A Conversation with Kevin Coursin, Powder Coating Institute

Kevin Coursin, longtime member of the industrial finishing industry, was named executive director of the Powder Coating Institute (PCI) earlier this year.


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In February, Kevin Coursin was named executive director of the Powder Coating Institute (PCI), replacing Trena Benson, who retired at the end of 2019. Kevin is a longtime member of the industrial finishing industry, has experience in powder coating and has served in leadership roles with PCI, the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI) and the Porcelain Enamel Institute. He most recently served as chairman of the PCI Technical Committee.

powder coating, powder coating industry

Kevin Coursin, executive director of the Powder Coating Institute (PCI)

PF: What is your first priority as you take the lead for the Powder Coating Institute?    

KC: To continue to grow the membership of the association by providing information, training and events that provide value to our industry.

PF: What do you see as some of your biggest challenges in the coming year?

KC: Adapting to new delivery methods to reduce costs and providing messaging to the new, younger members.

PF: Did you grow up wanting to be in the finishing industry or were there other aspirations? 

KC: No, I had wanted to be a manufacturing engineer out of college. However, two years after graduation, I was transferred to the paint shop. I have been in paint ever since. I always tell everyone that “paint chooses you, not the other way around”.

PF: What’s the best piece of advice you were given?

KC: My Dad told me while I was in college that it was better to be able to communicate with others than be a perfect 4.0 student that couldn’t.

PF: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

KC: My first job was as a busboy in a restaurant. I learned that, in order to keep the customers happy, I needed to work together with the waitresses as a team. If they were happy, I earned more tips.

PF: If you had $100,000 to give to a charity, which one would it be?

KC: The Alzheimer’s Association.

PF: What was your first car and what is your dream car?

KC: My first car was a 1962 Rambler that I purchased from my Grandfather. My dream car would be a Lexus LC.

PF: What leadership traits have helped you along the way?

KC: I lead by example and make sure I listen to comments from all before making a decision.

PF: Night owl or early bird?

KC: Definitely an early bird.

PF: Favorite place you’ve ever lived?

KC: McHenry, Illinois. Where I raised my family.

PF: What organization or company, aside from your own, do you most admire?

KC: Apple Inc. because of the way they keep re-inventing themselves.

PF: If you could trade jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be?

KC: The President of the United States – but only for one day!

PF: Where would we find you on a typical Saturday?

KC: Golfing or watching sports on TV.

PF: Best way to keep a competitive edge?

KC: Stay informed by reading trade publications, newspapers and business books.

PF: Who is your personal hero?

KC: My dad who was also an engineer.

PF: How do you motivate people?

KC: By encouraging them, leading by example and offering advice.

PF: How do you motivate yourself?

KC: I enjoy what I do which easily lends itself to trying to do my best.

PF: If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

KC: To speak Spanish.

PF: What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?

KC: I like to cook.

PF: What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

KC: My first car.

PF: What is your most unique piece of office décor?

KC: Bird carvings that my dad made.

PF: What is the best business decision you ever made?

KC: Taking my first job transfer to lead a team installing a new paint system.

PF: What was your worst business decision?

KC: Working for a small start-up company with no cash to grow.

PF: What do you see as the biggest management myth?

KC: With better ideas, you can change the culture of a company. Change is hard.

PF: What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

KC: Be aware that not all companies are ethical, fair and honest.

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