How PCI Members Give Back to Their Communities

Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Successful businesses have both the resources and the influence to be very impactful to their communities. In both charitable contributions or volunteer efforts, businesses can reap far-reaching benefits by giving back. According to Giving USA, giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 3.5 percent (2.3 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2016, totaling $18.55 billion. The powder coating industry contributes in various ways. The Powder Coating Institute (PCI) itself participates with its scholarship program.

To compile Powder Coated Tough’s first-ever Giving Back edition, we reached out to our members to see how they give back to their own communities. Below is a compilation of the responses received (listed alphabetically by company) for the many different and heart-warming philanthropic ways the powder coating industry has been giving back.


All-Color loves to improve parts of the community by offering its custom coating services. When Mark Mortensen noticed that the local fire department bell was getting worn down and rusted over, he contacted the fire department to offer a fix. The department sent over a team of their strongest to transport the bell for coating. The bell was refinished and can now be seen proudly displayed outside of the Oregon, Wis., Fire Department.

All-Color also is a proud supporter of The Salvation Army of Dane County. In working with The Salvation Army, they expressed a need to refurbish their red kettle stands. Once the Salvation Army had them sandblasted to remove the previous layers of paint, All-Color refinished them with a coat of red powder. Stephen Heck, the development director of the organization, said, “[All Color’s] generous donation of powder coating our 87 red kettle stands has not only improved the look of our stands, but will extend the amount of time we will be able to use them.” Dane County now has plenty of like-new kettle stands.


Businesses are an important part of the St. Charles community in Illinois. American Powder Coating Inc. is one of those businesses, and they recently donated $3,000 to the city’s Neighbors in Need utility bill assistance program. This is the third year that American Powder Coating has made a charitable contribution to the program.

Kettle Stand


Arkema’s flagship program for giving back to the community is its Science Teachers Program. The goal of the program is to bring Arkema scientists and local teachers together to spark an interest in science among elementary school students. The company’s plant in North Kansas City, Mo., where Reafree® powder resins are manufactured, recently hosted a hands-on science program for 3rd grade teachers from Briarcliff Elementary School to spend a week working at Arkema Inc. and collaborating with scientists, engineers, and safety personnel to learn innovative ways to teach basic science concepts.


Arkema employees at the North Kansas City facility also participate in local charitable programs. The plant is a collection site for the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots program, as well as the local Harvesters Food Bank program.


Axalta participates in many philanthropic endeavors. Several Axalta-sponsored initiatives foster education with a special focus on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The company is particularly proud of its support for schools and initiatives around the world that promote STEM and STEM-related career paths, including those at Axalta.

College is an opportunity for students to put their passion for engineering, innovation and technology into practice. Axalta’s collegiate racing program originated in the U.S. and has expanded to other parts of the globe. Selected universities with student teams can be recognized on professionally driven cars on the NASCAR circuit. The company supports other student engineering teams that build their own race cars for intramural competitive racing. Student teams in Europe develop solar-powered cars. Axalta provides financial support and offers professional support and paint for the cars.

Foster Initiative

Several Axalta-sponsored initiatives foster education with a special focus on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), including Axalta’s collegiate racing program and support for the Serviam Girls School.

In India, Axalta supports the Akshaya Patra Foundation, which fights hunger and malnutrition and develops educational programs for over 1.4 million children from 10,845 schools across 10 states in India. It is the largest non-profit midday meal program in the world. Axalta’s support helps provide freshly cooked meals to more than 550 children in schools neighboring their facilities in Savli, Gujarat State.

Pardada Pardadi Education Society (PPES) has been improving the lives of women in rural India through its mission of empowering women to minimize poverty in the region. PPES provides free education to girls and job opportunities for women. Axalta supports PPES through its program near Axalta’s operations center in Savli, Gujarat State.

In greater Philadelphia, Axalta has helped enrich the student experience outside the classroom with STEM-related initiatives for the advancement of young girls and women. The SWE (Society for Women Engineers), and the Serviam Girls School in Delaware, are just a few of the organizations that Axalta has supported to continue the development of strong female leaders.

Axalta also supports The Franklin Institute, one of the preeminent centers for science education, and its annual Philadelphia Science Festival, which showcases sciencerelated programming, including the science behind Axalta’s colors and coatings.

Axalta funds new and replacement equipment for the Science Leadership Academy, which provides high school students from across Philadelphia with an enriched exposure to STEM disciplines to prepare for college and careers.

In collaboration with the Philadelphia Eagles, Axalta enhances mobility for children with disabilities by building motorized cars. The project is run by GoBabyGo!, a global organization that uses the building process as a participant team-building exercise.

In Detroit, Axalta developed and sponsors the EyesOn Design awards during the annual Detroit International Auto Show. This fundraising initiative supports the visual research program at Henry Ford Health System’s Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology.


BCI Surface Technologies proudly supports the scholarship program of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Lehigh Valley Section on an annual basis.

Bulk Chemicals

BCI’s support of SWE means a great deal to the SWE Lehigh Valley Section and to the students who benefit from their scholarship program. BCI is pleased to support young women who seek a vocation in engineering.

The scholarship recipients were presented their awards at SWE’s Scholarship Banquet in May 2017. In addition to the scholarship awards, the supporting companies of the SWE-LV Scholarship Program were also honored and presented with a Certificate of Appreciation.


Col-Met hosted its second annual Ride for a Cause, Car Show and Fun Run on September 23, 2017. More than 100 people attended the event in support of Helping Hands of Rockwall,which is the main social service provider for Rockwall County residents. The event, which took place at Col-Met’s facility in Rockwall, Texas, raised several thousand dollars through ticket sales, donations and silent auction item sales, making it the most successful fundraising event for Col-Met thus far.

Charles Cecil

In addition to the motorcycle ride, car show, fun run and silent auction, there were activities such as a dunking booth (with Col-Met’s leadership team), snow cone truck, face painting, food, music and more.

“The purpose of Ride for a Cause is to give back to the community by raising funds for Helping Hands of Rockwall, which serves Rockwall residents by alleviating financial crisis and providing a medical home to the underserved. This year, we were able to double the dollars raised and look forward to continuing this trend in years to come,” says Jennifer Egan, Col-Met’s marketing manager.


Custom Fabricating & Supplies gives back to the community through various charitable donations throughout the year. Fisher House Wisconsin, a home away from home for veterans’ and military families who need temporary housing while their loved one receives care at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, The Children’s Heart Foundation, USAA and the Alzheimer’s Association, were CFS’s major donations in 2017.


Echo loves Indianapolis and its surrounding communities. It’s a large contributing factor of who they are as an organization. It’s where they live, work and choose to raise their families. That’s why Echo is committed to contributing 1% of its total annual profits to local organizations that provide parallel community values and missions. Echo is focused on providing support to those in the community through giving time, sharing talents and monetary gifts.

In 2017, Echo partnered with nine different organizations that provide basic necessities to those in need—such as food, shelter, healthcare, education and life skills. In December alone, Echo was able to provide 200 children with Christmas gifts through the Bartrum Foundation

Supporting children is an important measure in the effort of giving back because they represent the future. Other children-focused charities that Echo contributes to include BackPack Attack, a charity focused on providing the essential tools for a classroom, and its local Riley’s Children Hospital.


Echo also focuses on donating resources to the men and women in their community through organizations like Dress for Success, which provides professional attire and support to women looking to achieve economic independence, and the Movember Foundation, which supports men’s health. Other charities Echo is involved with include the Red Cross and local food drives.

For Echo, charity is more than donating; charity is about the smile on a child’s face, the warm hugs from families involved, seeing accomplishment in the eyes of those when learning a new trade and the comforting feeling of positive change in their community. Echo’s ultimate goal is to create a service-minded culture that focuses on giving back in order to positively affect families for generations. As a corporation they view it as their responsibility to impact as many lives as possible in the surrounding communities, and they say they have big plans for 2018, so stay tuned!


The week after Thanksgiving 2017, EPSI partnered with the Salvation Army in their annual “Angel Tree” program, a gift drive that puts new clothes and toys under the tree for 1 million children who would normally go without presents. EPSI employees adopted 75 “angels” in an effort to expand a Christmas tradition that makes the season brighter for both the gift giver and receiver. EPSI employees were excited to partake in this remarkable tradition and quickly claimed every ornament with a child’s name and their Christmas wish. In December, the lobby Christmas tree became the hub for the brand new toys and apparel for the “angels.”


The overwhelming response for this drive has brought a sense of charity and giving into the EPSI office. The spirit of giving is not limited to just EPSI’s Franksville headquarters. Staff all across the country and abroad have joined in. EPSI is proud of the sense of community that this seasonal project has instilled, and they hope to continue partaking in this partnership in 2018.

EPSI also has initiated a new “Paid Service” program that allows their employees to lend a helping hand to their community. This year alone, the United States has been struck by several tragedies. There has been an extreme outpouring of citizens taking time from their jobs to go and help the helpless during these times. EPSI wants to be an employer that encourages its members to serve. This program will allow their employees to receive additional paid days off to go volunteer in the community. EPSI is committed to shaping the future of not only its employees, but also the global community.


In Henkel’s Madison Heights, Mich., facility, the company participates in “Operation Sleigh Bells.” Henkel employees at the North American Automotive headquarters in Madison Heights volunteer to participate in the program to adopt local families through partnership with the Madison Heights Goodfellows. This is the ninth year for Henkel in the program, where employees are put on a team and assigned a family wish list for the children. Employees then donate their personal funds to shop for the family. For each family adopted by employees, Henkel will match by adopting another family and covering the costs to fulfill their wish list. In addition, Henkel gives employees a couple of hours of company time to shop for the families, provides a Henkel Consumer gift basket, and a $100 gift card to go Operation Sleigh Bells toward the purchase of the families’ holiday meals for both employee and Henkelsponsored families. At a Henkel-hosted wrap party, all the employee teams gather and wrap the gifts (Henkel provides the wrapping supplies), and then that same day, the gifts are taken to the Madison Heights Fire Department, where the families will go to pick them up. In 2017, Henkel adopted six families, which combined have a total of 14 kids ranging from 7 months to 11 years old whose holidays will be brighter due to the generous donations of Henkel and its employees.

At Henkel’s North American Headquarters in Rocky Hill, Conn., and Consumer Goods Headquarters in Stamford, Conn., the company has given back with hurricane relief to the American Red Cross, Americares, and Habitat for Humanity (international Henkel involvement); to the American Cancer Society relay for life (Rocky Hill); to the Connecticut Food Bank (Stamford); to the NBC Today Show Toy Drive (all Henkel); to the Inspirica Toy Drive (Stamford); to the Special Olympics (Rocky Hill); and is a K9 sponsor for the Rocky Hill Police Department K9 Unit.

This just a sampling of the charitable activities Henkel undertakes throughout North America. The company works hard to be good neighbors and partners in the communities where they live and work.


For 169 years, Hubbard-Hall has been solving manufacturing’s toughest problems and has also been instrumental in aiding the local community. Having a culture in which the employees give back to the community where they work and live is important to the Kellogg family. Each year the company participates in the United Way Annual Giving campaign, and for the last two years has been among the Top 5 Campaign Contributors for Greater Waterbury (Conn.). In addition to monetary donations, Hubbard-Hall employees give their time to the United Way’s Day of Caring—on this day a handful of employees went to Girls, Inc., to help with maintenance projects. In December 2016, Hubbard-Hall won the United Way of Greater Waterbury’s Spirit of Excellence Award.

Major James Purvis

Hubbard-Hall is also very involved in the local schools. At the beginning of the school year, backpacks are filled and donated to a local pre-school and the relationship with those children continues through the year as members of the staff go monthly to read books that correspond to their curriculum. Employees volunteered to be judges for the science fair at the Children’s Community School in Waterbury and then collected money to supply the class with microscopes to encourage their curiosity in STEM-related studies. Hubbard-Hall is also a leader in “You Be the Chemist,” an interactive academic contest that encourages students in grades 5-8 to explore chemistry concepts and their real-world applications.

This year, the company participated in Adopt-a-Family, which received a huge outpouring of support and warmed their hearts as they knew they were making Christmas extra special for a local family in need with three children.

Other ways in which Hubbard-Hall gives back to the community include collections for food at Thanksgiving, a Salvation Army toy drive at Christmas, and a coat drive in the winter months. During the recent natural disasters that struck our nation, the company collected money and donated it to families affected by the chemical plant explosion in Texas.

In 2018, Hubbard-Hall will continue the programs they already have set in place and look to expand their reach to those affected by chronic illness.

Koch Sons


George Koch Sons, LLC, a subsidiary of Koch Enterprises, Inc. (KEI), has been operating in the Evansville, Ind., community since 1873. For more than 135 years, the company has provided jobs, investment, and community support. The Koch Foundation was established by KEI to provide a consistent method of studying community needs and returning some of the profits Koch has earned to the communities where its companies are located. The projects that KEI supports are selected based on long-term value to the community, team member involvement and support of the projects, and knowledge of and working relationships with the people involved. Recent community outreach projects include the United Way of Southwestern Indiana and the Heart of Michigan United Way annual “Day of Caring” events and the Koch Foundation special matching gift program for the American Red Cross to help Hurricane Harvey victims. Through January 2018, Koch team members are volunteering their time to construct a Habitat for Humanity home for a family in Evansville. For more information about the Koch Foundation, visit kochenterprises.com/foundation


The Nordson Corporation Foundation gives grants totalling $1.2 million to deserving organizations in Northeastern Ohio, guided by recommendations from employees on the Community Affairs Committee (CAC). Employees contribute more than 1,800 hours with 31 different organizations through Time ’n Talent, in addition to direct leadership support. And more than $200,000 was raised through the “A Time to Give Campaign.”

Eric Nord, co-founder of Nordson Corporation once stated: “Nordson strives to be a vital, self-renewing worldwide organization which, within the framework of ethical behavior and enlightened citizenship, grows and produces wealth for our customers, employees, shareholders and communities.”


The company continues to fulfill this aspiration in many different ways, in particular giving back to the communities where they operate. Each year 5 percent of Nordson Corporation’s U.S. earnings are contributed to the Nordson Corporation Foundation.

In 2017, based on recommendations by the committee, Nordson supported 82 organizations that were focused on education, human welfare and the arts. Examples include:

  • Effective Leadership Academy (preparing students for success at school and work)
  • El Centro de Servicios (social, educational, community services for the underserved)
  • Save Our Children (after-school programs for at risk children)
  • PACE Foundation (youth employment training and college preparation)
  • LifeAct (youth suicide prevention)

Through its Time ’n Talent program, 211 individual employees in Amherst and Westlake, Ohio, completed over 1,800 hours of service for 31 different organizations, including:

  • Friendship Animal Protective League—Participating in Woof Walk Wednesdays walking dogs and taking care of other shelter animals.
  • Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage—Reading essays for the Stop the Hate contest, written by students on ending intolerance and creating a more inclusive community.
  • RePlay for Kids—Adapting toys for children with disabilities.
  • Second Harvest—Sorting and packing food and toiletry donations made to the food bank.

Additionally, Nordson Corporation, in partnership with the Powder Coating Institute (PCI), recently awarded a $5,000 Nordson BUILDS/PCI Scholarship to college student Benjamin Whipker, who attends the Rochester Institute of Technology. Whipker is studying electrical mechanical engineering technology.

The Nordson BUILDS/PCI Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship, administered by PCI. The scholarship is intended to put awareness back on the importance of American manufacturing, with the goal of introducing young minds to the world of powder coatings. Students must be seeking degrees in engineering or business to qualify and demonstrate an interest in powder coatings.

Specific criteria required include comprehensiveness of college/university program; specific studies and projects related to powder coatings; uniqueness of applicant’s qualifications, goals and aspirations; and a letter of recommendation.

“We want students to be cognizant of the powder coating industry and to realize there are great careers to be had in the U.S. manufacturing sector,” explains Dan Thompson, director of sales, Nordson Corporation. “Ben is ambitious and deserving, and represents the future of continued manufacturing growth in the U.S. We were excited to select him as the Nordson BUILDS/PCI Scholarship award winner.” Whipker received the award during a ceremony at Nordson’s Amherst campus on August 31, 2017.


Parker Ionics

Parker Ionics has chosen to work with Ilitch Charities, an organization that is run by the Ilitch family and Parker’s friend, Chris Ilitch. Ilitch Charities is a non-profit organization that invests in the community’s future by supporting innovative, collaborative and measurable programs in the areas of community development, human services, education and recreation through contributions from the Ilitch companies, their colleagues and the generosity of others. Parker’s specific area of giving is directed toward their children’s charities. Parker supports Ilitch Charities through contributions and participation in their fundraising events. Chris Ilitch and Parker Ionics President John Cole are longtime friends and as such know first-hand the way the charity benefits local families and especially kids. Parker Ionics also gives back to its favorite industry by holding regular training courses in house for powder coaters in the Metro Detroit region. These free training courses provide struggling and local startup powder coaters with much needed training for their painters without cost to them.



Pneu-Mech Systems is dedicated to training qualified individuals by offering internship programs. As part of this focus, Pneu-Mech Systems looks for opportunities to educate students in high school, technical school or college about the many career opportunities available within the finishing industry through its internship program.

Patrick McNeely was a great candidate for this in 2017 and Pneu-Mech is pleased to have him as part of its organization. He is skilled in AutoCad, fabricating and pipefitting and hopes to gain knowledge in finishing to help him obtain employment within the industry, long term. He is currently attending Mitchell Community College in Statesville, N.C., studying mechanical engineering.


Each year, the PCI Scholarship subcommittee reviews a group of applicants and makes recommendations to the board of directors on the dispersion of scholarship funds. The program includes the PCI general scholarship and corporate member-sponsored scholarships. Recipients are chosen based on their areas of study, which must be in a technology area useful for a career in the powder coating industry. While there are a few additional requirements, special consideration is given to applicants who demonstrate an interest or previous experience in powder coatings. When possible, award recipients are invited to accept their award during a PCI event so that they can experience a broader perspective of the industry and get to know folks personally

“It is a such a pleasure to get to meet and visit with these young folks. We encourage them to stay in touch with us as they pursue their goals,” says Trena Benson, PCI executive director. “We’ve already seen meaningful contributions to our industry from previous scholarship recipients.”


JR Holbrook reached out to Premier Powder Coating and Custom Fabrication out of Rexburg, Idaho, to design, laser cut, fabricate and powder coat a set of benches to help bring back the wonder of Christmas magic. Holbrook’s new children’s book, Gingerbread Jimmi, shares about the magic of wishing upon the Polar Star, and these benches are in tribute to that. Premier says the completely customized benches were a fun project to work on, and with the durable powder coating are expected to endure the wintery weather for many years to come. According to the rules set forth by the author, here is the proper way to make a wish:

Jimmy Benches

1. Sit on the bench and take a deep breath.

2. Make your wish and release it to the Polar Star.

3. Don’t concern yourself with how it will be granted, just trust that Santa, his Elves, Gingerbread Jimmi, and the Polar Star will know the best way to fulfill your wish.

Premier Powder Coating and Custom Fabrication regularly take on custom requests and projects, and specialize in site furniture like these benches.


TTX is dedicated to giving back to the community that it has been a part of since 1969.Through generous donations to local and national organizations (United Way, YMCA, Independence Fund, Door County Schools, 4-H, Humane Society, and many more), TTX is committed to making a difference in and around its community. With partnerships ranging from the Southern Door High School Formula Race Car to STEM programs across the county, TTX promotes educational opportunities to ensure a future workforce that is qualified, job ready, and healthy. TTX is proud to work with many non-profit organizations and groups to build a strong community.


Troy Chemical

Troy Chemical has been actively involved giving back to the community since its inception in 1971.They give as a corporation to the United Way, Boy Scouts, Troy Volunteer Fire Department, Cataqua Theater production at its local historical society, Berkshire Schools, Burton Chamber of Commerce Easter Egg Hunt, Burton Fire Department 4th of July fireworks display, and they were one of the founding members of the Geauga Growth Partnership, a local business organization. Through the Geauga Growth Partnership, they have a summer paid intern program that provided internship opportunities for 35 high school juniors and seniors with 26 companies in 2017.

Lee Imhof

In addition to Lee Imhof, president, being a founding member of the Geauga Growth Partnership and the creator of the internship program, they also donate to multiple local groups and participate in a park cleanup, organized by the Geauga Parks District.

When You Give, You Get

With a charitable mindset and being a part of the “greater good,” businesses can boost both their reputations and their cultures, creating positive PR and better employee morale that invariably follow. Prudent businesses can see how these efforts can affect long-term profitability. Setting these kinds of goals for your business are sure to be beneficial in so many ways. These multi-faceted benefits make it easy to see why giving back to the community should be a major goal for all businesses.

The above article highlights just a few of the many businesses in the powder coating industry who have witnessed the positive impacts of giving back to the community. Get your business to start giving back and see what positive impacts you can make.

Author: PCT Editor