parts, he quickly grasped the plating processes and now oversees daily operations. At 23 years old, he became the vice president and general manager, a role in which he oversees company finances, certifications, procurement, sales and customer service, as well as being active with the NASF. In his time with TPI, he has led the tasks of achieving ISO9001, 14001, and 13485 certifications, and played a key role in obtaining new customers. Thomas is an Eagle Scout and studied management at the University of Tampa, and finance and accounting management at Northeastern University.
Veronique Vitry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Université de Mons
Véronique Vitry is a unique person who has contributed significantly to the research and application aspects of electrodeposition for various end uses. She earned a bachelor's degree in materials engineering from the Université de Mons (UMONS) and a doctorate in 2010 from the same institution. Vitry is a senior tenured scientist and part-time associate professor at the metallurgy lab of UMONS. Her research interests have always been related to surface treatment: first PVD coatings at Materia Nova, Mons; then electroless nickel-boron and now PEO. She’s submitted a patent for a lead-free, nickel-boron plating bath, but she’s also interested in physical metallurgy, process metallurgy, recycling and corrosion. She teaches process-related classes in metallurgy and materials, and is active in professional associations, including ASM International, the Failure Analysis Society and A3TS (the French Heat and Surface Treatments Association) where she serves as vice chairperson.