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Honoring Finishing’s Teachers, Lecturers and Mentors

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New Inductees into Finishing Hall of Fame Shared Expertise

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When Arthur Brace was just a young man of 16 in 1939, he took a job as a laboratory assistant at a foundry that made gun turrets during World War II in his native England. His supervisor wanted to warn him against the dangers of the sodium that was used in some of the alloys, especially when it contacted water.

Brace’s son, Geoff, recalls that his father told him that the foreman took a pair on tongs, removed a fist-sized lump of sodium from its storage in a barrel of oil and, standing on a second floor fire escape, threw it into the adjacent canal.

“Some time later, after a spectacular fireworks display, the new recruits all understood the danger,” Geoff Brace says, still laughing at the story his father told him just before he passed away at age 93 in 2017.

Maybe it was the pyrotechnics or just a fascination with finishing, but Dr. Brace went on to have a long and storied career in aluminum anodizing that earned him the nickname, ‘The Father of Anodizing’ by many of his colleagues and peers. That’s what happens when you write three well-read books on the topic: Anodic Coating Defects, The Technology of Anodizing Aluminium and Hard Anodizing of Aluminium.

For his career efforts, Dr. Brace has been elected to the Finishing Hall of Fame by an industry panel of his peers, along with eight others who have unselfishly served the surface finishing and coatings community.

The 2019 class offers yet another example of all that is great about the finishing industry. This year’s class is filled with individuals who may not have invented a process or patented new technology, but they endeared themselves to others by serving as leaders and advocates of the industry, even when it didn’t serve them personally or financially.

Besides Dr. Brace, this year’s class includes Frank Altmayer, Ken Kreeger, Marc LeBaron, Ray Lucas, Joseph Manzoli, Jerry Poll, William Safranek and Don Snyder. They were chosen based on voting by an industry panel of 15 veterans who know the sacrifice and efforts each gave to the finishing industry.

I’ve met a few of these gentlemen and others I have heard so much about. The people who nominated them gave solid reasons why their distinguished careers deserved to be recognized, and I am so glad they are getting their due, even though many of them have been honored numerous times by the plating and liquid/powder coating industry.
The biggest common denominator among these honorees is that they shared their ideas and thoughts with so many in the industries they served. They were lecturers, teachers, writers, mentors and leaders. They didn’t hold back when it came to sharing their expertise with others, and traveled the country (usually on their dime) to give back to the industry which they loved.

Altmayer has taught so many the finer points of electroplating as an instructor for the NASF certification program, and before that as a lab owner. Kreeger served five decades in the powder coating industry on numerous committees and lecturing. LeBaron traveled the country as the head of the plating association, visiting shops and gathering ideas to lead the industry. Lucas is a stalwart in the plating field, serving on national and local boards, and presenting on the best practices anywhere he could. Manzoli hails from Canada, and has brought prestige and innovation to the powder coating market that has yet to be matched. Safranek was one of the greatest technical minds in plating, writing dozens of papers and presenting research to anyone who would listen. Snyder was a true industry leader and researcher, who also loved speaking to groups about the technical aspects of the finishing world.

Poll is someone who has become near and dear to my heart. He was the editor of Products Finishing from 1954 until retiring in 1992, and even then he still helped out in a pinch. When I took this job, I heard from a lot of people about the kind of person Jerry was, and how I had big shoes to fill, even though many editors had followed him before I got to sit in this chair. What I learned about Jerry from others—he is way too modest to toot his own horn—was his dedication to surface finishing; how he backed great ideas that helped the industry; and gave strong support through the pages of Products Finishing and by serving on numerous committees and ad hoc groups.

Honoring these people is one of the joys of the job. The fact that we get to honor Jerry makes it even better, since he is such an honorable, decent and genuine person.

Visit PFonline.com and check out our Finishing Hall of Fame pages to read about these individuals who we have been inducting and honoring since 2014. If you make a living in this industry, then you owe a debt of gratitude to them for giving their time and expertise to grow the industry and make it more prosperous for all of us.