JPCL: What are your expectations about the future of the protective and marine coatings industry?
Ken Rossy: What we see for the coatings industry is a good growth opportunity, mostly because of what we’ve experienced over the last two years with the pandemic. That has built a lot of pent-up demand. And it’s not just here in the U.S.; it’s worldwide. A lot of people are reaching out to work with us, which has been very nice.
The recent challenges with the pandemic have been well documented and discussed quite a bit. What opportunities do you see coming from those situations?
We’ve really taken the time—since we had it—to focus on making sure that our relationships within the industry, whether they be with end users or our distributors, are healthy. We are working to create mutually beneficial partnerships with these distributors and learning how to share more information with each other. That can be tricky, but there are ways to share information that can be productive from both sides.
How have the ways you communicate and interact with your distributors and customers changed recently, and how may they continue to change in the future?
We live in a world that honors and prizes the opportunity to text people, to send them emails, but a simple phone call actually goes a long way. So getting back to the basics has been beneficial to us—just to have conversations.
It’s also been nice to be able to travel again. That’s opened up opportunities to get face to face—probably the biggest way we found to improve relationships.
You touched a little bit on this, but what would you say is the outlook for future growth for your company?
This year, we’re experiencing very nice growth over last year and the year before. We feel like we’re approaching pre-pandemic levels. With new relationships that have come as a result of the pandemic, worldwide, we could even exceed [those levels] in the next year or two.
So I’m very hopeful. Even though corrosion protection is a mature industry, there are still opportunities to distinguish yourself and to create the need for products.
Through marketing, personal contact and training of our distributors, we’re able to influence that this-is-the-way-we’ve-always-done-things mentality and help people understand that, in our marketplace, cleanliness of steel is just as important as profile.
Increasing acceptance of that has to happen on all levels, from engineering to coating manufacturers to owners and contractors. They are all going to benefit by having cleaner steel. And if you’re gonna clean steel, we provide a solution.
Before we wrap up, what else would you like the audience to know about your vision for the future?
For the last five or six years, we’ve been focused on testing. It’s very easy to tout that your product can do a certain thing, but until you have it tested and verified, it’s hard to expect customers to believe.
We operate in an industry that is known for testing and accuracy, as best as it’s possible to be accurate. So our focus has been to test and retest, and then to publish. We’ve been publishing reports on our testing to let our distributor base know that everything we say about our product is verifiable and true. I feel like that needs to occur throughout the industry even more. It’s something people have gotten a little bit lazy with, because, again, we’re a mature industry. [But] it’s money worth spending. That’s what we have done to make sure we are completely honest and know what’s going on with our products.
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