Business View Magazine interviews Chad Milbrandt of International Paint, as part of our focus on best practices of Canadian businesses.
International Paints was originally founded in England in 1881 by brothers Max and Albert Holzapfel to produced marine coatings for the local shipping industry. In 1968, the company was acquired by Courtaulds, a United Kingdom-based manufacturer of fabric, clothing, artificial fibers, and chemicals. In 1998, AkzoNobel, the Dutch multinational company, which is headquartered in Amsterdam and employs approximately 50,000 people, worldwide, took over the Courtaulds Company, and today, AkzoNobel Coatings Ltd. Canada, based in Burnaby, British Columbia, is a division of AkzoNobel, and International Paint is now the leading brand of AkzoNobel’s Marine & Protective Coatings business unit, which has approximately 5,500 employees in more than 60 countries.
Chad Milbrandt is one of International Paint’s Engineering Solutions Representatives. “We cover North America as group,” he explains. “In Canada, we operate out of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal, liaisoning with owners and engineers on projects that involve protective coating solutions.” Key markets for the division include Infrastructure; Mining & Minerals; Oil, Gas & Chemical; Power Generation; and Water and Wastewater.
Some of Milbrandt’s significant clients are potash mining companies in Saskatchewan. “The typical customer is a mine owner and a consulting engineering firm,” he explains. “We’re supporting consultants, providing technical recommendations from the expertise that we have developed over the last fifty years through our testing, case histories, and tracking of assets and their performance. We follow mine owners’ projects and developments, and once at detail design, we engage with the consultant, specifying our technologies to meet the desired lifecycle goal of durability and corrosion resistance. We were the first to recognize the value of immersion grade technology on structural coating systems in the Potash Industry to double the life expectancy of coated steel. Today, we continue to innovate through new coating technologies, which include Low Temperature Curing Fire Protection, Fast Return to Service Lining Systems, and Universal Pipe Coating.”
Milbrandt believes that AkzoNobel Coatings Ltd./International Paint differentiates itself from the competition, which sometimes only provides product, because the company’s business model is relationship-based, service-based, and experience-based. “What we’re doing is working with owners to help provide a maintenance coating program,” he states. The program is called InterPlan.
“We perform a site condition assessment with the owner, include costs and remedies with their own priority matrix, because not every location is the same priority from an owner’s perspective, and work with them to define a painting program,” Milbrandt continues. “So, we’re not supplying any paint in that service stream that we’re moving towards; we’re supplying our expertise in building a program for that owner. Should they choose to perform maintenance or not to perform maintenance is based upon the final, deliverable report. We want owners to choose us because we can best solve the problem, we’re the most experienced, and we offer the most insights into their problem.”
Going forward, Milbrandt says he is looking into new markets within the whole potash mining chain from ground to customer. “We’re seeing a lot of planned potash projects in development,” he reports. “We’re also looking at rail cars and getting more integrated into mining production sites to the retail fertilizer depots.” On the macro level, he says that the company’s aim is to continue to build strategic alliances directly with mine owners, and to be known as a full-service provider for a client’s protective coatings by detailing the best specifications and supporting its execution during construction and beyond. “We want to continually strive into deep relationships and be viewed as a solution provider and work with owners in a strategic manner,” he declares. “That’s the long-term vision that we have to undertake.”
Milbrandt believes that the company’s long legacy and expertise in the field of protective coatings, provides a stepping stone to manifest that vision. “When dealing with International Paint, you can expect to deal with professional, technical, and experienced support with recommendations based on significant history and testing,” he states. “We’re unique in that we can engage in worldwide projects; we can work on regional specifications; and we can deliver product throughout the world. We look forward to future project investment from increased infrastructure spending and mining and commodity increases in 2018 and beyond. We will be engaged thoroughly to support owners, industry consultants, and service suppliers to support best practices in asset protection and maintenance planning.”