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COATINGSPRO JANUARY 2017 93 specialist for contracting firm Specialty Coatings & Consulting, Inc., said the big gest challenge w ill be, "properly educating architects, engineers, and the end user of the benefits of a properly designed and installed resinous system for their application. Manufacturers are currently providing guidelines for the use of their products instead of what is ideal for a particular applica- tion condition." How do you think we can overcome the challenges in the industry? Starting early and continuing on, the experts seem to believe in the power of education! Chavez sug gested "more science, more STEM [Science, Technolog y, Engineering, and Math] in schools, encour- age 'smart' manufacturing here in the states." He shared that we, as an industr y, need to "realize that today's trade subcontractor and factor y worker are not — and cannot be — undereducated because the materials and processes they work w ith are complex and have complex interactions." Finally, he said that we need to "get all of the parties involved in a construction project, involved in a lean way, where their expertise can be capitalized as needed and when needed, not after the fact when it's too late to do any good." Malcolm McNeil, president of McNeil Coatings Consultants, Inc., said that " increased availability of all types of formal training for applicators, as opposed to ' learning on the job' from co-workers who may or may not have adequate training," is the way to go. "Coatings application is a physi- cally demanding job, and it also requires a high level of knowledge. Education about the industry and the types of jobs it offers can help create awareness for the next generation," said Mahaffey. How have you seen safety change over the past 15 years? "In the United States and many other countries, safety awareness is at the forefront of all professional organi- zations," Mahaffey said. "is is a continuous process that requires input from all parties to maintain a high level of safety while being efficient in its execution." But according to Chavez, it wasn't always that way. "Safety equipment that was seen as 'unmanly' in the 80s and even the 90s is standard today, and nobody even blinks at it. Great! Now we need to encourage their use worldwide. Too many workers are harmed for the pennies it costs for ear plugs and safety glasses and basic particle masks, not to mention more high-end chemical masks and fall protection!" McNeil seconded the change, and mentioned more coming: "Safety has changed as much, or more, than other aspects of the coatings industry. e plethora of safety rules promulgated by OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and other regula- tory agencies has made it difficult for contractors, applicators, inspectors, and all others involved in coatings projects. In areas of fall protection, confined space, respiratory equip- ment, and PPE [personal protective equipment], the rules are changing frequently, and much awareness by contractors is required to keep up with all of it. ere are more safety violations on coatings projects than any other aspect of the work. Unfortunately, injuries — and sometimes fatalities — are the result of these violations." But all of the participants agreed that following safe practices is import- ant. ere is a very real reason safety standards are put into place. As Greenfield said, "e opportunities to work safely and send everyone home have greatly improved. e processes, equipment, and lessons learned are there. It still takes the training, aware- ness, and culture that safety comes first must be reinforced every day (and at every opportunity) to ensure that shortcuts aren't taken that impact lives. ere really is enough time to do it safely and correctly." If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be? Greenfield was straight to the point: "Learn from your mistakes. Even better, learn from others' mistakes. And don't repeat them! Last year, I was asked to give a presentation on coating failures and while preparing for it, I realized that the mistakes made today are pretty much the same mistakes that continually have been repeated for the past 30 years." What are your biggest lessons learned in your career that can help others in the industry succeed? McNeil said, "Get as much formal train- ing by qualified trainers in all aspects of the coatings business as you can Marc Chavez Malcolm McNeil Phil Scisciani 15 Years of Industry Insight