PPG to celebrate 40 years in Dover

Bo Magruder of Frederica (18 years with PPG); Greg Smith of Camden (25 years), Deb Myers of Smyrna (25 years);  Debbie Landrum of Middletown (26 years); plant manager Nicastro of Middletown (2 years), Nancy Hall of Dover (29 years), and Bill Gillespie of Dover (20 years) stand outside the PPG Cheswold plant.  The Facility opened in September 1975. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

Bo Magruder of Frederica (18 years with PPG); Greg Smith of Camden (25 years), Deb Myers of Smyrna (25 years); Debbie Landrum of Middletown (26 years); plant manager Nicastro of Middletown (2 years), Nancy Hall of Dover (29 years), and Bill Gillespie of Dover (20 years) stand outside the PPG Dover plant. The facility opened in September 1975. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

DOVER — For 40 years, Kathy Baird has been pulling into the same parking lot, Monday through Friday, at PPG Architectural Coatings in Dover.

“It’s my other home,” she said.

Ms. Baird has been with PPG since the beginning. Just as she is celebrating her anniversary there this year, the paint manufacturer is celebrating 40 years in Dover.

The plant will host an open house to celebrate its anniversary on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the plant on 1886 Lynnbury Woods Road.

Ms. Baird, who is on the 40th anniversary planning team, said the open house for employees, family and friends will include plant tours, hot dogs and Rita’s Ice.

“We’re just going to have a fun time,” she said.

The event also will focus on kids, she added. There will be a bouncy house, arts and crafts activities and a chance to

PPG operations planning manager Kathy Baird, of Dagsboro, and paint processor Brad Maffett, of Cheswold, have been employed by the company for 40 years since the early days of the paint processing plant.  Ms. Baird started on day one of the plant on Sept. 8, 1975, as an inventory control clerk, and Mr. Maffett started a few weeks later as a paint filler. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

PPG operations planning manager Kathy Baird, of Dagsboro, and paint processor Brad Maffett, of Cheswold, have been employed by the company for 40 years since the early days of the paint processing plant. Ms. Baird started on day one of the plant on Sept. 8, 1975, as an inventory control clerk, and Mr. Maffett started a few weeks later as a paint filler. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

win a boy’s bike and a girl’s bike and drawings for bicycle helmets.

On Friday, employees will be treated to a catered luncheon with games, recognition and gifts.

“It’s really special for everybody,” Ms. Baird said. “…it’s a recognition that the plant has been here solidly for 40 years and we’ve offered a lot to the community.”

PPG Architectural Coatings manufactures interior and exterior paints, stains, caulks and adhesives and sealants for homeowners and professionals.

Well-known brands include PPG Paints, PPG Pittsburgh Paints, Glidden, Liquid Nails, Homax and Olympic Paints and Stains

The products are sold through 15,000 home centers, independent dealers and company-owned stores across the nation.

PPG Architectural Coatings is a business unit of PPG Industries, a coatings and specialty products company with more than 42,000 employees worldwide.

Ms. Baird, who started out as an inventory control clerk counting raw materials and finished products, still works in the same department. Now, she’s the operations planning manager.

The company supported her while she attended Delaware State University at night for seven years, she said.
After she earned her bachelor’s degree in business, she worked her way up into a management position.

Forty years later, she said, the business has changed.

“My job has changed tremendously from the beginning when the calculator was the big thing. We had these little terminals that we all shared … It’s just light years of where we are in 1975 and everything we do. Everything has changed 100 percent.”

Making paint has changed too, and so has the equipment. Over the years, tastes have changed. Ms. Baird said people are more interested in color, rather than white or off-white paints. They want deeper bases they can tint to dark colors.

In 1975, PPG Dover only had about 25 employees, including management. That first year, they manufactured 4 million gallons of paint. Now, they make about 10 to 15 million gallons.

Over four decades, Ms. Baird said, she never thought about finding another job.

“I didn’t picture me going anywhere else,“ she said. “PPG is an awesome company to work for, very focused on the employee, very focused on safety, from the top down.”

From the beginning, she said, the management team put together a structure called “participative management.”

Managers discussed issues with employees and asked for their help making decisions.

“I think that’s what really made it special. We weren’t the ordinary manufacturing site,” Ms. Baird said.

Although Ms. Baird may be the plant’s longest-serving employee, many long-time employees have stuck together in Dover through the decades.

“It truly is like a big family,” she said.

The company also tries to be a good neighbor.

Ms. Baird said that PPG makes paint donations and is committed to many causes, including the United Way and Habitat for Humanity. A team of people often represents the company at local charity walks or runs.

Recently PPG Industries teamed up with the state Department of Education to help implement Project Lead the Way, an engineering program, in schools.

The company is sponsoring professional development for teachers this summer.

“I’ve had more people who’ve said to me, ‘Oh you work at PPG? It’s hard to get in there isn’t it?’” Ms. Baird said.

“That’s what we always hear, people knew about it and they knew it was a great place to work.”

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment