Tag Archives: powder coating

Quality Manager – Rachel Holt

AFI would like to introduce Rachel Holt
as our new quality manager as of April 2022.

She has been developing into her
role since January of 2021 working as a
quality technician throughout our facilities.
Rachel was referred to AFI by a
friend and intrigued to become a part of
our team because of our family culture.
Rachel has shown excellent motivation
to grow and learn in her career leading
her to develop strong relationships with
both customers and colleagues.
Rachel is a native to Mankato, MN. She
graduated from Minnesota Valley Lutheran
High School in Courtland, MN.
After high school, Rachel attended college
at Bethany Lutheran College where
she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in
Business Administration. Her previous
jobs have included managing teams and
processes in customer service.
Rachel’s aspirations with Associated Finishing
Inc. mirror the top qualities we
were looking for in a Quality Manager.
Her attention to detail has been a staple
to our production team. Rachel will
oversee all quality issues that may arise,
determine the root cause, complete corrective
action cases, and also document
and manage the data collection on any
given issue.
Rachel will play a pivotal role in
continuing our ISO 9001certification
and continually improving
our quality management system.
She was very involved in improving
our quality system in the
months leading up to the most
recent ISO audit and through
this process she got a in-depth
look at the strengths and opportunities
our quality system.
While she admits she has much
yet to learn, we are excited
about her willingness to push for
success into the future.
Rachel’s goals within her position
as Quality Manager are to develop
new processes that will help
the company as a whole improve
customer quality and satisfaction.
She believes Quality Managers
need to be able to act on their
observations and make strategic
suggestions about how to uphold
quality standards and improve
the accuracy of outgoing shipments.
They’re strong leaders who can
motivate and train their team with relevant
feedback and helpful suggestions.
Overall, Rachel believes that quality is
one of the most important aspects of
the industry and she is very committed
to helping this department grow!
Outside of being a Quality Manager,
Rachel’s favorite activities include exploring
nature and hiking with her dog.
She also loves kayaking down the Blue
Earth river and spending time with family
and friends.

Continuing the Legacy — Extreme Custom Powder Coating

Extreme Custom Powder Coating has been servicing the industry since December 2000. Located in Blooming Prairie, MN, the original owner, Greg Peterson (and wife Linda Peterson), had a vision to serve southern Minnesota with quality affordable and dependable coatings. Greg, being a national go-kart racing champion, had enthusiasm and drive for everything he did. In the mid ‘80s Greg traveled to California to purchase a new kart motor. During that trip, he was introduced to powder coating firsthand. Greg thought the concept and durability of the coating was extraordinary. It was something that stuck with him and later developed into his entrepreneurial dream.

For many years Greg worked factory positions and although he was fulfilled, he desired to do more. It was then that he and childhood best friend and kart racing companion Jim, designed a business plan for Greg to achieve his powder coating dream. Greg’s plan was to primarily service the dirt track racing community and area fabricators. The dream soon took off, like high octane racing fuel. He was coating for Shryock Racing Components out of Joice, IA. His relationships paved a foundation to network and promote the capabilities of his ever-growing business. Greg owned a dirt modified car, driven by the legend and best friend Mark Noble of Blooming Prairie. Soon after, he got into Elko Speedway, owning a thunder car for champion Conrad Jorgenson.

All the while he was mixing business with pleasure at the racetrack and area fabrication companies were taking notice as well. With spending more time in the office, he found himself running much more than race car chassis. His mother, Barbara Peterson, stepped in as his secretary which became an integral role in the business. With all this activity, Greg was quickly outgrowing his small beginner shop. This led him to building a new facility on the north end of town in 2007.

With stable ground to stand on industrially, Greg was drawn into custom coatings and building hot rods. He had a vision, the shop, and resources to promote powder coating to high-end consumer in the street rod world. Greg was a part of the Minnesota Street Rod Association, Gopher State Timing Association, and Goodguy’s Rod and Custom Association. His builds were featured in Hot Rod Magazine, Car Craft Magazine, Super Rod Magazine, Street Trucks Magazine and Gauge Magazine. His work and creativity were recognized and awarded Builder’s Choice through Goodguy’s and he eventually became a judge at their events. Greg was right where he wanted to be personally and professionally.

It was early summer 2013 when Greg was suddenly diagnosed with Leukemia. He pressed on determined to beat the disease. Ultimately, Greg passed away 6 months and many treatments later. He had been in remission from Leukemia, but side effects of the treatment caused trouble. Greg left behind his family, friends, and his business.

The Peterson family had no choice but to step up and carry on Greg’s legacy. They knew they still had a great staff to employ, and many customers to service. With immeasurable strength, Barbara, Greg’s mother took control of the finances. Tiffany, Greg’s daughter, was dedicated and had worked side by side with her dad for six years prior to his passing. She learned quoting techniques bed side in LaCrosse where Greg was treated for cancer. Greg’s wife Linda stepped in as President and CEO supporting Greg’s vision. The staff of 8, were incredible, and forged ahead without their leader.

Eight years as well as a 20-year anniversary milestone had passed and the team decided it was time for change. Linda and Barbara desired retirement and Tiffany desired more for the company, but after eight years, did not want to pursue that alone. At this time, Tiffany met Ted and John at AFI through mutual contacts. After many meetings and keeping in touch with Ted, the Peterson family felt that the culture of AFI really matched the core values of Extreme’s. Extreme wanted their employees to be in good hands and to continue to grow through AFI’s support and resources. It was a sign from heaven, on October 1st, Greg’s Birthday, that the owner of Extreme Custom Powder Coating Inc. and Associated Finishing Inc. came together to close on the sale of the business. The Peterson family celebrated looking forward to retirement and a fresh start on career opportunities for the whole team.

Extreme Powder Coating is situated in a 16,000 square foot facility. They host a manual trolley system that glides parts through a two-stage iron phosphate wash system. With an IonTech spray booth and batch oven up to 42’ in length, they can handle a wide variety of products. The site also offers a 35’ self-reclaiming blast system installed in 2016. Extreme handles large jobs, custom high end jobs, and small projects for anyone off the street.

AFI and Extreme Powder Coating plan to keep Greg’s legacy alive and well for many years to come!

A New Venture in North Carolina

 Associated Finishing has officially expanded beyond the borders of Minnesota for the first time in our history. AFI Carolina, is located in Statesville, NC about forty-five minutes north of Charlotte. The opportunity to start a production facility popped up in North Carolina and it was attractive because of its growing industrial market, existing customer base, and close support of some business partners. Starting a facility outside of a day’s drive from Mankato is new to us and comes with its challenges, but it is a step in the future of our growth.

AFIC was officially started January 1st of this year. The original jobs in the door were painting screw heads, off-road truck equipment, and miscellaneous parts for a local OEM. The current equipment is set up best to cater to metal fabricators and OEM’s needing a durable industrial finish that flashes at their customers. The knowledge of over 60 years in the finishing industry in the Midwest will ensure that the Statesville area will have proven system for high performance coatings for years to come.

Housed in a 10,000 sq ft building in the Statesville’s industrial park, the facility is outfitted with two paint booths, a 20’ blast room,  two 12’ ovens, and a  16’ spray-bay. The building is set up to both powder coat and liquid paint staying consistent the company’s vision to always remain as flexible as possible in our production capabilities. Starting small, the production team had three employees that were working parts through the process. The production throughput has been ramping up all year and AFIC has now grown to six full time production employees. AFI’s QC manager Collin Schreyer relocated to the area to lead the team while maintaining Quality Coordinator responsibilities for all plants.  The plan is to keep growing steadily, adding capacity in both equiment and employees, as stronger relationships are built within the area.

AFI in the Community

Over the years, AFI has had the opportunity to work with local leaders on projects for the community. One recent project that we powder coated was the “Unity Totem” created by artist Julie Dempster. It is a change of pace to go from industrial finishing to powder coating one-of-a-kind pieces, but it is fun to see the results of these incredible projects!

The Unity Totem is located in multiple locations across the cities of Mankato & North Mankato including Sibley Park. As described by Julie “It acknowledges the first Greater Mankato inhabitants with “Welcome” in Dakota at the top. Throughout the piece, the word “Welcome” is inscribed in the majority of the 40+ languages spoken in Mankato. The Unity Totem is meant to educate and remind park visitors that the neighborhood is home to diverse cultures. It also gives neighborhood residents validation that their culture is integral to Mankato’s past, present, and future.”

New Town, Great Facility, More Capabilities

Associated Finishing, Inc. is opening a third facility in Litchfield, MN to expand our capabilities and add capacity. The Litchfield facility will be operational in early December 2016 and has 27,000 sq feet of production space that will be used in a variety of ways. The large batch system includes a spray bay, abrasive blast room, powder/liquid paint booth, and oven that can accommodate a 40′ part. Once the large batch system is up-and-running, we will be adding a conveyor line that can handle a 20′ part. This will increase our efficiency and lower prices on parts that will fit on the line. There is also plans for a second conveyor line in the future. AFI is excited about how this new expansion will have a positive effect on our current customers and we are looking forward to the new relationships it will bring!

Expanding the Fleet

AFI has done it again! We have added another truck to our fleet making a total of four trucks for our customers’ convenience. We now run a fleet of three straight trucks and one tractor/trailer. These trucks make daily runs to the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area and other routes around Minnesota for customer pick-up and delivery. AFI feels that this free trucking service is essential to connect with our customers and the value of this service takes care of many of the headaches involved with logistics. It’s simple: contact our shipping department: shipping@associatedfinishing.com and they will do the rest.

 

AFI opted for another straight truck because of its driver flexibility. This gives AFI the ability to change with our customers’ needs. The truck also has new and improved graphics on it. The AFI cartoon characters are still alive and well, but we rearranged a few other items to better reflect our business. Although this new truck might not go to the Twin Cities everyday, it will create more space on the trucks that do make those trips. That means a better chance that your parts can be picked up and delivered on the day that you requested.

 

Drop Shipping- Is it right for you?

Here at AFI, we strive to be flexible for our customers to give them the best experience possible. That flexibility has gotten us into drop shipping to a final destination. This saves valuable time and money for our customers. Of course, our customers need to have faith in the quality of the parts that we send out since they will never see them. Our quality has spoken for itself as we have continued to increase the amount of drop shipping out of our location. We have a lot of experience in drop shipping to John Deere, Case-New Holland and more. Call today to find out if drop shipping is right for you!

Salesman on the Blitz

AFI’s salesman, Matt Miller (pictured on left), seconds as an assistant football coach for his alma mater Cleveland High School. He works with the offensive and defensive line for the small 9-man school just north-east of Mankato. Matt comments, “Coaching and developing players is always something I have really enjoyed. It’s also fun to give back to the community where I grew up. I am lucky to work for a company who not only lets me, but supports my participation in something I love to do. I’ve had co-workers and their families at our games cheering us on!”

 

This year the Clippers had their best year in many as they went 10-2 overall, while winning their district and section. It was only the second time in school history that Cleveland has made it to the State Tournament. The Clippers eventually lost in the State Quarterfinals to the back-to-back-to back state champion Grand Meadow. Congratulations to Matt and Cleveland on a great year!

 

AFI Annual Golf Outing

AFI puts on an annual golf outing for our employees and friends at Terrace View Golf Course outside of Mankato. One Saturday morning each September, we trade in our powder guns for golf clubs and hit the links as a company. After our nine holes of golf, AFI provided a great lunch with brats, hamburgers, and cookies. Thank you to all of our suppliers who gave gifts to our employee drawing and thank you to Ryan Kapsner and Ann Austad for putting on the event!

1st Stage Washer Upgrade

In our quest to have the most up-to-date equipment, AFI has replaced the first stage of our washer on the automatic line at the Rock Street facility. The first stage of our 6-stage cleaning system is where the cleaning detergent and pressurized hot water is sprayed onto the part to wash off oils or any other contaminants. Heat and detergent concentration are the name of the game in getting parts clean and AFI is now able to get even hotter temperatures in our cleaning solution. We have also added a brand new filtration system that will allow our baths to remain consistently clean for longer periods of time. The filters are also easier to clean, meaning less down time on the line and ultimately quicker turn times on your parts!

http://www.associatedfinishing.com