This year marks the CSCT’s 101st year and happens to be the most tumultuous of our lifetimes. I am honored to be your president and help navigate through this unprecedented time. When I was approaching my term and thoughts about addressing the membership, I had expected to be writing about the changes in the coating industry I’ve witnessed in my 25+ years in the industry and what the future may bring. Never did I image being in the midst a dangerous pandemic! The novel coronavirus, Covid 19 has drastically changed our lives. Many of us moved to working from home, not being able to visit friends and family-let alone customers or suppliers. Those working for essential industries continued to go into their workplace such as labs and production sites, putting themselves and their families at risk. Most events and gatherings had to be cancelled and we learned to navigate in a virtual world with WebEx, Zoom, and other platforms. The coatings industry was impacted in many ways, some areas experiencing growth such as products for home improvement and sanitation, while others such as automotive and aerospace suffered. As with everyone, the CSCT is having to adjust our programs and path forward. Being flexible has been key as we try to plan for events and pivot quickly as we face actions to keep everyone safe.
The start of quarantine in March left us uncertain about so many events. Our CSCT board debated about our annual Past President Award banquet in May. This is the event with all our past presidents, board and members, to honor and thank our outgoing president, welcome our new president and announce our new board. We also award our scholarships and grants to local universities, DePaul and Purdue University Northwest. As with so many, our hopes that the virus would be under control and we may soon return to having gatherings were dashed and we cancelled the event. So, let me take this opportunity to thank Kathryn Carroll (nee Felgenhauer) for her leadership and service as the 2019-2020 President. Kathryn led us through our 100th year with an outstanding program of educational and networking events highlighted with the unforgettable 100-year anniversary party at the Eaglewood Resort with amazing food, prizes and entertainment. We so appreciate that chance to celebrate together with our members and spouses. Please check out the pictures on our Facebook if you haven’t already.
I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce our Executive Board for 2020/2021; Kelsey Waughon, our Vice President and the Social committee chair, Simonida Grubjesic, our Treasurer, Tom Whiting, who graciously stepped up to Secretary and our new Member at Large, Michelle Bauer. John Cox continues to be our second member at large and last, but by no means least, Yucel Tavolara continuing as our Membership Chair.
I would also like to thank all the ongoing support and commitment of our committee chairs, Mike Beland, Thor Jondahl, Herb Waltenspiel, Mike Liang, Guy Lopez and Nathan Kofira.
Our board met virtually for the first time in our history in June for our transition meeting to plan the upcoming year of total uncertainty. As the summer months brought easing of restrictions as the virus waned, we were able to host our annual golf outing in Aug (about a month later than originally planned). A big thanks to Herb Waltenspiel for taking on the event on this year. As most trade shows, including our annual Coating Trends and Technologies show (CTT) moved to a virtual event, the golf outing proved to be a great way to see and connect with our members. (Photos up now on the gallery page)
October was the start of the technical dinner talks and prior there was much discussion within our board and our sister societies on how to proceed. I talked with the president of the NWSCT in MN, with WPCA, the St Louis and Pittsburgh societies. It was one of many positive signs of the times where people were reaching out to each other for thoughts and ideas. After much consideration, the CSCT decided to try a virtual/ in-person hybrid meeting in-compliance with current guidelines and restrictions. A big thank you to Robert Sandoval of EPS for coming out to Weber Grill in Schaumburg to give a valuable talk about balancing properties in waterborne DTM coatings. It was very exciting to simultaneously broadcast our first virtual talk via WebEx. Minor glitches aside, it was a success and great to see our members at home as well as in person! The added benefit of this format is the talks can be viewed “on demand” for up to one year if you register ahead of the event. Thanks also to Kelsey for setting up and hosting the WebEx as well as posting the talks.
Our November meeting was planned to be virtual/ in-person hybrid but cold and flu season brought back a resurgence and need for social restrictions again. We surveyed our membership and had great participation; 64 responses with overwhelming feedback to do a virtual only technical talk. Our thanks to Linda Adamson from Solvay for giving a very educational discussion on formulating water-based coating with APEO-free and Low/0 VOC additives. We had been holding some hope for the annual joint holiday party with CPCA but had to cancel due to rising cases and for the safety of all. There is some thought about trying an April or summer event instead-so stay tuned.
As we near the end 2020, I can’t help but feel grateful for our society and members and have a new sense of appreciation for everything we took for granted in the past such as tradeshows, meetings, events and the, now rare, opportunity to meet each other in person!
Certainly, the start of 2021 will be a continuation of these challenges. Again, with much consideration, we decided to post-pone our joint biennial coatings course with the CPCA- the Windy City Course which was slated for April of 2021. The WCCC committee will meet via Zoom in January to determine the new date, tentatively in Spring of 2022. We do need volunteers so if you are interested please contact me, Thor Jondahl or anyone on the board.
We will continue to meet as a board virtually for the next several months and adjust events as needed for the remainder of the CSCT season. Our monthly technical “dinner” meetings will continue to be planned for the second Monday of the month and be either hybrid in-person/virtual or virtual only as needed. Please visit our events page for information.
“You be the Chemist”, the scholastic event, will also move to a virtual only format and is scheduled for early March. Scholarships will continue and the deadline to submit Merit Scholarship applications is March 15, 2021. One thing is certain as we face the future: The CSCT is committed to continue to foster the coating industry by providing education and networking opportunities for our current and future membership with technical talks, scholarship opportunities, investment in universities and scholastic events. In return we ask that you stay involved, please share ideas for meeting topics, events or activities with any Board member. And please volunteer. We will be having some openings for committee heads next year. If you would like to volunteer your time, to help this worthy Society, please let a member of the board know. The more volunteers we have, the better we can be! I, along with the entire CSCT Board, thank you and look forward to seeing you, if only virtually, at an upcoming event in 2021!
Kathie Hacek-Catlett 2020-21 CSCT President Univar Solutions