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The Conflict of Resolutions

We asked several finishers what their resolutions were for 2020, and did we ever get a variety of wishes and goals.
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A few years back, I asked several finishers what their resolutions were for the coming year. It’s always a fresh start for everyone and a new year brings new dreams and hopes, right? Sort of. While some shared with me their personal resolutions — which I’m sure they all broke by the day pitchers and catchers report — a few shared some hint of golden insight.

“Coat more parts,” Cole Scego, president of Select Powder Coating, told me. “Coat fewer of them twice.”

Anyone who has ever had to work on rejects and blemishes can feel Cole’s pain. With that in mind, I asked a few good-natured finishing friends of mind what was on their resolution list for 2020.

Wayne Wallace, president of Augusta Coating and Manufacturing in Georgia, had a fairly serious resolution that we know comes from experience.

“Not to hit another deer on a motorcycle,” he says. Ouch. Wayne is recovering nicely, we hear, down in Georgia.

William Howard Jr., chairman and CEO of Houston Plating and Coatings and whom we feature in our End of the Line segment in this issue, says he has a wish rather than a resolution: “To build stronger relationships with existing customers and identify non-energy industry sources of business.”

Zach Henry, vice president of operations at ChromeTech of Wisconsin, says he is not much of a resolutions guy, but rather is better with small goals because, as a job shop, things can change daily. For 2020, he says a goal is to improve the culture and training at their company.

“With my brother Ross joining the company, he has allowed me to train and step away from having to plate on the line,” Henry says. “We’d also like to keep making the Products Finishing Top Shops list each year. Personally, spend more quality time with my fiancé and puppies.”

Korey Bell, operations manager at Westside Finishing in Massachusetts, says he decided that a resolution for 2020 was to diversify and grow his business through the addition of a chromate conversion coating line.

“It will require me to step outside my comfort zone, the powder coating industry, but I’m up for the challenge,” he says. “Without challenges we stop growing both personally and in business. If we stop growing then what’s the point?”

Scott Andrews, president of Los Angeles-based Andrews Powder Coating, says he and his wife and business partner, Sandee, are always looking at how they “wish our ship to be sailed.”

“Our resolutions are to do more compliance testing and continually become better at our trade,” he says. “Taking on challenges while finding new markets and growing relationships with current customers.”

Greg Marn, general manager of Electrolizing Corporation of Ohio, says his resolution is to “improve the plant,” which he says, in the broadest sense of that simple phrase, is they already have several projects lined up for 2020.

Jaime Maliszewski, president of RPW and Elite Finishing in Milwaukee, says he plans to “continue to grow our company efficiently and profitably so that we can support all of our employees and their families so that they can thrive and continue to better themselves as well.”

Matt Raskin, general manager at Plating Technology in Dayton, says his shop has plans for growing new capabilities in 2020: “My resolution is to respect the past and build the future.”

Brian Zimmerli, vice president at Plastonics in Connecticut, has a simple goal: “Increase employee engagement.”

Elliott Blackwelder, president of Seminole Metal Finishing in Florida, says he wants to be more receptive to his employees: “Be a better listener to my team, as well as create team building opportunities.”

Brad Watt, owner at Micron Metal Finishing in Illinois: “Make new customers, but keep the old ones, at least some of them.”

Chris Wolkerstorfer, chief operating officer at Wolkerstorfer Co. in Minnesota, says his resolution is to evaluate the company with an outside-in perspective: “Tenure can create bias over the years.”

Cara Burzynski, president of AeroDynamics in New Hampshire, says she has a resolution to help her employees empower themselves. “I want them to reach their potential and challenge themselves to do their best always.”

Shay Davis, business development manager and chemist for Chemeon, just had her second child, but is ready for 2020 in all the right ways: “Continue ridding the world of hexavalent chromium, climb some more mountains — literally — and make sure to balance work and play with my new wee addition.”

As we start the new year, many of those who run finishing operations can only hope that by the end of this year the hard work and determination of their staff will bring big rewards, especially in profits. I look at resolutions and goals as two different things: resolutions are personal intentions that we have made a decision to change in one way or another. Goals are ambitions we set for ourselves that we eventually know when we get there, be it lose 25 pounds or call the 20 friends with whom we’ve lost touch. I have both goals and resolutions for 2020, and each of them equate to trying to make me a better person to everyone I come into contact with this year. I had similar ones last year and I probably reached half of them. But one of my goals and resolution this year will be a much simpler one: just keep trying.