Top Shops: Walters Grows Progressive Coating
Progressive Coating is a Chicago-based company that CEO Stephen Walters bought eight years ago. Despite a difficult economy, Walters’ business grew 35 percent in each of the last four years.
Having just added the company’s fourth production line, Walters has high hopes for expanding and turning Progressive Coating into a formidable enterprise, one which easily cracked Products Finishing’s Top Shops list.
Walters graduated from college in 1997 with a degree in fine arts and painting. When he finished school, he says the family business wasn’t in his career plans.
“I had no interest in the coating business, but my dad kept asking me to join him following college. After spending time at the business, I found I really enjoyed the work,” he says.
Until this year, Walters’ father and uncle still ran the same finishing company Walters' great grandfather started in the 1920s. Walters learned the business from the bottom up and after nine years decided to branch out on his own.