NPCA Annual Meeting

By Christine Esposito | August 10, 2005

NPCA focuses on strategies at its 115th annual meeting, held Oct. 27-29 in New Orleans, LA.

Market predictions, venture capitalism in the supplier end of the business, e-business, leadership, strategy and politics were all covered by industry insiders and experts in other fields at The National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA) 115th annual meeting in New Orleans, LA Oct. 27-29.

Following a welcoming reception on Sunday, the meeting program began on Oct. 28 with the owner/manager committee breakfast forum. The focus of this year's forum was "The paint and coatings industry: predictions for 2010," presented by Stephen Einhorn, president of Einhorn Associates, a consulting firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the paint business.

Mr. Einhorn had good news and bad news, including a slowdown in the growth of powder coatings-an area that had been one of the fastest growing in the industry. Mr. Einhorn said that powder coatings market growth is slowing to five percent per year, and by 2010 it could have growth rates "similar in maturity to the rest of the industry."

On a positive note, Mr. Einhorn pointed to some current and future successes. Following the scandals faced by Enron, WorldCom and other publicly traded companies, the paint industry will find itself in an enviable position, he said. For example, many U.S. paint companies' have kept their stock performance steady. He said organic growth is almost sufficient now for public companies.

As for strategies for success in the paint market, Mr. Einhorn said major companies should concentrate on distribution strengths and reduce risk with long-term contracts. In addition, he said major companies will continue to expand their outsourcing activities to deliver everything their customers need, but eliminate manufacturing products that are perceived as more risky or need to be made in smaller batches.

This increased shift to outsourcing is good news for smaller companies that can specialize, said Mr. Einhorn. He suggested that small companies make high-tech upgrades and focus on customer service.

General Session: Battling Issues
The opening general session allowed NPCA to provide a review of its successes over the past year and provide information on issues the industry will face in the coming months and years, among them lead paint and asbestos lawsuits.

NPCA president Andrew Doyle covered the wins for the paint and coatings industry, including Coatings Care activities, a DOT registration fee and well documented legal issues. He also covered issues that NPCA is working on, which include a property risk management module for Coatings Care, post-consumer paint management and air quality issues.

Also, Mr. Doyle addressed some of the major issues on the horizon such as asbestos litigation, which is affecting NPCA members. The association is working to encourage and develop legislation that will allow those who are "truly sick" to retain their rights, but make sure companies that didn't make the product do not get caught up in an ever-growing web of lawsuits.

RPM's Tom Sullivan, also chairman of NPCA, said that NPCA has begun to craft a model bill for states to deal with lead. NPCA's goal is to have this adopted into law in 10 states by 2005 and have the majority of the remaining states adopt it in the following five years. NPCA is also working on an online lead information and safety program for retail stores, which will better equip them to deal with customer questions and concerns. This program should be available in mid-2003.

Tom Sullivan (left) and Andy Doyle (right) present James Karman with his award. Paul Dague (center) accepts his Industry Statesman honor at the Honors Luncheon.

NPCA also asked that member companies to make a commitment above and beyond their current dues. This pledge will be dedicated to the lead issue, which while not affecting all companies, does affect the entire industry. In fact, Mr. Sullivan's company, RPM, has pledged $60,000 even though it has not been affected. NPCA's goal is to reach $750,000.

Mr. Sullivan also spoke about NPCA PaintPAC, a special legal entity to channel voluntary contributions to congressional candidates. "I believe a well run PAC will be invaluable to our industry," said Mr. Sullivan. "Never has our industry faced so many challenges. With NPCA and your support, we will meet those challenges."

Industry Statesman Awards
Five industry members received Industry Statesman Awards during the NPCA annual meeting. The award recognizes individuals for their long and devoted service to the paint and coatings industry.

This year the award was presented to Paul Dague, Martin Grourke, James Karman and Alfred Sarnotsky. An Industry Statesman Award was also presented posthumously to the late Peter Lewis.

Mr. Dague, retired chairman and president of the Jones-Blair Paint Company, began his near 50-year tenure in the coatings industry as an industrial coatings chemist. He has been a recipient of the NPCA George Baugh Heckel Award.

Dr. Grourke, now retired, was global product stewardship manager for performance polymers with Rohm and Haas. He began his career as a senior chemist and group leader, performing coatings applications research, and later becoming product safety manager for polymers.

Mr. Karman, currently vice chairman of RPM Inc., began his career with the company in 1963 as treasurer and later became vice president and treasurer and executive vice president. He took on the role of president in 1978.

Mr. Sarnotsky, who recently retired from Spraylat Corp., began his career there doing developmental work in the lab. He held production management, employee training and development, engineering, health and safety and regulatory matters, inventory control and computer technology positions at Spraylat and played an instrumental role in bringing the first computer to the company. Mr. Sarnotsky has been president of NYSCT and a member of the board of directors of the New York Paint and Coatings Association and NPCA's Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

Dr. Lewis, who passed away earlier this year, was director of communications and environmental affairs for Sun Chemical Corp.'s Colors Group. During his 20-year career with Sun, he served in a number of key technical and management positions. He joined Sun Chemical in 1980 and had previously held technical and manufacturing positions with ICI (now Avecia) in the UK and the U.S. Dr. Lewis contributed numerous articles to industry and technical journals and was the author of a Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology (FSCT) monograph, "Organic Pigments." He was editor of the second edition of the "Pigment Handbook," published in 1988.

NPCA's next annual meeting is Oct. 8-10, 2003 in Orlando, FL at the Hilton Walt Disney World Resort.

Larison of Columbia Paint Wins NPCA Heckel Award

H.H. (Larry) Larison, CEO of Columbia Paint and former chairman of NPCA, won the association's George Baugh Heckel award. The award was presented to Mr. Larison during NPCA's Honors Luncheon, which was held during the annual meeting. NPCA's Heckel award honors an individual who has distinguished himself or herself through contributions towards a major industry success or the advancement of an NPCA goal. The winner is kept secret until the Honors Luncheon. "Like many leaders, this recipient has spent his entire career with one company," said Laurel H. Jamison, president and COO of Rudd Company, and winner of last year's Heckel award.

Andy Doyle (far right), Tom Sullivan (far left) and Laurel Jamison present Larry Larison with the NPCA's George Baugh Heckel award during the Honors Luncheon.
Mr. Larison joined Columbia Paint as a lab technician and worked in retail, sales and marketing positions. He was named president and CEO in time to become a member of the Young Presidents' Organization, an international group of executives who became president of their respective companies before reaching the age of 39.

Mr. Larison was chairman of NPCA's board of directors from 1998 to 1999 and had been actively involved in NPCA on national and local levels. As chairman of NPCA's Pacific Northwest Paint Council from 1994 to 1996, he played an instrumental role in convincing a state recycling task force not to follow the example of its Canadian neighbor, British Columbia, which had required paint manufacturers to take back unused product and assume responsibility for its disposal.

Outside of the paint business, Mr. Larison has served a number of public and private organizations. He was nominated as a candidate for his state's legislature and was also appointed to a White House conference on small business under President Ronald Reagan.

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