PPG was the paint supplier Navistar recently chose to give “CatalIST”—its entry in the Department of Energy (DOE) SuperTruck program—its dazzling and colorful finish, complementing the cutting-edge technological features of the truck. The SuperTruck program, a federal initiative for developing cost-effective technologies to dramatically increase the freight efficiency of tomorrow’s Class 8 trucks, has produced a model that has already had an impact on the future of the trucking industry. CatalIST—named for serving as the catalyst for significant improvements in future commercial trucks, with -IST standing for International SuperTruck, the truck’s brand—exceeded DOE expectations on multiple fronts. The truck also impressed DOE personnel with its bold, advanced PPG paint job.



Navistar, Inc., parent company of International® Truck, turned to PPG and Gerber Collision and Glass of Grand Rapids, Mich., for the SuperTruck’s high-tech, forward-looking appearance. PPG training center manager Jamie Redd, Gerber fleet manager Fred Honoré II, painters Chris Mayernick and Chris “Storm Trooper” Moore, and body lead Jim Berens worked under a tight deadline to bring it all together. The truck’s topcoat scheme features DELFLEET® Evolution paint system orange tri-coat in FBC with F3921 clearcoat. The gray on the trailer—FBC with a flattened F3921 clear—was painted to match the flattened gray film on the skirts.

“This was a fantastic accomplishment with a quick, demanding turnaround,” said J.J. Wirth, commercial coatings brand manager for PPG. “There was a lot riding on CatalIST, and its finish had to be as exceptional and innovative as the technology driving it.”

CatalIST technological innovations included intelligent controls such as:
  • predictive cruise control;
  • high-efficiency engine combustion;
  • an aerodynamic wedge-shape cab design featuring carbon fiber panels;
  • a smaller LED headlamp system and sloped windshield for reduced drag;
  • a lighweight alloy and composite suspension;
  • 13 mpg and a freight efficiency improvement of 104% compared to a 2009 production vehicle

Navistar reports that a number of these innovations are now being implemented in production vehicles.

PPG offers a full range of advanced coating technologies products formulated for the commercial transportation and light industrial markets, including polyurethanes, alkyds, epoxies, polyurea, waterborne, pretreatment chemicals and powder coatings. PPG products are marketed under several brand names including Delfleet Evolution, DELFLEET ESSENTIAL®, Commercial Performance Coatings and AMERCOAT®.

In an unprecedented move, PPG named two distributors—Southern Auto Color of Gainesville, Ga., and Tasco Auto Color of Houston, Texas—as the recipients of its Platinum Distributor of the Year award. It was the first time PPG has given the prestigious recognition to more than one distributor. Bob Wenzinger, director of the PPG Platinum Distributor program, presented the award at the annual PPG Platinum Distributor Conference held recently at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. The conference brought together distributors from across the United States and Canada. Southern Auto Color’s owners David and Tammy Kenimer and Tasco’s president and vice president David Abrahams and Lee Martinez, respectively, accepted the award. Also taking part in the presentation were PPG’s Michael McGarry, president and CEO; John Outcalt, vice president, global automotive refinish; and Greg Benckart, vice president, Americas.

“The Distributor of the Year award epitomizes the tradition and success of the Platinum Distributor program, and 2016 presented a remarkable situation,” said Wenzinger. “We had two organizations that were exceptional in their performance over the course of the year. While they differ in size, they were both standouts in their operations and execution, customer service and support. Southern and Tasco excelled in every area. To give the award to just one company would have been a disservice to the other. It is our privilege to honor Southern Auto Color and Tasco Auto Color as the 2016 Platinum Distributors of the Year.”

“I was surprised and thrilled when I heard our name announced,” said Tammy Kenimer. “Everyone at Southern Auto Color works hard to represent the PPG name and support our customers. We are grateful to have our efforts recognized. We’re like a big family, and everyone under our roof deserves credit for this award.”

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(Left to right)John Outcalt, PPG Vice President, global automotive refinish;
Tammy and David Kenimer, owners, Southern Auto Color;
Greg Benckart, Vice Present Automotive Refinish Americas.

Southern Auto Color was established by the Kenimers in 1985 in Gainesville as a parts and paint store. In 1988, Southern opted to sell only PPG paint. In just a few years it earned Platinum Distributor status. Today, with more than 20 employees and four strategic locations in Northeast Georgia, Southern Auto Color maintains a reputation for making customer support its highest priority. The company is dedicated to continuous staff training, staying on top of industry advances and taking advantage of PPG MVP offerings whenever possible. Customers have come to regard the Southern Auto Color staff as the experts in automotive refinishing, a designation supported by a high customer retention rate.

Tasco Auto Color won previously in 2005—the only Platinum Distributor to win the award twice. A contingent of 14 Tasco staff attended the conference. The company was started in Houston in 1953 by Charlie Barrington, under the name of Barrington and Son Auto Parts. Charlie’s stepson, Tom, joined him in 1958. The company grew into a multiple store operation and the first Tasco-named store opened in 1970. Tasco—an acronym for Tom’s Auto Supply Company—had expanded to six locations when, in 1983, it began selling PPG automotive finishes. Since it opened its doors, Tasco Auto Color and its more than 300 employees have staked the company’s success on building trusting relationships with customers and delivering attentive service along with high-quality paint and repair products. The efforts have paid off: Tasco now operates in 25 locations across Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee. While operating on a different scale, Tasco, like Southern Auto Color, is committed to staying at the forefront of the refinish industry by benefitting from the advanced training and assistance PPG provides.

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(Left to right)John Outcalt, PPG Vice President, global automotive refinish;
David Abrahams, Tasco president; Lee Martinez, Tasco vice president;
Greg Benckart, Vice Present Automotive Refinish Americas.

“We are humbled by PPG’s recognition of our accomplishments,” said Abrahams. “Our founder always believed in quality products, quality clients and quality people in our organization. The solid relationships we have with our customers and PPG allow us to be successful.”

The PPG Platinum Distributor program began in 1995 as a loyalty and support initiative for PPG single-line distributors, with the ultimate goal of providing exceptional service and benefits for PPG customers. The program delivers competitive advantages to its participants by aligning the technology, training and customer support of PPG with the entrepreneurship, customer awareness, local market knowledge and service capability of the independent distributor.

PPG continues to address evolving automotive refinish technologies with ongoing comprehensive certification training programs designed to keep paint technicians at the forefront of the industry. As OEMs introduce more complex and exotic finishes, PPG is making sure refinish technicians are prepared to meet the challenges the new finishes present.

“Maintaining alignment with the industry, PPG refinish systems are constantly advancing, and we want to ensure that collision center technicians are experts in using our products,” said Randy Cremeans, PPG director of training for automotive refinish. “PPG’s commitment to training is unrivaled in the industry—we train more techs than any other automotive paint company in the world, and we intend to maintain that lead. Our certification training programs introduce technicians to the latest products and techniques for completing quality refinish repairs while maximizing paint booth productivity.”

More than 15,000 students and technicians participate in PPG training courses annually, and more than 400,000 refinish professionals have taken classes since PPG began its programs in 1980. Once certified, paint technicians must then be recertified every two years to stay current on the latest PPG products and repair processes. Having a certified painter is among the requirements for collision centers offering PPG’s Lifetime Limited Paint Performance Guarantee.

PPG certification training offers five levels of expertise: Blue, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Master. The first certification course is open to technicians who have one year of professional experience. After achieving the initial Blue-level certification, technicians are eligible to graduate to successive levels by attending qualifying classes every two years. After eight years, qualified technicians are eligible to graduate to the Master Certified Technician level.

Certification courses, blending classroom instruction with hands-on exercises, are offered at PPG Business Development Centers and various field locations across the United States and Canada. Courses are tailored for PPG’s premium DELTRON®, GLOBAL REFINISH SYSTEM®, ENVIROBASE® High Performance, NEXA AUTOCOLOR® 2K® and AQUABASE® Plus refinish systems. Training sessions last a minimum of eight hours over one or two days and educate 8–12 technicians at a time. Certification classes are led by 30+ full-time PPG training instructors.

According to Mike Gonzalez, zone manager, refinish training, to recognize completion of the certification courses, PPG is providing technicians with exclusive patches indicating the level of certification achieved as well as T-shirts featuring a unique graphic design by PPG custom trainer Jeremy Seanor. “We appreciate our technicians and shops that are committed to training and dedicated to learning about new products and processes. PPG wants to recognize them and these are two ways we can express our thanks.”

Adds Cremeans, “We understand training is a continuous process; it’s never complete, especially with the frequent changes we see in this industry. Technicians need to know how to work with the latest finishes like OEM tricoats and quadcoats. Training is a large part of our investment in our customers; it’s an investment we’re happy to make.”

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