A Conversation with … Jack Humble, President, Reliant Aluminum Products
If ever a man fit his name, it would be Jack Humble, the president of Reliant Aluminum Products since 2008.
If ever a man fit his name, it would be Jack Humble. The president of Reliant Aluminum Products since 2008, he is a quiet, respectful Southern gentleman who plays in several bands. Humble’s High Point, North Carolina company is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Clariant products for aluminum finishing. We caught up with Jack in between practice sessions with several other bluegrass musicians.
PF: What was your career path prior to Reliant Aluminum Products?
JH: After my service in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, I worked as a shift dyer in the carpet industry while going to school at night to study marketing. My fascination with color chemistry effects on carpet and the economic advantages of continuous dyed carpet resulted in a technical trade magazine and speaking engagements. This led to several positions in product management, sales management and other marketing functions with a global dye and chemical manufacturer. After 21 years, I formed my own small business in partnership with a German dye company. In 2001, I merged that business with a family-owned company that specializes in color chemistry and was appointed president. In 2008, we formed Reliant Aluminum Products to become the exclusive North American marketing arm and technical support group for Clariant aluminum products.
PF: Reliant continually introduces new products and innovative process improvements. As president, what is the secret to driving new innovation in your company?
JH: In conjunction with Clariant, we’re constantly looking for new ideas to enhance the market appeal of anodized aluminum. We are very fortunate to have highly talented and experienced technical and sales staffs who share a common-sense approach to address the needs of anodizers. We also realize the importance of an active involvement in trade organizations to stay abreast of the latest developments affecting the science and business of anodized aluminum.
PF: You’ve mentioned that the future possibilities of new finishes for the construction industry may include anti-soiling technology to help purify the air, as well as resistance to acids, alkalis and oxidative environments. How close is the industry to this technology?
JH: Alcoa Architectural Products is currently developing “green” products that could break down pollutants like smog and convert them to simple compounds that wash away in the rain. We’re closely monitoring this technology to align our product selection with these new processes. While not primarily for the construction industry, there are new technologies that are designed to increase resistance to acids, alkalis and oxidation. We’ve identified a selection of dyes that can withstand fading and discoloration from the new Sterrad system which uses hydrogen peroxide gas plasma technology to sterilize medical devices. Most recently, we’ve introduced an entirely new line of Clariant metal-free dyes that are NSF certified for food-zone applications.
PF: Reliant has a program to educate OEMs about the advantages of anodized aluminum compared with other coating applications. What feedback do you get from those OEMs?
JH: We’ve been well received by manufacturers. They understand that using anodized aluminum in their products lends an upscale appearance compared to plastics and other lightweight materials. For green manufacturers, anodized aluminum is especially appealing because its life cycle is relatively benign to the environment, and it’s much easier to recycle compared to other metal finishing processes.
PF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, either personally or professionally, and who gave it to you?
JH: Above all, my parents taught me to base my life on faith and family. I’ve learned to always be punctual, respectful and caring to others, and to face life’s challenges without fear, judgment or excuses.
PF: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
JH: During my high school and early college years, I had a paper route, cleaned out horse barns, worked for a roofing company, worked at a grocery store and played with a rock band on weekends. What I learned from all this is the importance of parents, teachers and mentors who provide the necessary building blocks for success and accountability throughout life, personally and in business.
PF: What was your first car, and what is your dream car?
JH: My parents never drove, so I bought a 1954 Chevrolet for $50 with money I earned after school. That car used more oil than gas, so I would buy used motor oil in Mason fruit jars. Fortunately, I had an older brother who was a great mechanic and who helped me fix the engine. My dream car is one that will get me from point A to point B without running out of oil.
Get to know Jack
Family: Married for 46 years with four married children and 11 grandchildren
Favorite hobbies: Fishing and playing music with several groups from blues to bluegrass gospel.
Favorite movie: Ten Commandments
Favorite book: The Bible
What’s playing in your car CD/radio: Blues, beach music, Beatles, Eric Clapton, country music, soul, classical and bluegrass gospel in memory of my father
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