In our exclusive interview with Kevin Coursin, executive director of the Powder Coating Institute, we reveal current and future trends for the global coatings market. He’s here to paint a broader outlook to the powder coating market and discuss what its like to be in this industry.



RossKote (Kim Scott): Today. We’re talking about the state of our industry. With someone who has their hands, knee deep in it. Kevin Coursin is the executive director of the Powder Coating Institute. He’s here to share some insights and highlights from the recent annual meeting. I’d like to tease out from him, some of the broader strokes, from the data he presented. In the hopes of giving you a bigger picture of our industry and what it may mean for you.

RossKote (Kim Scott): So how long have you been working in the industry and how did you get started?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): I’ve actually been in the paint industry for 38 years now. Long time ago after I graduated from college with my engineering degree, I started working at one of the general motors assembly plants and being just a plant engineer, working on various projects.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): My boss came up to me after two years and said, Kevin, I got good news giving you a 10% raise; and I was extremely happy with that. He says, but you’re going third shift. You’re going to be the maintenance supervisor and the paint shop. And that’s how I was introduced to paint. Now it was liquid paint. It wasn’t powder back then that they had, but I learned a lot about the processes about the equipment and what it took to maintain it.

Industry insider kevin coursin on the powder coater podcastKevin Coursin (PCI): So it was quite an education for two years. After that the came up to me and said, Hey, Kevin, you’re an engineer and you’re in paint. There’s a new plant we’re building in Michigan, we would like you to transfer over there, give you a promotion and you’re going to install a new paint shop.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And I went and took it. Then it was again, quite an education that we had put together and working with a group. And then I learned how to design, how to build and manage putting it all in and starting it up. After that the market wasn’t as good in the automotive market. So I decided to change a little bit of direction, and I went to work for one of the system houses as a project manager and worked at myself into a general manager sales, and eventually became president of KMI systems.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So I’ve done a lot over the years. Just recently here in beginning of February, I started at the Powder Coating Institute is the executive director.

RossKote (Kim Scott): That’s quite an exciting career. And I find that most of the people that have been in it as long as, 30 plus years or more 40 y’all kind of start in late.

RossKote (Kim Scott): And it all happens with that. And then it moves into powder. Would you agree?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Yeah, I think it depends which, which direction you, that you go into. I, again, when I first started there really that’s when powder coating was really at its infancy, so it wasn’t as much out there. And the automotive had been primary liquid, so that’s where my experience came.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Then when I came over and started working in the system’s houses. That’s where I started learning about powder and both in just regular powder paint. I learned about powder porcelain enamel but also did some liquid systems as well. Did multiple, different types of systems depending on what the customer would wanted to install at the plant.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): I had a very broad education on a lot of paint equipment.

RossKote (Kim Scott): So PCI recently had their annual meeting on the state of power coating, but is there anything that stood out to you from the data that really intrigued you the most?


Kevin Coursin (PCI): I think on the overall market data that it was there. When you see it globally the powder market itself is little over $10.4 billion.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And it sounds like a huge number by itself, but when you compare it against all the other types of coatings that are out there, whether it’s a house paint, auto, refinish, trailers, industrial market, that type of thing; it’s only just a little under 7% of the overall coatings market.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): The largest market itself out there is really the decorative, which is really the house paint with external and internal. That liquid paint type thing is the biggest market itself. So when you compare powder to just that it sounds like, we’re only a tiny little sliver. But when you compare the powder coating to other industrial liquid coating, which is only about 8% of the market, or wood liquid coating is 7%.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So that’s exactly the same as powder. But powder even exceeds the auto OEM original equipment suppliers or manufacturers use of it. And the auto refinish is about 6%. When you compare the powder to those other type markets, we have been growing over the years and have taken more and more of it.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So it is still a growing market.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. I found that right off the cuff, I found that really intriguing and encouraging too. Now on slide 11. In 2019, North America and Europe had negative growth rates. And that was the automotive production, black construction market and a flat manufacturing environment is what this slide is talking about.

RossKote (Kim Scott): And I found that really intriguing because, they were seeing that we were headed for a slowdown in late 2019, but no one really knew what the news articles were referencing. And really you can say that powder was already giving us an indicator that we were heading for a slowdown. Would you agree with that?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Yeah, I would. And what was defined there was, it was working more on the annual basis. But if you would have broken it down and the data that they had on the quarterly basis, you could see that at the beginning of 19, things were moving along pretty well, but it definitely tailed down at the end of 2019.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): You could see that on a quarterly basis. So it was a pretty good indicator of things that we’re up and coming.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, just to continue on this slide 12, and I don’t want to drill down too deep because some of the smaller coaters like ourselves, we’re not really experiencing too much of a slow down locally.

RossKote (Kim Scott): I think that the larger coaters or industrial coaters and line coaters. They are probably the ones that are being affected more on the higher points in the market. Which they’re just basically saying that we were down 1.5%. And overall the year will be down anywhere from 5 to 15%, which is pretty much in line with what national projections are for America in general for the economy.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Correct.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Yeah. And again it can vary by market and like you said, some of the markets that you’re in, you haven’t seen as large of a hit, but in some of the markets that if you were dealing directly for an automotive supplier as a tier one or tier two, and that was a bulk of your work.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And they took a really big hit in quarter two this year because they had shut down all the assembly plants. So they definitely took a larger hit then there. But the overall average, when you take them all into account, it’s probably 10 to 15% down from the market, but again, some are doing better.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Some are not doing as well. So it really is how diversified you are or how tight you are to a single market.

RossKote (Kim Scott): I think one of my favorite slides, is slide 20 because it really starts to dig down deeper into the overall custom coater market. And I was shocked by this figure on this slide, when it basically said that globally, there are over 42,000 custom powder coaters out there. Did that number shock you?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): It did shock me also. This was the first year that we had actually started breaking down for the custom coater market. And when I saw this slide, I had to call up the consultant company that was doing all the research for us and I questioned them on it. I said, really? And he said, yeah, that’s what they are finding.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And in North America by itself there was over 6,000 that they had in just North America. And even that number, for just North America sounded quite large. Now what they don’t define is how large of a company it is. So that would include some of the very small, custom coater, little chop shops that are out there now.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): They might only be coating a few wheels at a time, but I think they’re included in those numbers. So sometimes that big number, you gotta take a little bit with a grain of salt and just do not dive down or, do a bigger breakdown into the size of the company. We hope to do that into next year.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): To try and get a better picture of the various sizes of custom coaters and how many there are in different markets and what the revenue in those markets would be.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. And just to note that on this slide, the definition of a custom coater, is a company that primarily custom coats. And that’s, if they are manufacturing a part and then powder coating it that part for another client, they’re not considered a custom (coater).

RossKote (Kim Scott): And they, on top of that, if they were to include those people, that number would double to the amount of custom powder coaters out there. That’s extraordinary.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Yeah, it is a big number. And it’s something, it just goes to show how large of a market it overall is. Even if you just break it down into the north America or the U S that there is quite a big group of those type companies out there.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Anybody into that market, or, you may think you have competitors, to say that you have 6,000 other ones, it can be a little bit leary. But again, we got to dig a little bit deeper into some of the numbers to break it down into size. Because there are some very large powder coaters, but there’s also some very small ones.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So breaking that range is going to be our next step to try and get a little bit better meaningful data.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, I think that’s going to be great for us all. And I really liked slide 21 because the majority of custom coaters are using stock colors and that’s like RALs, right?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Yeah, just the off the shelf, nothing special.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And if you think really when you get into a lot of the custom coaters, they’re offering a slate to a bunch of companies or people, if they want something done special and they’re not going to custom and get a formulation because they’re only spraying so small amount of it.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And I think that’s where, the stock colors are pretty much the standard for them to use.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. Now on the same side, it says, certifications play some role in the process. Are they talking about like PCI ones only, or just all kinds of certifications that are out there.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): No, there are a number of certifications that are out there.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): PCI is one of them that we have on the market. There are some others that can be done. And in fact, even some manufacturers have what they call their certification program. If you’re coating a product directly for them, they may have their spec and they’ll come in, even audit the facility to make sure that you are meeting a certification. So it can depend a little bit. There’s a lot of certification requirements out from the department of transportation in a lot of states. You have to get a certification. One might be from PCI, or it could be from one of the other areas that they may have, in order to be able to coat and provide product to them.

RossKote (Kim Scott): After this presentation was over. I started to think about what was presented on the slides and what it all meant for me, which is why I prompted to call you for an interview because I wanted to know. With powder supplies and global supply chains at risk now regarding China and the economy right now facing all nations, not just some, but all.

RossKote (Kim Scott): What does that mean for me as a powder coater? Especially a small guy. Is it going to be harder for me to get powder someday is pricing going to go up? What does that mean?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): I guess that can be always a potential issue that could have occure of getting, and it may be a particular color because there is a raw material that might be coming from China.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And there’s a, if it’s a political dispute, there may be a short break in the action when, while they’re trying to solve it. It could be also from shipping standpoint how long it might take to be able to get some of those colors. It is an issue that’s out there. But I still think overall the world has gotten smaller and everybody has to sell to other people.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So there may be some short term as the politicians deal with issues. But overall, we want to sell to China and China wants to sell to us so it still does everybody good to keep the commerce sorta speak flowing.

RossKote (Kim Scott): I agree with that. I hope it does mean that. And because in the end, people are just people, we all want to do and continue about our business. So now the other part of this that got me thinking was like this reshoring of manufacturing in the United States. With potentiality of shortness in the market. What does this reshoring in manufacturing, I don’t even know if you could speak on it, or if much about it.

RossKote (Kim Scott): What does it all mean for us here? If you can comment on it.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): We definitely have seen a number of companies come in to do reshoring and bringing manufacturing back to the states. I think a lot has to do that, when there were a lot of these global companies were able to bring their money that they had over back into the states.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): They’re doing more investment here. Some of the issues that you were talking about the global supply chain disruptions. They feel if they bring it back here, they have more control over it. So they’re hedging their bet a little bit to bring it here. So I think you’re going to see more of that continue.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Again, once we can get through the pandemic side that we have here, that’s put a little bit of pause on some things, but I think you’ll see it pick back up again. Bringing more manufacturing plants into the states.

RossKote (Kim Scott): I think it will be positive for both the smaller guys growing bigger and maybe some of the other guys sharing some of those jobs for us. Now at Maui Powder Works, we’ve been a member of PCI since 2017. And we joined primarily because it’s a late legislative body because we felt that it was important for us to become part of a greater community of coaters as well as to uphold, higher standards in the industry in terms of coating and what we’re bringing about in our product line. But what is PCI and why should other custom coaters care?

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Kevin Coursin (PCI): The Powder Coating Institute, it is a group of suppliers and users that have come together.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Number one goal is that we want to grow the powder coating market itself. But in doing so we recognize that there’s steps that have to go along with it to make sure it happens. One of them is educating, PCI has a number of workshops and webinars. We work on standards. We have a events like the powder coating week that we put on again for education and where people can interact and network.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): We have our technical publications. We have the Powder Coating Tough magazine, which is exclusively published for the powder coating market itself, and lot of good articles, learning new things, how to to do some items there. We actually are working on the Fifth Edition of the Powder Coating Handbook.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): It’s in the final editorial revisions right now. And it looks like we’ll be releasing it in early January next year. And it’s upgraded with all the latest and greatest new technologies that are out there. A one-stop if your powder coater, and you want to learn something or learn, find out if you have a problem, you can go to it as a handbook.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Those are the big things that we want to work on from a PCI standpoint. The other thing we do is we do have our certification program. Again, we talked a little bit about it before, but it’s really a quality program. We want to make sure that the processes that are being used are being controlled and you’re doing what you say you’re going to do and have all the proper training and documentation.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So you can make sure you’re very consistent going through it. But I think in, for the end users that are certified. With the quality program they do get a more consistent and better quality out. It does save them money in the long run because they have less downtime and can produce more through the system itself.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. And I think one of the most or two of the most underrated things about PCI that maybe people know or don’t know is even if you’re not a member and you have a troubleshooting question or a problem that you need help solving in your powder line, you can actually write the Powder Coating Institute.

RossKote (Kim Scott): And you will actually help try to troubleshoot that problem for that coater. That’s true right?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Oh, yeah. We do get the inquiries in by email or there’s actually a contact us on our website and we get things in, I actually received one today and it does come to me.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So I’m the first person that looks at it. It happened to be from an architect and he had an issue on how it is to do some touch-up for powder coating product that was out in the field. And I was able to go out to some of our powder suppliers. With this particular issue, I get back some results from them. And then I send back and say here’s something that you can do.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Just one little example of what we do. And we get a number of them throughout the year.


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RossKote (Kim Scott): And I think the other underrated thing, or the thing that I was shocked, I learned this at the custom coater forum when I went a couple of years ago, is that you actually have this thing called, peer groups. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Oh, yeah, I am one of the facilitators for one of the groups, so I am intimately involved with it. And right now it’s jointly managed between the Powder Coating Institute and the Chemical Coaters A ssociation. But we have three groups, they’re built of up to 10 companies and we set them up so that they’re, noncompeting, they’re in different locations throughout the U.S.; different markets, but they all doing the one thing that’s common. They’re applying powder coating to products. So with that in mind, we meet twice a year, typically one of the companies hosts it and the other individuals come in there and it’s two days we’re at the plant.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): We actually do an audit. We walk around and put it into a paint term, it’s an unvarnished information back to the company of what they found and it’s meant to be informative and to help them. Likewise, when you are one of those individuals that you go to the plant and you do the audit, while you’re walking around, you may see something that you can go, that’s a great idea.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): I can take that and incorporate that back into my operation. And the individuals that have been part of this find is very good, both from a quality standpoint of learning new things, how to do it, but they also, then they come to know each other. Trust each other, so they can send out an email.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): I’ve got this kind of problem. Anybody experienced this before and get some information back from them. So it is a very good program, like I say, we have three groups right now. We are in the process of forming our fourth group. So we hoped we have several that have expressed interest and we hope to find enough more that the starting sometime in 2021, we can get that another group going.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah, I, of course everybody was trying to get me on their group because we were exceptional coaters. It was just that we were in Hawaii.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Stay with us. So they were like, oh no, you want to join my group? No, join my group.

RossKote (Kim Scott): But I really felt wow, this is this is so much more than what I had anticipated as being a member of PCI, was to have this opportunity to do that. And and get to know possibly other coaters that have been in the game a little longer than I have or bigger than me. And how can I scale my business to, it seemed intriguing to me, but also just, having that shoulder to lean on or get confident with, if they’re going to come in and take a look at what I have it keeps you on your toes, but I think it’s a great program that you guys need to maybe get out a little bit more because it seems interesting to be a member of that.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Yeah, we’ve only really got two years of it under our belt. This would have been the third year, but we’ve had to cancel both meetings the spring and the fall meetings because of the issues that we’ve had with the COVID this year. So really next year will be. I guess a repeat.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So we’ll call it year three still. So we are trying to grow it and we are trying to figure out how we can get the word out to people and we appreciate you bringing it up because I think with your podcast again, it’s just another way of getting the information out to people and maybe they’ll get interested to be able to find out some more about it.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. So now as executive director, I know this is a new role for you. What do you hope to accomplish, with PCI in the coming years or rather, what do you want?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): I guess as the executive director, I’ve got a couple items that are, number one, then two on my list is to grow the powder coating industry and increase membership for the Powder Coating Institute.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): But that’s just the, I think the ultimate goal, if we provide the service, I think all that will we’ll come with it, but we would like to, I want to add and improve the education webinars, things like that. And updating the Powder Coating Handbook, again, getting that out to our members so that they can use that to improve their equipment and their systems.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): I would like to, as you mentioned before, the peer group. We’d like to grow those to the more groups themselves, because we really think it’s important. And it’s a really nice thing for custom coaters to do. Increase the certifications, both for the custom coaters, as well as the OEMs. We think that’s a good quality program that’s really especially made for the powder coating industry. That is, probably very cost-effective overall from a training and learning and making sure that you can do it. And a lot of them use it from a marketing standpoint because they can say that they are certified and try and get additional business. The other areas that I think we’re going to be doing some more work in and we’ve started this year on, is trying to develop more into the alternative substrates, like wood and MDF or plastic and ceramics.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): We think powder coating can really grow into those markets which primarily had been done by in the liquid. But we can do it more efficiently. And then we’ve got a committee that’s dedicated to right now that we’re working on to develop some technical data, some brochures and everything on that.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): The other areas in the architectural market for all the architecture that’s coated and all that, the specifying that comes from architects. And we’re trying to work right now with another association. That’s specifically markets to those for developing specs. But they don’t have any spec whatsoever to talk about powder coating.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So as an industry, we’re going to work on it and hand it to them and say, insert this into your standards. And again, trying to get people to not only grow and choose powder, but also to do it right.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Now in 2021 in February 23rd through the 26th, in Orlando, Florida, you guys are going to have your custom coater forum. But incorporating in that is earlier on in the week and you guys have coating workshops. They’re powder coating 101 workshops. The basics is what this is called. And I went in 2018. I didn’t go to the workshop. I flew in as a presenter and just attended the custom coater forum.

RossKote (Kim Scott): But I was amazed at how many people were actually in that room getting and learning that powder coating 101. It was full.


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Kevin Coursin (PCI): Yeah we, in this past February we had 75 people that were in for that workshop alone. And it’s a two day workshop and that runs concurrent with the custom coater forum.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And again, there, we have typically around 40 to 50 custom coaters and there’s a whole set of speakers and tracks that are dedicated to the customer coater market and companies. And then some of it is business. Some of it is, we had some round table discussions and we also have some technical presentations and for 2021, we’ve got the program pretty well all set up and have some great speakers coming in.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And we’re going to be talking about certification and peer groups, again, just trying to educate those on there. We have someone coming in to talk about automation for custom coaters. We have another individual that’s gonna be talking about troubleshooting and different ways to do that and solve problems.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So we’re trying to tax different areas and be helpful and very meaningful for someone that’s coming in there to spend their time. After that we do have a two days that follow, which is we call our technical conferences and there we have papers on everything from batch coating, to automation, to new technologies.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So there’s a lot of different sessions that you can pick and choose which one you’re interested in going to, and while that’s going on, we do also have a, a tabletop exhibits that the suppliers will be there. I think we currently have 74 suppliers who hopefully gain a few more that are going to be coming in, during lunch hour, where lunch is served right among there.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): So you can eat and walk around and talk and network and learn what’s new from the various suppliers. Or if you got a problem, go see a supplier and he’d be probably more than willing to help you out.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. If you think it’s going to be boring, it’s not. I wasn’t sure what to expect that first year I went and it was amazing.

RossKote (Kim Scott): We had one speaker was from Mighty Hook. I can’t remember his name off the top of my head, but I was amazed that he had a solid hour, and it wasn’t boring at all. They went really fast and how he could talk about just hooks in an hour. He was a true expert. We’re not sponsored by Mighty Hook today, just so you know, I’m not pumping them in any way, but I was just floored, how much he could talk about hooks and all the different ways to use it.

RossKote (Kim Scott): So it’s cram packed. It’s always exciting. You get to meet the owners of the companies that are there. Steven from IFS and then they’re not just sitting up on a pedestal in their group. In the evenings, you go to the bar or the lobby and you get to have a personal conversation with them too.

RossKote (Kim Scott): It’s not cut and dry.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): And everyone that attends there, you do have the industry experts. So if you have some things or you want to learn some things, they’re there and believe me, most like myself, we all like to talk. So if you come up to them, they’ll share, they’ll help.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): They’ll do whatever you can. And come up to me and if someone’s got a problem, I can point out someone that you should probably go see and talk to, but it is a, great event. And it’s well worth the time there. And I know it’s a struggle for everybody to get out of their business to go to this.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): But believe me, it is worth while.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. And the location, the Renaissance hotel there, that was really nice. I was impressed. I really liked that hotel and it seemed like a lot of the coaters were going to meet their family later that week to go to, Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld and stuff like that.

RossKote (Kim Scott): So I think it’s a great location to have that.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Especially like individuals like myself that come from the Midwest. They have to go to Florida for a few days it’s pretty nice.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Yeah. Everybody was like, oh, don’t leave Kim. What do you mean you’re not staying for the technical conference? And I’m like, oh no, I didn’t know, there was this other thing. So I just came in for the custom coater thing, but everybody was like, no stay with us.

RossKote (Kim Scott): So I was bummed actually that I had to leave. But yeah I really enjoyed it and I look forward to next year to. It sounds like it’s might be happening. If the world doesn’t come to an end. It will happen. Thanks for joining us today, Kevin. I really learned a lot about, more about PCI, especially with the slides from the presentation. I thought it was it’s very nice of you guys to share this data. Others that may or may not be in PCI. So how can coaters get ahold of you, if they have questions?

Kevin Coursin (PCI): Probably the easiest way to get ahold of me would be to just send me an email.

Kevin Coursin (PCI): It’s Otherwise on the website, there is the office number that you can always reach me through that also.

RossKote (Kim Scott): That’s great. We’d also like to thank our supportive followers and fellow powder coaters out there. I hope you’ve learned something new about your powder coating business.

RossKote (Kim Scott): Please comment, share, or follow us on this podcast. And if you have a topic that you would like to discuss, just email us at

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