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High Fives for the Surface Finishing Industry

National Surface Finishing Day offered what seems to have been a missing component in our makeshift gatherings over the past year, which is a chance to celebrate together.
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national surface finishing day, finishing industry

Belco Industries used National Surface Finishing Day as an opportunity to recognize its employees. Photo: Belco

Lately, I’ve noticed the days are running together — even more than usual in this odd pandemic environment. Recently, in the midst of some issue planning with my team, I caught myself babbling an incoherent string of instructions and month names  — May, April, March … what story goes where? We all had a good laugh (over Teams, of course) — but, as they say, the struggle is real. A year of working from home and the lack of in-person camaraderie and networking events have taken a toll on us all. The passing of months and seasons seems like just a mush of hours with eating and sleeping crammed in wherever it seems right. I expect — I know — we’re all feeling this. Yet, now that we’re a good year in, I’m feeling it all the more acutely. Perhaps I’ve reached a whole other level of stir crazy. Perhaps the promise of a vaccine and some return to interactions with people is making the itch for normality even worse. 

national surface finishing day, surface finishing industry

Advanced Plating Technologies gave a shout out to the women in manufacturing.

This past month I found a day of respite from that feeling of being in limbo. We celebrated National Surface Finishing Day on March 3. I threw on my very best Products Finishing hoodie and devoted a chunk of my day to participating in the celebrations happening across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I have to admit to being a bit apprehensive about NSFD this year. I was worried that with the need for social distancing and restrictions, shops wouldn’t really be up for opening their doors to the public. However, I guess the time and necessity we’ve all had upping our comfort level with various online platforms helped set the stage for one of our best NSFDs ever. Since its inception, we’ve encouraged the finishing community to share NSFD posts using #NationalSurfaceFinishingDay. I suppose it should not be surprising that folks would take advantage of a social media event in a year like this one, but was certainly exciting to see.

national surface finishing day, surface finishing industry

SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts used the opportunity to explain an encapsulated plating solution.

Companies shared videos of their latest innovations. Shops opened their doors to the public virtually through educational sessions and virtual tours. Finishing operations posted photos of their teams and recognized all of the hard work they put in every day.

national surface finishing day, finishing industry

Bales Metal Surface Solutions hosted an educational webinar and virtual shop tour.

In the days that followed NSFD, I noticed the posts and comments continued. And it wasn’t just the event that continued to resonate — it was the sense of community within the entire surface finishing industry. This year’s National Surface Finishing Day offered a chance for us to all come together and take a minute to see a little bit of what our colleagues in the industry are working on, to maybe learn something new and to give each other a virtual high five. I won’t say it was a substitute for gathering in person at a trade show. And I don’t claim that there haven’t been other opportunities for such interaction. The amount of educational webinars, Zoom meetings and symposiums over the past few months has been proof that we have all taken our use of these online platforms to a whole new level — which is exciting and will serve businesses well in the years to come.

national surface finishing day, surface finishing industry

Axalta took time to recognize its employees.

Yet, what National Surface Finishing Day offered seems to have been a missing component in our makeshift gatherings over the past year, which is a chance to celebrate together. Industry events like SUR/FIN, FABTECH, Powder Coating Week and ECOAT give us the opportunity to not only do business, but to catch up with colleagues and hear first-hand about each other’s challenges and successes. NSFD seemed to give us a bit of that back for a day. There were fun exchanges that might happen in the aisles at a tradeshow, congratulatory remarks for new announcements and celebrations of the surface finishing industry. The event was cathartic and fun — like a good happy hour after a day walking the show floor.

I hope you enjoyed all of the recognitions and activity that occurred across social media on NSFD. For me, it was a reminder of how much the industry has accomplished in a year in spite of obstacles, as well as an encouragement that soon we’ll be able to gather again in person.

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