Tucson, Ariz., March 25 -- There was no escaping harsh realities at the National Paint and Coatings Association's recent Industrial Coatings Conference here.
For one thing, the weather was decidedly un-desert-like. Eastern- or Midwestern-based paint-company executives longing for a break from chilly weather were greeted by cold, gray skies over the desert of southern Arizona. Heavy rains doused any chance for a case of sunburn, and the surrounding mountain peaks were coated with a late-winter blanket of snow.
And for another, the program arranged by the NPCA provided plenty of reminders that the industry continues to face some major challenges posed by regulations, the economy and health-care costs, to name a few.
The message that the industry has its work cut out for it came early, courtesy of the NPCA'S Industrial Coatings Committee chairman, Joe Quinn of Grow Group, Inc.
Quinn, updating attendees on the activities of the Industrial Coatings Committee, announced that the committee's fall meeting, traditionally at the Greenbrier, a resort location in West Virginia, will move to Washington, D.C. The more "business-oriented venue in the capital and a "legislative action" theme will focus attention on Capitol Hill. Reauthorization of the Superfund law will be a top item on the list of issues paint-company representatives hope to discuss with lawmakers, Quinn said.
Quinn's remarks were followed by other reminders of the hurdles faced by the industry in the leaner, meaner 1990s. Featured speakers talked of the constantly growing need to make quality a top priority, particularly in the face of intense competition from domestic and foreign companies. And a sobering look at the health-care cost juggernaut was provided during the second day of the conference.
But there was good news, too. Economist Charles Reeder, a long-time fixture at Industrial Coatings Conference gatherings, brought word that the nation's nagging recession was about to ease its grip, and happier days were imminent. (See accompanying story).
Committee priority: A revamped Superfund
Quinn, in remarks opening the conference, said the committee's recently formed …