Posted in: Membership Memo

Membership Memo—The Value of Peer Knowledge

Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2020

Back in the late 1970s, my father was working in my grandfather’s welding shop. A job came in that required paint after fabrication. When the welding was complete, my father was assigned the task of painting it. It went okay, even for a first attempt. In fact, it went well enough that jobs started coming in to be painted that weren’t even fabricated in our welding shop. That’s when the idea for our company, Westside Finishing, was born. We added powder coating to our capabilities in 1986, and offered both services for around 20 years until we decided to cease liquid coating entirely.

You might be wondering how we learned everything necessary to go from welding and fabricating, to liquid coating, and ultimately powder coating for the past 33 years. We attended some trainings, read a lot of articles and unfortunately, learned a lot the hard way through trial and error. Looking back, I realize the best way to learn was, and continues to be, through networking with my peers. We’ve taken advantage of a number of PCI events and programs over the years and I have found the association to be the best avenue for direct contact with others like me. In particular, PCI’s Peer Group program being of significant value.

The PCI Peer Group program is something that I believe all member powder coating shops can benefit from. Twice a year, my group gets together at one of our member locations for a shop tour with an audit and presentations by industry experts, along with good old-fashioned idea sharing at the local watering hole. Through this program, I have had the opportunity to tour other powder coating shops just like mine across North America. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be on the other side of the coin, hosting numerous highly experienced powder coating professionals, allowing them to tour and audit my shop. While we all aim to achieve the same end goal, quality powder coating, it has been an eye-opening experience to see the different approaches my peers have found to achieve their level of expertise.

If you are a PCI custom coater member and haven’t considered joining a PCI Peer Group, I would certainly encourage you to do so. The tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years will most certainly be different than those you experience, but I can guarantee you they will be just as valuable. Let’s get together and share our knowledge for the benefit of not only ourselves and our companies, but the industry as a whole. You won’t regret it.

Korey Bell is operations manager with Westside Finishing Co., Inc.