Image Source: PPG
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For more than a century, PPG has worked to transform the paint and coatings industry with leading-edge technologies that meet the changing needs of consumers, manufacturers and the world.
What drives this culture of innovation is PPG’s global, company-wide commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity, a focus that is expanding opportunities for women in industrial coatings.
Globally, women represent 29 percent of the industrial coatings personnel, a ratio that will continue to grow
The rising number and influence of women in the industrial coatings powder business is a testament to PPG’s focus on inclusivity and the value of gender diversity.
“It is well proven that a diverse workforce leads to better ideas, innovation and results,” said Courtney Jungjohann Deemer, PPG powder coatings’ global business director and a 15-year veteran in the industry. “Diversity on our powder team allows us to have a wider range of creative ideas and a better understanding of our customers’ needs, enabling us to develop the best possible solutions for them.”
As the manager of industrial coatings’ global powder technology platform, Kathryn Shaffer agrees. “Women are a huge part of the customer base for powder products, whether it be for office furniture, appliances or the automotive segments. By employing women in powder innovation, development and marketing roles, we ensure that their collective customer voices are reflected in the creation and promotion of new products.”
By recruiting, promoting and advancing more women, PPG leadership is building a diversified team poised to accelerate growth, create new sustainable solutions and make inroads into new markets. The move will also give women greater influence and representation in the industry, a change that is long overdue.
“The lack of female representation at powder conferences and meetings is very noticeable,” Kathryn continued. “Within the PPG powder family, however, many of our technical and commercial leaders are women, including within my own team.”
With a focus on building a more diverse workforce, PPG is forging new paths for women in powder, including greater opportunities for the next generation of young girls pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
One way that PPG furthers these efforts is by supporting a Powder Coatings Institute scholarship. The scholarship educates undergraduate and graduate-level students, including many women, on powder coating technologies.
PPG’s Anne Banuls, EMEA powder business manager, believes the future for women in powder is brighter and more important than ever.
“When I started in the powder industry 25 years ago as a laboratory manager, I was the only woman and I was managing 30 men.” She continued, “When I considered joining PPG a year or so ago, I was impressed with the number of women in powder coatings, especially compared to industry competitors and current industry norms.”
A 33-year PPG veteran, Shelley Verdun has broken gender barriers, first as one of only a few females in her college chemistry program and then with PPG where today she serves as powder coatings’ business manager, Americas region.
Shelley’s plans to become a teacher changed her senior year when she attended a career fair and met a PPG employee who praised the company and the opportunities for scientists with it.
That encounter not only piqued Shelley’s interest in PPG, but served as the touchpoint that launched her storied career as a PPG chemist.
The Growing Power of Powder
With an extensive background in liquid coatings that spanned more than 25 years, Shelley’s career path took yet another unexpected turn when her responsibilities shifted to powder.
Today, what appeals to her most about the powder industry is the growing global demand for more sustainable coatings solutions, a need that is driving new job opportunities.
“Now is the perfect time for young, aspiring scientists and businesswomen to pursue careers in the industry – powder coatings is a great place to be,” she exclaimed.
Monica Huerta, PPG powder coatings’ global manufacturing director, also shares this positive outlook for powder.
“Despite the COVID pandemic challenges, PPG powder coatings had a prosperous 2020,” she stated. “Additionally, the projected global increase in demand in multiple markets, potential new environmental regulations and interest in safer practices bode well for growth of our powder technology advancements. I encourage ALL to be part of the journey.”