Posted in: Industry News

President's Charge: Time to Break a Sweat

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When you become a member of an association, what are your expectations? When you join a gym, for instance, do you expect to write the check and then improve your health without breaking a sweat? It may sound cliché, but you only get out of life what you put into it. The same holds true for membership in an association like The Powder Coating Institute. Your membership will be exactly what you make of it. Speaking from personal experience, it was eight or nine years ago when Sherwin-Williams had considered dropping their PCI membership because they didn’t see its value. Tom Grady and I, though, decided to take a chance and become more involved. What we quickly discovered is that, sure enough, the more involved we got, the more we got out of our membership. And the value of that is priceless. From networking to technical services to the trade show to this magazine, the value of membership is worth volumes more than the cost to join.

Networking. There are a number of different aspects to networking within the organization. There is the ability to network with different tiers within the organization—the equipment suppliers, the pretreatment suppliers, the consultants, etc. There is a big value in learning what is going on at these different levels. There is value in what you get informationwise, both from the association itself and from those networking contacts. Getting involved with the association’s committees will lead you down other paths. If you become very active in the ARE (Application & Recovery Equipment) Committee, for example, that will open the door to becoming part of the training programs that PCI offers. There is so much value in being able to stand in front of new people entering into the industry. You are perceived as an expert from your company, giving you the ability to build equity. In a sense, you are advertising yourself, your company and your products, because you are given the platform in which to educate others. There’s a huge value in that.

Website. As I mentioned in my President’s Charge the digital edition of the Spring 2012 issue, we recently revamped the website. It is chock full of resources for our members. Being included as a PCI member and mentioned as such on the PCI website offers global visibility. If you look at the money that can be spent on an annual basis marketing a company and compare it to what PCI membership costs, that membership is not really a very big expense at all—especially when you consider the value that can be gleaned from it just in potential visibility on the PCI website alone.

Technical. Our technical organization offers tremendous resources for our member companies, especially when you look at custom coaters and OEMs from the standpoint of certification. Being able to set themselves apart from the competition is important. For many years, our Custom Coater members were very upset about the fact that anyone could set up a powder coating line and coat parts and put those parts out there trying to compete with them. The nonmembers didn’t seem to be doing the quality and the level of sophistication of pretreatment and preparing the part—and even testing the part—to ensure that they met specifications. We are able to go out there as an independent association and certify companies to specific standards. If they are a PCI-certified applicator at various levels, there is intrinsic value in being able to separate themselves from their competition and what they do in the marketplace. It is a great separator for them. Also, we offer a low-cost independent lab test to our member companies—lower than they would get on the open market.

Trade Shows. Again, when you look at member companies who become active, they have the ability to present papers and so forth at the trade show. Again, this markets your company and gets you out there as an expert in the field. Members also get cut rates for floor space on the trade show.

Powder Coated Tough magazine. According to a survey of our membership, the association’s official publication is looked upon as the No. 1 value of membership. This magazine gives members the ability to promote themselves in the best magazine in the industry. As far as being totally focused on powder coatings, there is no comparison to any other magazine out there. Member companies get priority in everything that goes on within the magazine. We go to them first for case studies and technology articles, and they are given cut-rate advertising.

Become involved. The more involved you get, the more you will get out of the association. If you just pay for the gym membership and never hop on the treadmill, you will not see results. So don’t just pay your association membership bill and then not participate. Go to committee meetings. Attend a webinar. Present story ideas to Powder Coated Tough. It’s time to break a sweat and see results!

Sincerely, Bob Cregg

Bob Cregg serves as President of The Powder Coating Institute and can be reached at