Frank Altmayer always wanted to be an architect, but a change of direction became a benefit for the finishing industry.
“I graduated from high school in Chicago and was hoping to be an architect, but things didn’t work out too well,” Altmayer says. “My mom told me to get a job, so I signed up with an employment agency, and they found me a job at Scientific Control Laboratories.”
Years later, Altmayer went on to own SCL and has been a mentor and instructor for many in the finishing industry for many years to follow.
Altmayer is a Master Surface Finisher and an AESF Fellow who is the technical education director of the AESF Foundation and NASF, as well as the most recent edition of FinishingAndCoating.com’s Legend series.
He owned Scientific Control Laboratories from 1986 to 2007 and has 45 years of experience in metal finishing.
Owning Scientific Control Laboratories in 1992
When he first started at SCL, the lab manager left to take a position at a job shop, and Altmayer convinced the owner to give him the job, even though he didn’t have a college degree at that time.
“He just said as long as you keep working towards it, you can manage the laboratory,” says Altmayer, who did get his degree in 1974.
Soon after, Altmayer was instrumental in a research project for a client that ended up revolutionizing how ECG electrodes were made. His reward for this discovery allowed him to buy into SCL.
“By 1986, I owned 40% of the company, and 100% by 1992,” he says. “I ran it until 2006 and sold it to two of my employees at that time.”
Since then, Altmayer has been a consultant and became technical education director of the AESF Foundation and NASF, where he has taught electroplating courses for over 40 years.
“What I like most about teaching is when you talk to a group, and some light bulbs go off, and they get all excited,” he says. “Once in a while, you get a callback, and they tell you, ‘That worked,’ and I’m so grateful. It’s always fun seeing students get excited about a subject that’s really dry and hard to relate to, and I get a kick out of that.”