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Archive for March, 2013

Wipe out!

BRAG ALERT!

One reason I love being in Marketing is that we get to surf the web as part of our jobs.

That’s how we find amazing things like this cool video from Liquid Floor Systems Inc., Charlotte, N.C.

They made this video, on their own, about how our Consolideck SLX100 Water and Oil Repellent protects polished concrete. I can tout the wonderful amazing features and benefits of SLX100 all day long — but this one-minute, seven-second demo video from an independent installer has credibility I can only dream about.

That’s because they’re the guys out there paying the mortgage and putting kids through school with the work they do using products from manufacturers like PROSOCO. And they’re not choosing the products they use based on pretty packaging. They choose products because they perform as promised and do the job clients expect.

If any of the guys at Liquid Floor Systems are reading this, I hope you’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

It’s been my experience that paying clients can be unsympathetic if products fail. So when a contractor of the quality of Liquid Floor Systems — 40 years-plus in the business — not only uses SLX100 Water and Oil Repellent, but takes the time to show it off with a video, well, it not only makes our day, it lets us know we’re on the right track.

I just wanted to let the entire universe know, too.

End brag alert.

Here’s the Wipe Out! song from back in the day, in case the title of this post made you think of it.


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Our co-worker Keith Donner hit the 50-year mark as an employee at PROSOCO, Feb. 25.

Keith Donner

Keith Donner

I sent out a brief release about this amazing milestone. It follows at the end of this post. But it was a news release. While it gave the facts, it didn’t have the color or the feeling of what this remarkable man is like.

The following testimonial, penned by our company President David W. Boyer, who has known Keith more than five decades, DOES have that color and feeling.

KEITH DONNER CELEBRATES 50 YEARS
by David W. Boyer

50 years with a single employer is a milestone that very few people will ever achieve.

Keith Donner started his career at the Process Solvent Company on Chelsea Traffic way in Kansas City, Kansas in 1963. I was six-and-a-half years old.

My earliest memory of Keith was on a weekend. Occasionally my older brother Mike and I would ride along with Dad to the office where he would open the mail and deposit any checks that happened to be there before the banks closed on Saturday.

In the old Quonset hut, you’d go through the front door into a small vestibule. It was so small that the only wall – to your right – was just large enough to hang the portrait of AJ that now hangs in our entry hall here in Lawrence.

PROSOCO Headquarters, 1963, Kansas City, Kan.

PROSOCO Headquarters, 1963, Kansas City, Kan.

To your left was a half-wall and a sliding glass window. Behind that glass was the receptionist. In front of you was a glass door that the receptionist would buzz you through to enter the offices.

Once through that door, if you turned right and then right again, that’s where Keith Donner – with a head full of hair – was opening the mail, looking for checks.

PROSOCO's "Go-To Guy," Keith Donner, circa 1970.

PROSOCO’s “Go-To Guy,” Keith Donner, circa 1970.

Keith drove a Volkswagen Beetle – first generation. My grandfather, company founder A.J. Boyer, had told me that Keith used to live in the Ozarks. My dad had said Keith was back from the service. What I remember is that he sure seemed to smile a lot.

I don’t know if that smile came from getting out of the Ozarks or getting out of Viet Nam. I suspect it was a combination of the two.

As a kid I did some odd jobs at Process Solvent. One high school summer I worked in the plant. It was hard work. My grandfather AJ and Uncle Ken were there in the offices also. But, even then, it was clear that Keith Donner was Jerry Boyer’s right hand man.

It wasn’t until I started working for PROSOCO full-time that it dawned on me just how versatile and essential Keith is to this organization.

Down on Parallel Parkway and, later, on Minnesota Avenue, Keith was THE go-to guy for just about everything.

To a new employee Keith seemed to be in charge of purchasing, collections, accounting, human resources, office maintenance, public relations and employee morale.

When the heat went off, you’d find Keith – sleeves rolled up – down in the boiler room. When a secretary — that was in the days before admin assistants — had trouble, Keith would step in to help change ribbons in the typewriters, tapes in the steno machines, toner in the Xerox machine.

Need light bulbs or office supplies? Call Keith.

In the winter, if you were a woman working in downtown Kansas City, Kan., and you needed someone to walk you to your car after sundown, Keith would delay, “goin’ home to play with Mama,” as he is fond of saying, and walk you to your car.

Keith and Janice, spouse of 48 years, have some fun posing as cowpokes during a party for Keith's 30th anniversary at PROSOCO.

Keith and Janice, spouse of 48 years, have some fun posing as cowpokes during a party for Keith’s 30th anniversary at PROSOCO.

In a bank meeting years ago – up in the old Terrace Club – a frequent visitor referred to Keith as a PROSOCO’s “utility player.”

But as the years went by … as I spent more time in those meetings with Keith – meeting bankers and lawyers and the like – it dawned on me that Keith is more like a “Franchise player.”

People on the other side of the table would look at his smiling face, listen to that Ozark twang and think “this is gonna be a walk in the park.” But that’s always been part of Keith’s magic.

That dawned on me about 25 years ago.

Keith uses that smile, those twinkly eyes and that “beanie weenie” personality — Beanie Weenies are a lunchtime favorite of Keith’s — to put himself in charge of a situation.

Keith, you’ve taught me a lot.

Dedicated, loyal, adaptable, resilient – those are all words that accurately describe Keith Donner. A hard-working, family-man, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy you can build a company around. A guy that will never embarrass you and will always be there when and where you need him to be.

Those are the words that come to MY mind when I think of Keith Donner.

With the five of the seven grandkids  (front left to right) -  Nate Donner, Adam Donner and Luke Donner. Back, l to r - Hayden Toyne and Kayla Toyne.

With the five of the seven grandkids (front l to r) – Nate Donner, Adam Donner and Luke Donner. Back, left to right – Hayden Toyne and Kayla Toyne.

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Keith Donner marks 50 years at PROSOCO

Keith and Janice Donner

Keith and Janice Donner

PROSOCO’s Vice President for Operations Keith Donner marked 50 years of employment with PROSOCO, Feb. 25.

PROSOCO, Lawrence, Kan., is a manufacturer of products for cleaning, protecting and maintaining concrete, brick and stone architecture.

A native of Malvern, Iowa, Donner grew up at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, where his family owned a tourist cabin court.

He studied business and accounting at Kansas City, Kansas Community College before joining PROSOCO in 1963.

“I started in the Accounting Department,” Donner said. “But in those days, everyone did everything, so I also loaded trucks, filled containers and did anything else that needed to be done.”

Donner joined the Army Reserve in 1965. He served a year’s active duty in Vietnam as a truck driver with the 842nd Quartermasters, returning to PROSOCO when his military tour of duty ended.

Since joining PROSOCO, Donner has served as purchasing agent and head of accounting. He helped open manufacturing plants and distribution centers in Georgia, New Jersey and Ontario.

Donner also helped PROSOCO develop many of its landmark restoration cleaning formulas, including a poultice powder for removing rust stains.

Restoration cleaning projects he’s proudest of having been involved with include the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station.

Donner has served as PROSOCO’s vice president of operations since the late 1970s. Semi-retired now, he still works several days a week overseeing real estate and tax issues, and serving as a company mentor and historian.

“It’s important to me to have a place to go to work, and to have the friendship of the other employees,” Donner said. “I’d be lost without that.”

Donner lives in Olathe, Kan., with Janice, his wife of 48 years. They have three children, Kimberly, Brian and Aaron, and seven grandchildren.

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Keith Donner and grandson Luke take some time out to relax at Stockton Lake, Mo.

Keith Donner and grandson Luke take some time out to relax at Stockton Lake, Mo.

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Seattle's under-construction Bullitt Center is being built according to the strict environmental guidelines of the Living Building Challenge. A Net-Zero building, it will have little impact on the environment. Its impact on some of the people who built it is a different story. Rendering courtesy of Miller-Hull Partnership.

Seattle’s under-construction Bullitt Center is being built according to the strict environmental guidelines of the Living Building Challenge. A Net-Zero building, it will have little impact on the environment. Its impact on some of the people who built it is a different story. Rendering courtesy of Miller-Hull Partnership.

Kima Yandell, who owns Katwall Inc., Seattle, a full-service metal stud framing and drywall contractor, is no stranger to green construction.

One of her most recent projects is Seattle’s Bullitt Center. The Bullitt Center, as you may already know, is on track to become arguably the world’s greenest and most sustainable office building.

It’s being built to the requirements of the Living Building Challenge 2.0, one of the most stringent of all environmental construction standards. That includes geo-thermal wells punched 400 feet deep to help with winter heating, and an expected 250-year life-span.

That’s compared to 40 years for traditional buildings.

Rain will supply the building’s water, with all waste-water treated onsite.

Its unique overhanging roof, that members of the design and construction team refer to as “the hat,” is a solar panel.

Plans are for the rooftop array to supply 100 percent of the building’s electricity.

Energy needs will be less than traditional buildings because Katwall crews installed a PROSOCO FastFlash air and waterproof barrier on the building’s Glassroc sheathing. Project architect Miller-Hull Partnership specified FastFlash for its ability to hold costly air leakage in and out of the building to better than Passive House levels.

They also chose FastFlash because it contains no ingredients on the Living Building Challenge’s Red List of hazardous materials found in many common construction products, such as phthalates, PVC, cadmium, lead, mercury and more.

Installers from Katwall Inc roller-apply Cat 5 Primary Air & Waterproof Barrier over sheathing sealed with pink Joint & Seam Sealer and red FastFlash, for a continuous, seamless, durable, vapor-permeable barrier to air and water leakage through the building envelope at Seattle's Bullitt Center. John Stamets photo

Installers from Katwall Inc roller-apply Cat 5 Primary Air & Waterproof Barrier over sheathing sealed prepared with pink Joint & Seam Sealer and red FastFlash, for a continuous, seamless, durable, vapor-permeable barrier to air and water leakage through the building envelope at Seattle’s Bullitt Center. John Stamets photo

Installation of the fluid-applied FastFlash system was easy and fairly routine, Kima said.

From lifts and hanging scaffolds, they sealed joints between the six-story building’s Glassroc panels with pink gun-and spread Joint & Seam Filler. They also used it on screw penetrations.

Red FastFlash, also a gun-and-spread sealant, sealed rough openings, fasteners and other penetrations to help maintain the integrity of the super-insulated Shuco curtain wall system.

They roller-applied tan Cat 5 primary air and waterproof barrier over the full expanse of the Glassroc sheathing. That creates a continuous, seamless yet vapor-permeable barrier to air and water. The system is a good choice for the damp Seattle climate since it’s instantly waterproof and can be applied to damp or dry surfaces.

Cat 5 takes its name from the fact that it’s been tested to withstand Category 5 hurricane conditions. Adhesion tests have shown that substrates fail before the FastFlash system will detach.

But it wasn’t just the products that had to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, Kima said. The plan that she and the rest of the construction team followed also specified sustainable and environmentally friendly construction practices.

“It’s no secret that there’s a lot of waste in construction,” she said. “How many job sites have you seen with huge piles of scrap lumber and other materials waiting to be thrown out?”

Katwall Inc has always tried its best to use materials efficiently, Kima said. On this project however, they took an extra-close look at their practices.

“We found that in the morning, before reaching for a new tube of Joint & Seam Filler, we could squeeze a little more out of the tube we were using at the end of the previous day,” Kima said.

“Or that bucket of Cat 5 that still had a few inches left? It might have a slight skin, but it’s still good under the dried skin.”

It didn’t take long, Kima said, for the habit of more rigorous conservation to take hold. Her crews found themselves engaging in these practices on other projects as well, even where they weren’t specified.

In the year since Katwall Inc began work on the Bullitt Center, Kima said the company has seen an unexpected but welcome 10 to 15 percent savings from the efficient — some might say “miserly” — use of materials.

It’s caught on in every area of her company, she said.

“We don’t make any real money from recycling soda cans or steel-stud scrap and cut-off ends,” Kima said. “We’ve just gotten in the habit.”

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