I left the International Paint Company rather unexpectedly one Thursday afternoon in April 1993, having spent a total of sixteen years working in the companies Aviation, Marine and Yacht Coatings divisions.
Whilst working for International (now Akzo Nobel) I was closely involved in the development and testing of many of the company's yacht coatings including the Gelshield epoxy system (launched in 1986), Schooner varnish, Perfection 709 and Interspray 800 polyurethane finishes and their associated base coats. Before joining International's Marine Division I had taken a four year gap from the company to work for Kremlin Spray Painting (SKM), a French company specialising in painting equipment for industry. This led to many fascinating projects ranging from painting trains and motor vehicles to automated spraying of Marmite droplets onto Twiglets and beeswax onto Opal Fruits to prevent adhesion to the conveyor. I also worked with and programmed some of the very first fully automated painting robots in Europe, with data stored on 8" floppy disks!
My final years with International Paint were spent as European Technical Manager (Yacht Coatings Division), which involved the detailed investigation of a wide range of coatings failures and defects on vessels from glassfibre dinghies to aluminium superyachts, and steel narrow boats to wooden fishing vessels. This experience provided a perfect background to set up my own consultancy business.
In addition to my investigative work I have also run many training courses for surveyors and boatyard personnel, and have written extensively in yachting press for magazines such as Practical Boat Owner. The training courses and magazine articles led to regular enquiries about the supply of moisture meters and ultrasound equipment in those pre-internet days, providing a perfect opportunity to sell the whole range of Tramex, Sovereign, Cygnus, Tritex, Barcol and Elcometer equipment amongst others. We continue this today, beating the 'box shifters' on both service and cost.
Whilst most of my work revolves around the marine industry I also venture into other industries where there are coatings and osmosis problems. Recent projects have involved osmotic blistering in a bank of water-wash air filters at an oil seed rape processing factory, blistering in a GRP lined school swimming pool and damage to high-end hardwood kitchen worktops.