It's something new, something old, something bought, and something very big, as this month we profile four shops which have different backgrounds and strategies in the finishing and coating industry, and each have their own place in the industry.

Something new starts with Hirschi Powder Coating in Las Vegas, where Tim Durkin was hired in late 2020 to build and install a new powder coating operation for parent company Hirschi Iron, which fabricates and builds metal fencing for residential and commercial customers.

Durkin explains how he had to get the space and the equipment right to get his new powder coating team ready for the new work that was coming it's way.

"Their previous space was very tight, and they were tripping over each other," he says. "Now, they can build 30-foot sections of fencing with ease. There is a lot of space to do what they all do best."

Something old takes a look at Seminole Metal Finishing in Florida, which owner Elliott Blackwelder opened in 1987. He remains president of the company but now works with his son Jonathan in the hopes of turning over the company to him in the future. Their facility was custom built as an electroplating facility and has been their home since 1993.

Blackwelder got his start in the finishing industry while attending college when he took a job at an Orlando area plating shop as a line worker.

"I was a business major, so I didn't really know anything about the plating industry," Blackwelder says. "But it was a great job because I was working until 3:30 p.m., then I was able to go home, shower, and go to school."

Something bought profiles the new owners of the former A.M. Metal Finishing in Orlando, which was purchased by Elite Metal Finishing in Oxnard, California, to serve their aerospace clients on the Eastern seaboard.

"We really want to be more involved in the space market and exploration," says Joel Clemons, Director of Quality and a Managing Member of EMF. "If It's anything to do with rockets and satellites, and we want to support our customers and the industry by following it out here to Florida."

And something very big is our feature on Chicago's Gatto Industrial Finishing, which several years ago installed what it calls its King Kong zinc plating line that has 27-foot long tanks and cranes that can lift up to 8,000 pounds.

Company president George Gatto Jr. says it is one of the largest zinc electroplating lines in the U.S., if not the largest.

"It gives us the capability to zinc plate extra-long or heavy parts that nobody else can while maintaining our same high level of quality and service with quick turnaround times," says Gatto.

The finishing and coating industry is comprised of businesses that are more than 100 years old and those that just opened a few weeks ago. It is ever-evolving and changing, always for the better, I feel.

The four shops we profile this month are a snapshot of that philosophy and one reason the finishing and coating industry is stronger than ever.

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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