A Conversation With ... David Wentworth, Paint Pockets

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David Wentworth is the VP of Marketing for Paint Pockets, the single-stage overspray arrestor company in Omaha, Neb. But in reality, David is a roaring Lion, as in a leader in the Lions Club International, the largest service club organization in the world. He’s a member of the Millard Lions Club in Omaha, and has been a facilitator at two Great Plains Lions Leadership Institutes. He is a recipient of three International President’s Award, a Melvin Jones Fellow and a life member of the Nebraska Lions Foundation. When he’s not out selling Paint Pockets and saving the world through the Lions Club, he can be found at home with wife, Valerie, and daughters Jessica and Tiffany (in the photo at right with David) … and playing on his men’s over-45 baseball team, which recently played in the national World Series in Phoenix.
What’s your thought on the changes that the EPA 6H rules have brought to the coating industry?
DW: My experience is that it has brought to the forefront the importance of the efficiency of one’s spray booth filters. We have fielded questions from those who are not covered by this regulation as to their need to meet the new EPA standard. Our standard response is that today you do not need to meet the standard, but our opinion is that this standard will become the norm across all industries that have spray booths. I also believe that the standard is set too low [at the current 98 percent efficiency]. If the EPA is trying to protect the environment, simply increasing the standard to 99 percent would reduce emissions by an additional 50 percent.
What are customers asking about most: cost-savings or green technology?
DW: Everyone wants to be friendly to the environment, but when push comes to shove it is cost savings that drive a company’s decision to buy or not buy a product. The downturn in the economy the past three years has been a spark for sales growth for Paint Pockets. Companies are now looking at every possible cost savings option more than when times were good.
Your company has really embraced social networks like Facebook and Twitter. How are you using those resources, and how has that approach helped you?
DW: We have found that Facebook and Twitter are a way of getting in front of the younger finishers in our industry. New painters and paint line managers are more likely to be on Facebook or Twitter. When they see our filters on these social media sites they have asked their current employer about using our filters because we offer a free trial. It helps to supplement our advertising by reaching more people with this new way to market toward the up and coming in our industry.
You have been very active in the Lions Club in Nebraska, and have received several national awards for your involvement with the group. Tell us why this organization appeals to you.
DW: I have been a Lion for 20 years now. My best friend asked me to join his club when I moved to Omaha, and I thought this would be a good way to get to know people in the community. I was asked to be president of the club fairly quickly, and from there rose through many different leadership roles within the organization. My focus has been on leadership development within the organization. One of the things I am most proud of is serving as Sight First II Chair. Worldwide we raised $250 million to combat blindness, and 80 percent of all blindness in the world is preventable. Through this effort, Lions Clubs will have eradicated river blindness in South America by the end of 2012. To date we have saved the sight of 27 million people.
What’s the best professional or personal advice you’ve received and from whom?
DW: I would have to say that my dad gave me the best advice on how to succeed in what I do. I once made the mistake of calling my dad a salesman because I thought that was what he did. He corrected me and said that a salesman is only concerned with the sale and his commission. I am serviceman. I provide a valuable service to the people and companies I visit. I assist to solve their problems. I am a part of their team. And I have taken this to heart when dealing with our distributors. My main focus is to help them grow their businesses and in turn that increases our market share at Paint Pockets.