The timing of Kevin’s arrival as PCI Executive Director collided with PCI’s Powder Coating Week 2020 in Orlando. (February seems so long ago, doesn’t it?) Although he was thrown into his new role head-first, Kevin says he preferred it that way. “It provided a perfect opportunity to jump in, make new connections, and re-align old connections with my new responsibilities,” Kevin said.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to get to know PCI’s new executive director yet, surely you will in the coming months. We tag-teamed the PCI and PCT tabletops at the Tabletop Exhibition in Orlando, so I was able to learn a few things about Kevin amid our hectic schedules managing the conference and participating in board and committee meetings. Recently, Kevin was gracious enough to carve some time out of his busy schedule for a formal interview.
What is your first memory of PCI?
Attending my first Annual Meeting in 2001 and seeing how enthusiastic the members were about being there and working together on the committees. They were committed to improving the industry and clearly enjoyed themselves while they did it. They also were very welcoming to a new member.
Who is the first friend you made through PCI and do you still stay in contact?
Ron Cudzilo approached me about becoming a workshop speaker. Many years later we ended up working together at George Koch Sons. And yes, we are still friends, even though I’m a better golfer than he is.
Who was your primary mentor in the powder coating industry, and what was some of the most valuable input you received from that person?
Terry Ray, who was a partner of mine at KMI Systems. He taught me the engineering side of powder coating equipment. After that, attending PCI workshops and events introduced me to other experts throughout the industry who I could call whenever I had a question.
Did you read Powder Coated Tough throughout your career in the industry? What did you appreciate most about the magazine?
Yes, I have read Powder Coated Tough since it was founded. I always appreciated the troubleshooting and case study articles the most, they helped me learn how companies tackle different problems.
What do you want PCI members to know about you?
I suppose that I have been involved with PCI for almost 20 years. I have been on both the OEM side and supplier side of the business, and I have experienced all areas of the powder coating industry from the powders, pretreatment chemistries, and all the equipment necessary to apply the coating. Also, that I like to teach and mentor others in this industry.
You’ve been in your position since mid-February and you’ve made contact with many members in your new role. What is some of the top feedback members have provided so far?
I have been told by several individuals how important training and education are to their businesses. Many of the custom coater members expressed appreciation for how quickly PCI gathered information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and implications for business owners and employees. I’ve also learned there are opportunities for PCI to improve the value that OEMs and raw materials suppliers receive from membership. This is something that is one of my top goals. Another goal for 2020 is updating and publishing the fifth edition of Powder Coating: The Complete Finisher’s Handbook. That is an extremely important and high priority for me.
What is the role of a trade association in modern times?
To be “THE” resource for educating and training the next generation of both production paint operators as well as training the new technical experts in our industry. Associations must also provide the networking venues to connect individuals and companies with others and be the place to get questions answered.
There are extraordinary challenges facing businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. What advice can you offer to company leadership based on your past experiences? What advice can you offer to their employees?
For leadership, it is imperative to understand the value being a PCI member can bring to your company, such as training and education; experts can help solve challenges with new powder chemistries and equipment, so staying plugged into the association is critical in times like these. Some benefits of membership come with attending events, but more can be learned by actually getting involved.
For employees, they should take advantage of all the training and educational items available. If they see something that builds efficiencies or new capabilities into their operations, they should take it to management and ask for it.
What one word best describes you, and why?
Personable. Being a twin and growing up in a large family I learned you have to be able to get along with other people. I also grew up playing team sports. This translated to being able to work collaboratively with others on a project and develop leadership skills.
What sports did you play?
In high school I played forward on our basketball team and competed in track (high jump, long jump, and 400 meter).
Did you have any nicknames growing up?
The only thing close to a nickname was “double trouble,” which my identical twin brother and I had the pleasure of sharing. We had a lot of fun playing basketball together (especially scrimmages when we were both on the “skins” team). When we had to pick our jersey numbers, neither of us knew what number the other was going to pick, and we happened to choose “24” and “42”. Honestly, it was fate.
What is your personal theme song (a certain song that is always played when you enter a room) and why?
“This Is It” by Kenny Loggins. It talks about never giving up even when things are down. This always lifted me to try and always do my best and never give up.
PCI members should expect to learn more about Kevin over the coming months. As we begin to venture forth into economic recovery, renewing relationships with clients, suppliers, and industry partners, the powder coating industry should rest at ease knowing Kevin Coursin is at the helm of our trade association.