Topics: Coatings, Corrosion, Failure Pages: 1 (610 words) Published: July 24, 2014

Alex Szokolik

ith 32 years in the coatings industry, Alex Szokolik has earned the right to be called a coatings specialist. In
1991, he retired from his position at
Esso Australia, where he was responsible for evaluating coatings for offshore and pipeline application,
writing specifications, performing
failure analysis, and conducting
maintenance coating surveys to
structure the company’s maintenance program.
Since then, Szokolik has
launched a new career as a consultant for his company A&A Szokolik Consulting Pty. Ltd. (Sale, Victoria).
The scope of his work includes
specification writing and reviewing,
failure analysis, design and supervision of test programs, development and presentation of training programs, coating inspection, and coating surveys.


Training Applicators
Szokolik’s current focus in his work
is education. The Australian coatings
industry is only just beginning to understand the importance of qualified industrial coatings applicators, he
says. Until recently, industrial applicators were an untrained group who had no recourse to a formal program of education. This situation was in stark contrast to that of house
painters, says Szokolik, who are re-

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Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings

quired to undergo three-year apprenticeships before achieving qualification. When new, high performance
coatings entered the Australian market, applicators were unprepared, says Szokolik. As a result, Szokolik
headed the drive to develop the first
training program that was conducted
at a technical college. Since then, he
has taken his program on the road
and has developed weeklong coating and inspection courses in Vietnam and Malaysia. He is also developing in-house courses for private companies. Szokolik has seen the
benefits of an increasingly educated
workforce. “People came to accept
coating failures as the norm. Now
they are slowly waking up to see
that this is not the norm.”
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