A Conversation With ... Ken Kreeger
Retired, Nordson Corp.
Ken Kreeger has been a major player in the powder coating industry going on five decades with his career with Nordson Corp. Now retired, Kreeger first began working in the powder coating industry in 1974, and he joined the Powder Coating Institute in 1983. Throughout his many years as a speaker at technical conferences, major trade shows and numerous PCI technical training workshops, Kreeger was instrumental in educating and mentoring countless PCI members and powder coating professionals. Kreeger’s technical authority was also key to the development of the Powder Coating Handbook, a highly-regarded industry resource manual used around the world, which he continues to contribute to regularly. He was honored with a Powder Coating Institute Hall of Fame Award this past summer.
You were recently honored with a Powder Coating Institute (PCI) Hall of Fame Award at the 2010 PCI Annual Meeting. How did that make you feel?
K.K: I am honored to be among the previous inductees that I have joined as a member of the PCI Hall Of Fame. I worked hard for 40 years in powder coating, and appreciate being recognized for my efforts.
You recently retired from Nordson. How are you keeping busy these days?
K.K: My grandchildren live close and we enjoy spending time with them. We have taken trips as a family in the states and internationally. I am still under contract with Nordson Corp., which keeps me involved with the industry. I am still the Nordson representative on the Board of Directors of PCI.
You became a member of PCI in 1983 and had been a fervent ambassador for the powder coating industry. How has it changed over the years, and what do you see in the future for the industry?
K.K: When I began in the industry, customers did not know much about powder coating. Today’s customers are more educated about powder coating. When I first started in this industry we began with powder coating systems with 1–2 colors in a day. Technology has come a long way, and today we are spraying anywhere from 10–100 colors in a day.
What got you into the powder coating industry more than four decades ago? What had you done previously?
K.K: I was a service man for Nordson Corporation, and at that time we serviced all products Nordson made – adhesive, liquid, and the newest business - the one known as powder coating in the early 70’s. I took a real interest in the powder coating process. I was the first Nordson Corporation powder installer.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you ever received, and the most memorable personal advice?
K.K: For professional advice: The harder you work the luckier you get. For personal advice: The customer is always your number one priority. If you take care of your customers, there will be success.
And what advice would you give a new college graduate just getting started in the business world about making it 40 years in the same industry?
K.K: Find a job that you enjoy doing every day. In my years at Nordson I enjoyed what I was doing, and it was not a chore to go to work. The 40 years went by quickly because I was doing what I loved to do.
How can you calculate the cost of powder coating a component if you only know its surface area? Powder coating expert Rodger Talbert has the answer.
Powder coating is one of the most durable finishes that can be applied to industrial manufactured products, and offers excellent corrosion protection and is very safe because of its lack of volatile organic compounds.
Metal fabricators that laser-cut with oxygen take steps to prepare parts better for powder coating.