Coatings World: What is your new role at PPG?
Knavish: I was appointed as PPG’s senior vice president, architectural coatings, and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), in January 2019. Prior to my current role, I served as senior vice president, industrial coatings since 2017.
A 32-year veteran of PPG, I joined the company in flat glass engineering in 1987, based at the global headquarters in Pittsburgh. I advanced through various roles in engineering, technical services, operations and supply chain, and am proud to say that I’ve served in 10 PPG businesses around the world: three glass businesses (now divested), architectural, automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM), automotive refinish, protective and marine coatings, packaging and industrial coatings, as well as coatings services.
Coatings World: What do you think are some of the challenges of the EMEA region? What are you most excited about leading the global architectural coatings business for PPG?
Knavish: In the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, each area is different and there are opportunities across each market. Issues such as the uncertainty around Brexit, the current slow-down in automotive production and the geopolitical dynamics in the region are some of the current challenges we are facing. However, there are many opportunities for organic and non-organic growth across the region. We see many opportunities in countries and segments where PPG is underrepresented, where we can bring our knowledge, expertise and innovation to create value. We are in the process of integrating two exciting acquisitions that will continue our proud history of growth in the EMEA region – Hemmelrath, an automotive coatings manufacturer headquartered in Klingenberg, Germany, and Whitford, a global manufacturer that specializes in low-friction and nonstick coatings for industrial applications and consumer products. I’m excited to learn even more about the business, people, cultures, customers and challenges that encompass the EMEA region. On a global scale, we continue to seek new ways to create value for customers and capture our share of that value. I look forward to continuing to energize the organization and its teams to accelerate our growth.
In addition, it is truly an exciting time to lead the global architectural coatings business. With our strong portfolio of brands, such as GLIDDEN paint, PPG PAINTS, TAUBMANS, JOHNSTONE’S, we are well-poised to deliver the needs of professional and DIY painters alike.
Digitization will continue to be a core focus of the paint and coatings industry, and PPG is developing tools and resources to ensure a seamless buying process for customers. For example, the PPG Paint brand’s newly redesigned website offers a room visualizer for customers to quickly and easily see colors in their own space, in addition to online inspiration resources, access to the latest color trends, store locators, paint estimators and more. By offering these free digital resources, we’re making the inspiration and purchase process even easier and more integrated.
Coatings World: What is your strategy for success?
Knavish: There are a few core strategies that I’m passionate about to ensure a successful, engaged and diverse team. I believe in working hard to implement positivity, embracing changes, maintaining high energy and celebrating successes within our global teams.
One thing that I continue to impress upon individuals and teams within our organization is to be bold earlier, and don’t be afraid to take chances. It’s my advice to all PPG employees, regardless of where they are in their careers. Looking back, I wish my younger self received this advice.
One of PPG’s greatest strengths is the diversity of our people, whose unique perspectives enable us to meet challenges quickly, creatively and effectively. I strongly believe in drawing motivation from the diverse people around me. I like to win as a team, not an individual. Winning is really cool when it’s done among a collaborative team. The chance to meet and work with new people is an incredible motivator to explore new challenges and opportunities.
Coatings World: How important is sustainability when working with architectural coatings?
Knavish: Sustainability remains an important part of PPG’s success. We remain committed to embedding sustainable practices into our operations and introducing new sustainably advantaged products for customers.
During 2018, PPG built upon our efforts to drive sustainability deeper into our global operations. We launched a new set of sustainability goals for 2025, guiding the company to further embed sustainability into its day-to-day operations and measure its progress. In the architectural coatings business, we introduced core products that help reduce PPG’s environmental impact, as well as our customers’ impact. In recent years, we introduced Sigma Air Pure, a revolutionary bio-based product that protects indoor air quality while it beautifies. In addition, we are on target to revise 273 PPG paint products sold by The Home Depot to ensure we’re meeting its commitment to sell only interior and exterior water-based wall paints in the U.S. and Canada that help maintain healthier air quality and exclude chemicals of concern.
Additional highlights of PPG’s sustainability progress in 2018 include the following.
• 32% of sales from sustainably advantaged products and processes, with a goal of 40 percent by 2025
• 29% of manufacturing and research and development locations with zero process waste to landfill
• 28% improvement in the spills and releases rate
• Completed the 200th COLORFUL COMMUNITIES project since the program’s launch in 2015 – a significant milestone that allowed the company to impact more than 5.2 million people in 30 countries;
• 10% reduction in injury and illness rate vs. 2017.
As our portfolio continues to evolve, we are evaluating our businesses and striving to achieve even more impactful, sustainable business practices. Our 2025 sustainability goals will further guide and increase our use of sustainable business practices. We have made significant progress, but we remain focused on continued improvement.
About Tim Knavish
Tim Knavish is senior vice president, architectural coatings, and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa at PPG. A 32-year veteran of PPG, Knavish joined the company in flat glass engineering in 1987, based at the global headquarters in Pittsburgh. He advanced through various roles of increasing responsibility in engineering, technical services, operations and supply chain. Most recently, Knavish served as senior vice president, industrial coatings before being named to his current role in January 2019.
A native of Pittsburgh, Knavish earned both a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.