There were no candles to blow out, no cake to eat, no singing "He's a Jolly Old Fellow" or anything like that.

Just a Padron cigar was all I needed to mark the third anniversary of the launch of, which was borne in August 2020.

As we start the fourth year of our publication, it also marks the 14th year of my covering the finishing and coating industry.

I started writing about plating, anodizing, powder coating, and all the rest of the processes back in 2010. I knew nothing about anything, and it took me a good two years before I even felt confident enough to have a conversation with anyone in the industry without feeling I was an imposter.

But one thing that I have learned early on along the way is to shut up and listen to the people who know what they are talking about. That is one way to get more insight into what is happening in the industry and also to hear what is important to the people who work in the industry every day.

I often get comments from readers who compliment me on having a deep insight into the industry and the happenings. Actually, it is all gleaned from having very simple conversations with those in the industry: the shop owners who will tell you what affects their bottom line or the manager who gives you insight on the latest trends and technologies. I am simply repeating what I have been told and verified, and that often leads me in directions that — in turn — help readers get a better understanding of those things that will influence their business, whether it be the latest technology or industry trends. It's a pretty job when you think about it — just writing down what others tell you — but it has been extremely fulfilling, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

The admiration for the people who sign paychecks, who buy supplies, who talk a customer down off the ledge on the smallest of issues has grown tremendously in the last 14 years.

The past 14 years of covering the finishing and coating industry have given me a new respect for what makes up the U.S. of A. Before, I don't think I knew a person who owned a business, and to be more specific, a person who had to meet payroll twice a month and was responsible for the employment of so many people — and, by extension, their families.

When I began talking to shop owners and managers across the country, I began to realize what a huge weight is on the shoulders of these women and men who run these finishing and coating companies. A lot of what they have to deal with on a regular basis — whether it be difficult customers, retaining customers, finding employees, or keeping local, state, and federal regulators off their backs — is not something that a lot of people know that it takes to run a business. I certainly did not.

The admiration for the people who sign paychecks, who buy supplies, who talk a customer down off the ledge on the smallest of issues has grown tremendously in the last 14 years.

When I decided to start some three years ago, it was those owners and managers whom I had in mind to write about, as well as to write for. If there is something I can write about to help them production-wise or any helpful tips I can have our technical columnists cover, then I know the job we are doing here is well worth the effort.

Thanks for 14 years and for letting me educate and inform you.

Tim Pennington, Editor-in-chief

TPennington 3Tim Pennington is Editor-in-Chief of Finishing and Coating, and has covered the industry since 2010. He has traveled extensively throughout North America visiting shops and production facilities, and meeting those who work in the industry. Tim began his career in the newspaper industry, then wound itself between the sports field with the PGA Tour and marketing and communications firms, and finally back into the publishing world in the finishing and coating sector. If you want to reach Tim, just go here.

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