In Memoriam: Dick Crain

Dick Crain headshotWe were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Dick Crain, whose countless contributions and leadership to the finishing industry will be missed. Dick died peacefully on Mar. 26, 2017, at Hinsdale Hospital in Illinois at the age of 83.

“He was a champion of the industry, and he always put the good of the order first. He was one of the last who was a true gentleman,” said friend and colleague Blair Vandivier of Asterion this week. Many others who worked with Dick over the years would certainly agree.

Dick was born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Freeport, Ill., to Francis and Belva Wedding Crain. He graduated from Western Illinois University in 1956 with a degree in chemistry. While at Western, he became a proud member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and was the chapter’s president during his senior year. Upon graduation, Dick married Susie Walton Sears in August of 1956. He taught high school science in Shannon, Ill., for two years before moving to Berwyn, Ill., and accepting a sales position at Industrial Filter and Pump Co. in Cicero, Ill.  He spent 30 successful years at Industrial, becoming vice president of sales. After leaving Industrial, Dick also applied his considerable skills and expertise with positions as general manager of Serfilco in Northbrook, Ill., and executive director of the Metal Finishing Supplier’s Association.

Dick was the author and inventor of three patents in the pollution abatement field. He also owned and operated his own consulting company, Monitor Consultants LLC. In retirement, he served as an environmental consultant for Indian Head Park, Ill., where he and Susie resided.

Dick enjoyed traveling throughout the world for work and with Susie. He also loved playing golf and gin rummy with friends at the La Grange Country Club, where he was a long-time member and the club’s president from 1985-1986. Most of all, he loved his family dearly.


Posted in NASF Members, Obituaries

Washington Forum, April 25-27: Hotel Room Block Closing Soon!

Reserve your hotel room today for this year’s Washington Forum! NASF is hosting the nation’s top policy experts, and the agenda will focus on timely, strategic topics for industry decision makers. Join us this year to get insight on what’s ahead in 2017, connect with industry leaders and communicate the vital role of surface finishing in the nation’s Capital. Sessions and events will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City and on Capitol Hill.

Visit for a full schedule of speakers and events.

This year’s Conference highlights include:

  • Jim VandeHei – Top political media analyst and entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Axios, co-founder of Politico
  • Corey Lewandowski – Former Trump campaign manager and founder, Avenue Strategies
  • Ann Wilson – Senior vice president, Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association
  • Peter Morici – Economist and professor of business at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
  • Andrew (Andy) Friedman – Founder of The Washington Upate, CNBC commentator and political affairs expert
  • Tom Sullivan – Vice president, Small Business Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • David Fischer – Senior director, American Chemistry Council
  • U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) – Senate Environment, Commerce and Small Business committees

Don’t miss this opportunity to discuss some of the most important issues facing the finishing industry this year. Visit for more information and to register. Contact us at or (202) 457-8404.

Posted in Events | Tagged

NASF Member Survey of Job Shops, Suppliers Shows Optimism in 1st Quarter

The latest NASF “Business Barometer” survey points to optimism from member suppliers and job shops in the first quarter of 2017. Click here to see detailed results for suppliers and here for job shop results, including outlook by geographic region.

For Job Shops, business conditions are favorable and expected to tick up further in the next six months. In light of broader confidence in key sectors and the expectation of pro-business policies from Washington, including less regulation, confidence in the industry tracks trends other business surveys, including the NFIB “Optimism Index” – where first quarter optimism reached a historic high.

Job Shop owners said the biggest challenge this year will be finding qualified employees as the labor market continues to tighten. The Job Shop survey just kicked off this quarter, following the success of the NASF Supplier Business Barometer. See the summary here.

For Suppliers, business conditions in North America are the most favorable since the survey launched in 2015, with nearly 49 percent of suppliers reporting conditions are “good” and nearly 9 percent reporting “excellent.” See the summary here.

Thanks again to all members participating in the survey. Be sure to take one minute and complete the next survey in the second quarter. Your contributions help create a more accurate picture of current and emerging business conditions for the industry.

Posted in Business, Economy, NASF Members, Research

Register Today for SUR/FIN Atlanta – Sessions Begin at 8:30 AM on Monday, June 19, 2017

The NASF SUR/FIN® Manufacturing & Technology Trade Show & Conference has expanded and is shaping up to be the event you can’t afford to miss. Because the 2017 event has so much to offer, the conference program will now begin at 8:30 AM on Monday, June 19. This is a departure from recent years when the conference program kicked off in the afternoon. The new schedule allows attendees to take advantage of the full range of conference sessions without sacrificing time on the show floor.

The conference program can be viewed at In addition to the key session offerings such as Advances in Surface Finishing and Automotive and Technical Responses to REACh, there will also be sessions on Aerospace & Defense, Technology for Increasing Performance, and more. Attendees and exhibitors will have a total of 14 sessions from which to choose, plus complimentary sessions such as the Sustainability Summit, Nadcap and keynote presentations from Executive Director of the Automotive Industry Action Group J. Scot Sharland and Scott Fetter with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program at Lockheed Martin.

More than 180 companies will showcase the latest equipment, supplies and services in more than 100 product categories. SUR/FIN exhibitors will provide their expertise in surface technology to make your company more efficient and profitable. Looking for a particular product or service from our exhibitors? You’ll find it here.

Registration is now open at

Posted in Education, Events, International, NASF Chapters, NASF Members, New Members

NASF Finalizing Metals Discharge Study: Presentation to EPA at April Washington Forum

The NASF through its Government Advisory Committee is nearing completion of a milestone review and case study of the industry’s progress in reducing wastewater discharges throughout a nearly 30-year period. The study compares metals discharged by permitted finishing operations in Milwaukee from 1989 to 2016. It evaluates total metals reductions from companies to the municipal treatment plant, average reductions on a per facility basis, and the relative contribution of the finishing industry versus the larger universe of industrial dischargers in the community.

The draft version is under review by the committee this month and, as anticipated, preliminary findings show the industry’s reductions to be significant. The results of the study will be presented at the NASF Washington Forum in a discussion led by GAC Committee Member John Lindstedt, Advanced Plating Technology. Committee representatives will also present the study’s findings to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the April meetings. The findings will substantiate the association’s position that protecting the nation’s waterways has been an overwhelming success, and that future, more stringent discharge standards are unnecessary.

Further details will be available shortly after the committee’s review and the report is finalized.

Posted in Government Relations, Law & Regulation, NASF Members, Other Publications, Research

Regulatory Alert: California Targeting Finishing Air Emissions Below Nanogram Levels

Prompted by concerns over elevated air monitoring levels of hexavalent chromium in a southern California neighborhood, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is expected to propose revisions to its Rule 1469 – Hexavalent Chromium Emissions from Chrome Plating and Chromic Acid Anodizing Operations and Rule 1426 – Emissions from Metal Finishing Operations.

Local air officials have indicated that hexavalent chromium levels of more than 0.2 nanograms per cubic meter would pose unacceptable risks to human health. AQMD has already required one metal finishing shop to cease operations for exceeding 1 nanogram of hexavalent chromium per cubic meter at air monitors at the property boundary.

Focus is on Fugitive Emissions

The AQMD staff stated that they are concerned primarily about fugitive emissions from plating operations, rather than emissions from stacks, scrubbers and other control devices. To address the fugitive emissions from plating shops, AQMD may add the requirements below to the current rules for chromic anodizing and chrome plating operations.

  • Monitoring on the premises using multiple monitors ($5000 each) with immediate abatement when levels exceed acceptable risk thresholds
  • Total enclosures for plating and anodizing operations
  • Buildings with negative air pressure
  • Controls and/or covers on all tanks that are heated or agitated and may contain hexavalent chromium, including sealer and rinse tanks
  • More stringent controls on abrasive blast cabinets and grinding operations
  • New housekeeping requirements, including:
    • Daily vacuuming of floors with a HEPA vacuum that is emptied in a clean room environment
    • Daily cleaning of flat surfaces and wall
    • Cleaning of roofs two times per month

Expansion to Other Metals

AQMD is also considering applying similar requirements for metal finishing operations pursuant to Rule 1426 to control fugitive emissions of other metals such as cadmium, lead, nickel, zinc and tin.

AQMD has indicated that it expects to issue the proposed rule by July 2017 and finalize it by the end of 2017. The industry is concerned that it may not be technologically or economically feasible to meet the proposed revisions. California state industry leaders and NASF representatives have met with AQMD officials this month. The industry is now in the process of evaluating options to address this significant and precedent-setting challenge to finishing operations in the region and beyond.

To view a summary of the pending regulatory actions from South Coast air regulatory officials, please click here.

Posted in Government Relations, Law & Regulation, NASF Chapters, NASF National