A Conversation with … Dave Roach, Peninsula Metal Finishing
The owner of Peninsula Metal Finishing in Orlando has nearly 50 years in the finishing business, and was also awarded the NASF Award of Merit at the 2014 Sur/Fin conference.
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Dave Roach is owner of Peninsula Metal Finishing in Orlando and an international distributor for Flo King, an in-tank filtration system for metal finishing. His nearly 50 years in the business are impressive, and he is also very involved in the Florida chapter of the Finishers Corp. He was also awarded the NASF Award of Merit at the 2014 Sur/Fin conference.
You received an Award of Merit from the NASF at this past year’s Sur/Fin conference. How did it feel to be recognized by your industry?
DR: I was honored but do not know who nominated or why. To be honest, I do not feel I have done anything special. I have always been involved with AES/AESF, now Florida Finishers Corp./ NASF. Two other Orlando finishing people and I started the Orlando branch of AES in 1973-74, gathering 34 finishers as our founding group. Art Pierdon, AES President in 1975-76, presented our Charter. At that meeting, one of our members suggested Orlando as a location for AES headquarters. AES moved to Orlando a few months later. Now, I am having fun with the Florida Finishers Corp and our annual Winter Conference. It is a labor of love not recognition.
How did you get your start in the finishing industry?
DR: I needed a job after college and started with Sanfax’s small metal treating chemical sales division of that large chemical manufacturer in Atlanta, not having any prior knowledge of metal finishing. I spent three years with Sanfax, followed by three years with Enthone, both in customer service lab and metal finishing chemical-equipment sales. In 1973, I transitioned to run a job shop plating plant in Orlando, Fl. Working in those previous positions, allowed me to develop the theoretical knowledge but I had never actually run a production plaiting line. As general manager of that large job shop, it was sink or swim. After a good solid year of trial and error and finding out the “experienced platers” knew nothing of the theory, only personal experience of “trial and error” (the common training method for platers), I embarked on a course of continuous education for myself and my employees.
You are recognized as one of the foremost anodizing experts. What’s the secret to being a good anodizer?
DR: I have had the good fortune to meet and work with many real anodize (and plating) experts but certainly do not put myself in their category. I have been involved in most types of plating and anodize but do not consider myself an expert in either. I am a constant student as there is always something to learn and that is what has kept me interested in this industry for 48 years. I took the AES Electroplating Course and CEF Exam in Orlando in the mid 1970’s but it was while taking a Total Quality Management Course in the early 1990’s, that the light bulb came on for me. I began employing the principles of Phillip B. Crosby’s Total Quality Management books, in our plating shop: keeping all parameters in process control, training and empowering employees and teaching them how to work together as a team. That saved a large contract with which we were having huge difficulties – same equipment, same chemistry, same employees, same parts, just a different management approach. I had the pleasure to meet and have Phillip B. Crosby sign my copies of his books. My experience in anodizing has been to engineer the equipment properly then keep every parameter in process control at all times. Most chemistries have a finite life and need to be changed based on strict and frequent anodize/dying/sealing quality testing to determine recharge frequency rather than only relying on solution titration. We monitor and document production volume through each chemical tank and have developed dump frequencies for each tank, based on quality experiences. Our operators check the pH, temperatures and visual appearance of all their operating solutions before starting production every morning. They know they have the authority and responsibility to not start or to shut down production if they are not satisfied.
What leadership traits have helped you along the way?
DR: I believe that positive attitude, thirst for knowledge and desire to share knowledge with customers, employees and peers has helped me immensely
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
DR: My grandparents, parents, coaches, teachers and pastors have all combined in their advise to: “ Work hard, play your best, love deeply and happiness will follow.”
When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
DR: Fighter pilot and aeronautical engineer. I always looked up (and still do) whenever a plane flew overhead. I figured knowing how the plane was designed and built would be good knowledge for a pilot. I did achieve my Private Pilot’s license in 1994.
Night owl or early bird?
DR: I am an early bird. Watching the sunrise is my favorite time of day, a renewal of spirit.
Favorite place you’ve ever lived?
DR: I am partial to both Florida, lived here since 1970, and Colorado, attended school there and return for vacations and skiing. These two states offer the two beautiful extremes in weather and landscape that appeal to me.
What organization or company aside from your own do you most admire?
DR: Working for Enthone in the early 1970’s. I made friends with many extremely talented people, some gone now, others with whom I still have contact. I continue to benefit from the experiences from Enthone chemistries, technologies and personnel both in our plating shop, Peninsula Metal Finishing and with international contacts as the International distributor for Flo King.
If you could trade jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be?
DR: A fighter jock flying an F-35 Lightning II
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday?
DR: On the water fishing or in the woods hunting.
Family Members: Becky, wife of 48 years; daughter Cindy (business partner in Flo King International, Inc); daughter Rebecca Ann; daughter Diana; six grand children,10 to 21 years of age 3 girls, 3 boys,
Favorite hobby: Hunting/fishing
Favorite movie: Christmas Vacation; family tradition for laughs – we even use some of the dialogue year round. Humor is necessary in life
Favorite book: Call of the Wild
What’s playing in your car CD/radio: Toby Keith “Shockin” Y’all”