A Conversation with Pat Gleason, Microfinish

The technical services manager for Microfinish of St. Louis, Missouri, is considered one of the most respected people in the finishing industry and was recognized as an NASF Fellow at its 2018 conference.


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Pat Gleason is the technical services manager for Microfinish of St. Louis, Missouri, and considered one of the most respected people in the finishing industry. He has been a stalwart for the industry for decades, serving on numerous committees and in numerous capacities. Gleason was recognized as a National Association for Surface Finishing Fellow at its 2018 conference for his long service to the industry.

PF: What were your thoughts when you received the NASF Fellow award?
Definitely humbled and honored, with a feeling of not sure I was deserving.

PF: How did you get your start in the finishing industry?
After a tour in Vietnam with the Army and having no clue what I would do next, but having a chemical background, I took a job with Oakite Products selling to the metal finishing industry.

PF: How things are different in the industry now compared to when you first started, both operationally and from a business standpoint?
Operationally, there have been great improvements in automation and chemistry. Seems like customers want more for less money, and finding qualified people is challenging on an ongoing basis.

PF: What’s the best piece of advice you have been given, either personally or professionally?
Be honest and work hard, and success and happiness will find you.

PF: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
Working for my father in his dental lab casting gold crowns and partial plates. I learned to respect my father’s work ethic and became interested in a future in dentistry—only to change my mind after three years of pre-dental in college.

PF: If you had $100,000 to give to a charity, which would it be?
I would probably give it to my sister, who is a nun with the Sisters of Loretto doing medical missionary work in Uganda. It is amazing the work they get done with next to no money.

PF: What was your first car, and what is your dream car?
 A brand-new 1970 Camaro was my first. My dream car has not yet been designed.

PF: What leadership traits have helped you along the way?
To treat people with respect, and be fair and open with them.

PF: When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
If I had a dream for the future, I cannot remember it.

PF: Night owl or early bird?
Early bird.

PF: Favorite place you’ve ever lived?
Where I currently live in St. Louis.

PF: If you could trade jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be?
 The supervisor of St. Louis County.

PF: Where would we find you on a typical Saturday?
 It depends on the Saturday and the weather.

PF: What is the best way to keep a competitive edge?
Continue to learn.

PF: Personal heroes?
World War II veterans.

PF: How do you motivate people?
Listen to them and react to their good ideas.

PF: How do you motivate yourself?
My wife says I wake up motivated, so I am not sure what works.

PF: Three greatest passions?
My Catholic religion, attending sporting events in person or watching on TV, and enjoying time with my wife, especially as we age.

PF: Best business decision?
To leave the sales side of the metal finishing industry and move into the management of a job shop.

PF: Worst business decision?
 I can’t look back, but none that I remember.

PF: What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
Keep on working and stay happy.

PF: What word best describes you?