Story of a Photo: What I Learned on a Cold Day in Chicago

By: Jamie Laird, Induron Sales Representative

Jamie Laird SSPCAbout 5 or 6 years ago, I began teaching Concrete Coating Inspection classes for SSPC because of my passion for preparing and coating concrete. When I took the class about 10 years ago, it changed my career path and led me in new directions. As I focused increasingly more on the three main market segments for concrete coatings (floors, tanks and infrastructure), I became aware of just how much ingenuity and knowledge is required of the applicators of these products. 

I witnessed a subset of industrial applicators that showed a deep understanding of the substrate as well as its unique attitudes and characteristics. I would have some of these applicators in my inspection classes, but I always wished there was a class or certification designed especially for them.

When Dustin Young and the folks at SSPC approached me a few years ago to help develop and teach a class focused on the concrete coating APPLICATORS instead of inspectors, I jumped at the chance. After hard work, countless emails and many meetings, we were finally ready to roll out the program and introduce it to a few students. 

On a cold day in December of 2018 (it was actually my 46th birthday), we gathered with a group of students from the Chicago area. We outlined the four-day curriculum and spent the week splitting our time between classroom lectures and hands-on training. It was the first time I taught the class and presented the curriculum to a live group of students. We talked about standards, preparation, coatings, and application. We ground concrete, blasted it, and put coatings down with rollers and sprayers.Concrete Coatings Application Training

The photo above of me and a student outside of the training center in the western suburbs of Chicago was captured while we reviewed a coating survey and discussed the next steps in our inspection plan to ensure a proper job. The student was as eager to learn as I was to instruct. 

This industry has been so good to me, and I appreciate all of the help that so many have offered me. It’s my pleasure to give back to the next generation by trying to impart some of the knowledge that has been so graciously handed down to me throughout my career. 

That photo, which has now been used as a sketch in various SSPC marketing materials, captures me at my best: I’m earnestly trying to elevate our industry by working with people who want to be more informed and educated. 

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