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Diversification is Key

Diversification is Key for Powder Coater

Diversification is Key for Powder Coater

Link to Article April 2021 Digital Issue of FinishingAndCoating.com

Dewain Diacono always seems to sell himself short, whether it’s his academics or the expectations of his business career. But never in persistence. “I am a high school graduate with a grade point average of 1.9,” says Diacono, president of Great Lakes Powder Coating and Fabrication in Walled Lake, Michigan. “But the one thing my mentor taught me was keep pushing forward on anything I can do.”

In 2008 when the economy was crashing, Diacono owned a successful body shop in Livonia for 23 years. He was a liquid painter for 32 years, providing class “A” finishes. He discovered how easy it was to powder coat and invested some money in a small 8×8 oven and a used booth, thinking he could make $300 to $500 a week extra in hard times.

“It ended up being $1,500 to $3,000 per week in sales,” says Diacono, who surmised he was onto something.

Experience as a Fabricator
Prior to his body shop career, he has experience in fabrication as a metal model maker, someone who would proto-type seat tracks, recliners, convertible tops, rocker panels, and other parts for major automotive companies in the metro Detroit area.

A year after dabbling in powder coating, he split his company up and started Great Lakes Powder Coating in Livonia with a lease of a 10,200 sq. ft. building, thinking it would be more than he needed to run the company.

“Little did I know my customers started to ask me if I can make the parts that we were coating,” Diacono says. “A light turned on in my brain and said ‘no problem.’ This came second nature to me.”

Along with Ben Jamrog, his Director of Operations, they were soon buying more fabricating equipment, from band saws, turret punch, and press brakes to welders. Soon the building was too small; after two years in Livonia, they moved to Walled Lake into a 55,000 sq. ft. building.

“Next thing I know, another oven and manual paint line, more paint booths, CO2 lasers, CNC routers, more welders, media blast booth, overhead crane, and much more,” Diacono says.

Name Change to GLPC Fab
In 2018 he changed the name from Great Lakes Powder Coating to GLPC Fab, and they now have in place a fully automated LS5 fiber sheet laser (BLM), LT7 fiber tube laser (BLM), and two electric press brakes (BLM) with the bulk gas system.

GLPC does batch coating but only has two ovens; a large oven 12’x10’x25’ they designed and installed manually has “the oval racetrack,” which Diacono says is a signal line that enters into the 30-foot long spray booth, then, in turn, two divides into nine tracks that can be used to cure the powder. The parts come out to cool down back into a single track.

He says doing this gives GLPC the ability to run very large parts to many small parts in one oven. “Powder coating is our bread and butter of the company,” Diacono says. “But also is the fabrication, laser, forming, welding, and assembling.”

3D Design, Manufacturing, and Powder Coating
GLPC Fab does 3D design, manufacturing, and powder coating for many industries, including the energy grid, LED fixtures, car washes, transportation systems, robotics, production lines, and non-automotive parts.

“One thing I do not is put all my eggs in one basket,” Diacono says.

GLPC Fab has 16 employees but can staff six more with no problem if they could find them. In fact, Diacono says their “only competition now is UIA (aka unemployment).”

“We do not have too much competition that can compete with a company that has a one-stop shop,” he says.

Diacono says GLPC Fab is a very strong company because they are not afraid to purchase the newest technology for fabrication and powder coating. He says doing so has brought in large companies and customers.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | Finishing & Coating

April 2021 Digital Issue of FinishingAndCoating.com
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AmCon, GLPC Fab, Great Lakes Fab

GLPC Fab Participated in AmCon

GLPC Fab participated in AmCon, a design and manufacturing expo at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, in 2016. CEO and founder of GLPC Fab Dewain Diacono said, “It was one of the best local shows for response to our company.”

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Environmental Benefits of Powder Coating

For many, the decision to opt for a powder coat in favor of a traditional liquid finish comes as a result of powder coating’s superior durability, increased capacity for unique design and affordable value.

While these are all surefire advantages that have led to powder coating’s immense popularity, there is also a multitude of environmental benefits associated with powder coating.

So, not only do powder coats provide customers with a highly durable and unique product, but they also allow them to make a convenient and effective contribution to the environment’s well being!

Perhaps the most important environmental benefit is that, unlike traditional liquid finishes, powder coatings do not contain any solvents. These solvents found in liquid finishes emit harmful pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Conversely, the quantity of VOC’s released by powder coats is either zero or extremely close to zero.

The production process is another important environmental factor to consider. The amount of waste generated in the production of powder coating is far less than that of liquid coating. Furthermore, the overspray produced while applying powder coating is highly recyclable, and nearly 100% of the coating can be used.

In conclusion, customers should keep in mind that not only are they doing themselves a great service by purchasing a highly affordable, durable and stylish powder coat, but they are servicing the environment as well!

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Oakland Press

“Honesty and integrity with every breath I take” is the mantra of Great Lakes Power Coating’s Dewain Diacono.” It’s what gets me up in the morning and keeps me going.

As a young child, Dewain grew up in what he calls a separated family. His life changed when he met a man named Ray Cochran who ran a service station in his hometown of Redford. Cochran taught Diacono not only the core values that keep him going every day, but also how to build design and create.
“Ray knew something about me that I didn’t even know,” Diacono recalls. At first, Ray let Diacono hang out at the shop. Then, eventually, he put him to work. Young Dewain washed windows, checked oil and pumped gas. Once he was on the payroll, his job helped put food on the table for his family. Thus began a lifetime of work with a foundation of honesty and integrity.
With this great foundation and knowledge of his craft under his belt, Diacono was ready to grow. He started Accurate Collision, which he still owns, in Livonia. He successfully ran that for many years until a family friend Ed Kopacz of Kopacz Painting, encouraged him to enter the powder coating industry. Ed said he would give Diacono his bigger jobs, so Diacono bought some equipment and got started in his existing collision shop. He quickly outgrew, finally moving to his current facility in Walled Lake.
“I believe in diversification. You can’t survive in just one industry alone. You have to have the guts to diversify your company,” Diacono said. Diversify he has. “A customer could walk into five doors to get their products completed. With us, you only have to walk into one. We offer state of the art laser cutting, CNC turret punching, precision press bending and press braking, design, complete welding and of course, powder coating. My goal is to be one-stop shopping for my customers’ manufacturing ideas”
A couple months ago, Diacono proudly closed on a larger 55,000-square-foot facility in Walled Lake. It is within these walls that Diacono will continue to grow his operation.
Diacono has been working on manufacturing and automotive applications for 40 years. No job is too big or too small. He powder coats many everyday items such as wheel rims. patio furniture, and classic cars. He has also helped many entrepreneurs achieve their dreams by powder coating their inventions.
Diacono the inventor has recently received a patent of his own for hidden shower vanity. “It was eight years in the making but I knew it was something that wasn’t out there.” His invention holds shampoo bottles, razors and shaving cream and has a mirror on the front that can be defogged with shaving cream. He plans to sell it to large manufacturer soon.
Diacono doesn’t stop there. Because he was given an opportunity by his mentor at young age, he likes to give back. When possible Diacono flys for Angel Flights. Angel Flight is an organization the transports patients to hospitals or other facilities for specialized care. They also bring organs to patients for transplants. Diacono absorbs the costs of these flight, which can range from $500-$1,500 per flight. “I wish I could do it more. It gives you a thrill to help somebody. I try to give back on a daily basis.”
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Powder Coating Institute – Soaring On High

Like so many boys, Diacono used to dream of being able to fly like Superman. Just as his mentor advised, Diacono followed his heart and became a pilot. Because he attributes his success to having a mentor who taught him about honesty, integrity, and how to treat others, Diacono found it very natural to get involved with Angel Flights. He is a volunteer pilot who transports patients to distant facilities for specialized treatments or sometimes transporting organs for transplants.

“Angel Flights are on call for emergency response within a four hour service radius,” Diacono explains. “My service area goes from Minnesota to Pennsylvania and from the Upper Peninsula to Lower Ohio.”

Angel Flight pilots are volunteers who absorb all of the expenses (usually $500 to $1,500 per mission and for the maintenance, fuel,  insurance liability, etc.) plus their time. Some years, Diacono has flown up to 10 missions.

“It’s my way of showing my gratitude for all that has been given to me. It’s my way to give back to my community,” Diacono says.

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