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A Note from the NWSCT President

We have recently wrapped up our last monthly meeting of the 2012/2013 NWSCT season with our annual Education Symposium, featuring a Mattiello award winning presentation from Dr. Dean Webster of North Dakota State University. The meeting was held at Valspar on April 17th and included lunch. The meeting was also attended by 6 current students at NDSU. We will now host golf outings in June and September and then resume monthly meetings in October.

I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the current state of our organization. We began the new NWSCT season last fall with the goal of improving the value of our organization to the coatings industry in Minnesota. Around the country similar groups have seen declining membership, declining attendance at meetings and thus a declining impact on their local coatings industry. We didn't want that to be the case here in Minnesota and at least for the time being it doesn't seem to be. We were fortunate to add over 20 new members this year and the average meeting attendance increased by over 40%. That suggests that we are headed in the right direction. Despite consolidation over the years there are still 29 companies in Minnesota that manufacture coatings or very similar materials. This is a solid base which should be able to benefit from the support of our trade group if we are doing things right.

The NWSCT is focused on improving the education of its members as a means to help maintain and improve the strength of our local industry. One of the priorities we had this year was to provide a variety of technical presentations, that when taken together, would represent a valuable base of information for meeting attendees. We had presenters discuss rheology agents for waterbased coatings, the impact of GHS on our business, the current requirements for biocides, a review of new paint testing equipment, an overview of new polysiloxane chemistry for coatings, the status of alkyd dispersion resin technology, an update on microspheres and their benefits in coatings and the Mattiello presentation on the use of sustainable based raw materials in coatings. Taken as a whole that is a considerable amount of information about issues currently impacting our industry. We plan to carefully select presenters for next year and into the future as well.

We have kept annual membership fees modest ($25 per person) as well as the cost of monthly meetings ($15, which essentially covers the cost of lunch) in hopes of attracting as many people as possible. We have scheduled our meetings over lunch to minimize the amount of time that members have to be away from work. Something new this year is that we made electronic copies of each of the presentations available to members.

The good news is that all of our members and potential members benefit from a stronger, healthier coatings industry. However, we need your continued support if we are going to have a positive impact on our local coatings industry moving forward. That support includes membership and meeting attendance but it also includes receiving input on what is working and not working as well as what additional value a group like ours can provide in the future. Separately you will receive a brief survey asking you for input about how you think we could make NWSCT an even more valuable organization. Please give this some thought as we value your opinion. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help support our efforts this year. We look forward to seeing you on the golf course this spring and summer and a success year next year.

Bob Erickson

President, NWSCT