A Conversation With ... John Martin, PPG


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PPG’s John Martin isn’t the father of electrocoating, but he did win the award named for the man who is credited with coming up with the idea. Martin won the George E.F. Brewer award from the Electrocoating Association in 2008 for his lifetime of innovations, and this year he heads the trade group as its president. John began his career with PPG in 1970 as a chemist in the industrial electrocoat group, and throughout the 1980s he was instrumental in creating innovative equipment designs for electrocoat application. He has been involved with the Electrocoat Association since its inception and has been an active member of the Electrocoat Conference Steering Committee since the 1970s, having been a contributor to every Electrocoat Conference since that time.
Q: What are your agenda and goals as the new president of the Electrocoating Association?
JM: Our vision is to be the leading authority dedicated to improving the business of our members in the electrocoat industry, and our mission is to drive e-coat growth by providing access to information, education and networking with industry leaders. It is my goal to insure that we continue to improve upon this mission in the coming years. One of our more significant programs for us over the next several months is to promote the upcoming ECOAT 2012 Conference in Orlando April 11-12. It is the premier event for anyone interested in electrocoat to learn, network and stay current with trends in the industry.
Q: Why is it important for ecoaters and suppliers to get involved in the Electrocoating Association?
JM: The Electrocoat Association is the primary source of information and networking for this industry. Its members include captive finishers, custom coaters and suppliers of equipment, paint and chemicals. The association provides a significant avenue for access to the latest technology and trends in the industry from all of its member suppliers.
Q: What’s the current status of the e-coat industry? What direction is it headed, and what changes lie ahead?
JM: Electrocoat has long been a benchmark for a cost-effective, high-performance coating for metal. Besides finding new applications for this technology every year, there will be continued demands for systems with lower capital investment, lower operating costs and more compact processes; single-coat as opposed to multiple coat systems; and systems that are more environmentally friendly, and have lower energy usage and reduced waste.
Q: How did you get your start in the world of materials finishing?
JM: After college, I was fortunate to start my career as a development chemist during the very early years of electrocoat in 1970, and have been able to remain in this industry ever since.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice or nugget of wisdom you’ve received on a professional basis?
JM: “Find something that you truly enjoy doing and then find a way to make a living doing it.”
Q: What book have you recently finished that you would recommend to a friend or colleague?
JM: Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath, Gallup … strategies for applying your strengths.
Q: What CD or station is playing in your car?
JM: Bruce Springsteen … I have always enjoyed his music or anything from the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s. Does this give away my age?