The Work We Do

In a time when so many are coping with loss, Products Finishing editor-in-chief Scott Francis takes time to reflect on the importance of hard work and the bigger picture within the finishing community.
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It’s a peaceful, snowy morning as I sit down to write this column. I am stricken by the power of nature and the momentary stillness in spite of all of the excitement humans create for themselves. The undisturbed beauty doesn’t last long. Soon, folks are out shoveling driveways, so eager to summon back the urgency of their routines. In the back of my mind, I know my inbox is stuffed to the gills. A look out the window reminds me that nature doesn’t give a hoot, and there’s something comforting in that.

This month in the midst of all the rat racing that humans have managed to ferret out of a time with less travel and more time at home, I find myself often thinking about the meaningfulness people find in their lives. Almost every week my publisher calls me to let me know about someone he knows in the industry who has passed away. The pandemic, of course, has made this kind of saddening news more acute. I find myself reflecting on what’s important about the work we do and the professional relationships that occupy such a large part of our lives.

In this month’s issue, we celebrate the appointment of incoming NASF president Jeff Brassard. I spoke with Jeff about his experiences in the industry. He told me about the companies he had worked for and some of the things he accomplished, of course, but he also spoke a lot about the people he met and who had helped him throughout his career. He talked about the sense of community of the association — the approachability of its board members and their willingness to help those in the industry.

You’ll also read about how George Koch Sons worked on a new powder coating line in the middle of the COVID lockdown to help meet an increasing demand for recreational equipment. You’ll read about companies working to roll out new innovations, expand their services and find the best solutions to problems.

“You couldn’t walk 10 feet without someone calling his name or Jerry stopping to chat with old friends,” says PF publisher Todd Luciano of Poll’s popularity at industry events.

In February, Products Finishing learned of the passing of Jerry Poll, former editor and publisher for the magazine. The tributes to Jerry shared by those who worked with him tell the story of hard work, friendships, integrity and a life well lived.

As I think about Jerry’s influence on the brand and our industry, I think about the dedication and care of the editors who came before me and our publication’s place in the finishing community. Every issue of Products Finishing tells stories of an industry and its comings and goings. But ultimately at the heart of all of these stories, be they about new business ventures or new technologies, are its people. The work all of us do contributes to a bigger picture. Conversations I’ve had with various companies, partners and colleagues are a reminder that no one has it easy and there will always be challenges, obstacles and missteps. But what’s more important is how we react — how we rise to the occasion, help each other and carry forward.