The REAL Santa Claus in Birmingham’s History

By David Hood, Induron CEO

It’s December, 1947. It has been six years since the “day that lived in infamy,” the war is over and mankind is beginning to return to “normal.” The Industrial Paint Company, Inc. (which would later become Induron Coatings) is about six months old.

Christmas is approaching, and my dad decided to put lights on the house to celebrate — something not conceivable during wartime. He was on the roof of our 3-2 frame house on a 50 foot lot wearing a red jumpsuit when someone drove by and exclaimed, “That looks like Santa Claus!!!” Continue reading

Striving for Zero Defects

David D. Hood, President, Induron Coatings

“Zero Defects!” So proclaimed a huge sign over the entrance to Lockheed Martin‘s production facility in Marietta, GA. It was 1966, and I was a newly minted junior engineer doing structural analysis on the forward bulkhead of the C-5A Galaxy. It seemed pretty obvious that defects in manufacturing an aircraft capable of lifting 800,000 pounds into the air were not well tolerated. Continue reading

Why Industry Involvement Makes Induron Better

By David Hood

I was four years old when my dad William Hood and Louis Prosch started The Industrial Paint Company, Inc. – now Induron Coatings, LLC – in 1947.  That was a long time ago!

Some of my earliest memories of “the business” (not “the factory” – that fascinated me from the first day I saw it) are dinners at home with paint industry people from faraway places like Atlanta, Louisville, Madison and Washington, DC. I thought they were amazing, the most worldly people I ever saw. My mom and dad seemed to enjoy the relationships and the conversations went on long after my bedtime. Many years later, I discovered what had been going on. Continue reading

The Learning Curve

By David Hood, Induron CEO

Junior AchievementBack in the 1990s, I taught a Junior Achievement class to eighth graders at Tarrant Middle School, here in the Birmingham area. This was not the “project” many people associate with Junior Achievement, but an actual 50-minute class once a week for an entire semester with curricula offered by Junior Achievement. The regular Social Studies teacher remained in the classroom to help, but it was truly a “teaching experience” for me.

Tarrant is a “working class,” mixed-race suburb of Birmingham, and my classes consisted of boys, girls, black, white, motivated, not-motivated kids, just as you would expect. Some were from single-parent homes and some were from homes with both mom and dad. But many of them hadn’t had the advantages that other kids their age have had.

I started teaching this class not knowing what to expect, but soon found that most of these kids were bright, inquisitive and really interested in economics and “home business” (how I described balancing a checkbook, creating and sticking to a budget, paying taxes and getting and keeping a job). Continue reading

True Investment in Infrastructure – It’s Worth the Effort

By Davies Hood, Induron President

As we approach the November elections in our politically-charged atmosphere, we’ve been hearing a lot about “investing in infrastructure” from one side and “debt reduction” from the other. In this article from Water & Waste Digest magazine, Benjamin Grumbles makes some suggestions that those in power should at least consider.

Although Mr. Grumbles speaks as the president of the Clean Water America Alliance (and when I hear that, I immediately think both “bureaucracy” and “lobbyist”), he writes in favor of such radical ideas as charging customers the true cost of water, promoting public/private partnerships in the water industry, and planning both water and wastewater infrastructure projects as part of the larger integrated community planning process. Not too radical when you think about it, right? Continue reading

The Good Old Days are Still Here at Induron

John Snow (left) & Willie Brown

by David Hood, Induron CEO

An old friend came by the other day and I really enjoyed seeing him. He reminded me of old times and the funny stories which run throughout Induron’s history. I won’t bore you with any of them here, but they are an important part of who we are as a company and as a group of friends.

John Snow, the gentleman on the left in this photo, worked here from 1956 until he retired in 1994. He clearly has good feelings toward his experience or he wouldn’t come by just to talk and re-live old times. Now, 38 years is a long time to be with one company. But the guy to John’s left is Willie Brown, who has been at Induron for 40 years. (We did a profile on Willie a few months ago on this blog.) And Willie’s dad, John, worked here also. Continue reading

From Space Frontiers to Water Tower Paint

By David Hood, Induron CEO

Sputnik

I remember well the afternoon of Oct. 4, 1957 – it was a big time in my life (and maybe yours too). I was somewhere between Gainsville, GA, and Birmingham, riding in the car with my dad. He had been in Gainsville for the weekend working as a volunteer “corner flagman” at an SCCA amateur sports car race. I was just a 14-year-old kid, amazed at the cars and men (and a few women) who drove them.

On that particular late afternoon, we were listening to the evening news when a strange “beep, beep, beep” sound came over the radio. It was a sound that changed almost everything in my future.

It was Sputnik!

The radio announcer explained that the Russians had launched a rocket that carried a device into orbit around the earth, where it would stay for a very long time with no further “push” and send radio signals until the battery went dead.

I was – and have been ever since – fascinated by all things mechanical. I was also (then and ever since) a red-blooded patriotic American, and I was not going to stand by and do nothing while those Russians were beating us technologically! That night I decided I was going to engineering school. I think many other Americans made the same decision, because, as you know, we developed a far superior and much more sophisticated space program than did anyone else on the world. Continue reading

From Pencil and Paper to Computers

By David Hood, Induron CEO

I have said before that Induron has old buildings. We do. And in thinking about the history of this company, I’m reminded of something else we have that’s old – our “batch books,” or log of production batches. Believe it or not, we still have the very first batch book. The original batch (batch No. 1) of paint we made was for 10 gallons of TT-P-86 Red and was recorded in pencil by my dad, Induron founder William E. Hood. We still keep batch books today, however, now they’re in electronic form.

That original batch of paint went through the same process we use on our paint today – it was recorded in the batch book and went through quality assurance. Every batch of paint we’ve made over the past 65 years has gone through the same process.

Each batch of paint we make is tested in our Quality Control Lab to verify that its properties meet the standards set for that product by its formulator and/or our customer. The results of the tests are recorded on a record card, on the original batch record and into the computer for statistical analysis. The documents and artifacts (draw-downs, color match data, sag charts, etc.) are attached to the batch ticket and filed away. That way, if we have need to question the field performance or properties of a product, we can go back to the original record to help resolve questions.

In addition to the above, we keep a pint of the paint as a “retain” sample. These “retains” are kept for a period of time sufficient to address any and all needs (about three years), so we can help resolve potential questions. Continue reading

Induron: Keeping You From Looking like a Dummy

By David Hood, Induron CEO

By David Hood, Induron CEO

Nobody likes to look like an dummy. Especially you.

Now, Induron can’t keep you from looking like an dummy if you install a ceiling fan and forget to cut off the electricity at the breaker box.  Or if you try your wife’s yoga class.  Or if you dress up like the back end of a horse for Halloween.

But we CAN help prevent it if you work with us on a project. Let me explain.

When we say that we’re with you before, during and after a project, we don’t just mean that we’re standing there, hovering over you, watching you work (because that would be strange). We mean that our sales reps want to ensure that the owner of the project is pleased. Continue reading