Cheryl Pidzarko, Corporate Director of Cadillac Coatings, has been involved with the business since her and her husband Dennis committed to it full time and made it their one and only business in 2009. Since its inception, Cadillac Coatings has been in high demand in the architectural design industry by providing a powder coating service that's more aesthetically pleasing, durable, and environmentally sustainable than their liquid finishing competitors. But their rise in the industry hasn't been without growing pains. Cadillac has continued to refine their process and is just scratching the surface of the potential of their patented Paintline production line. And Cheryl has been learning along every step of the way.
Can you give a brief overview of who you are and your role at Cadillac Coatings?
Cheryl Pidzarko – Corporate Director: I am actually a trained Legal Assistant, who left the industry to have children. My husband and I then concentrated on our home based business – custom design and manufacturing or kitchen cabinets. It was during that process that Dennis was intrigued with the different options for finishing wood (as it was always a problematic area in our industry). The research and development of finishing became Dennis’ passion and we moved forward with research, development and fund raising following the creation of a system that could put powder on wood for a more desirable, and durable finish. I have been with Cadillac since its inception in many different positions. Today my focus is specifically on business development, and taking this business to the competitive edge.
What first attracted you to the industry?
The need for something more durable, with less environmental impact.
What do you think has been the secret to the success of Cadillac Coatings?
Passion and persistence. The need is there, trying to teach the industry that they need it has been the challenge.
As industry success is built on partnerships, what has been your favourite part of working with other Alberta construction companies?
Alberta cares about its people, they take pride in their work and are looking for longevity in the products they are developing and building. The commitment to strive for better is infectious in this province.
How has the current economic landscape of Alberta impacted your industry?
This industry has definitely been impacted, but it has also been a learning lesson in that you can’t just quit. The need for diversification has taught me that if you don’t have what you want, go get it. With the slowdown of the economy, we have been forced to look into other options for our finish and other geographical areas within Canada and the US. It's taught us that you can’t sit and wait for the work, you must get out there are find it.
What measures has Cadillac taken to weather the storm of the current economic climate?
Diversification, geographical outreach, and a marketing push.
What do you think is the #1 innovation that is going to change the landscape of architecture in the next 5 years?
Green construction and longevity. When the industry is challenged, everyone wants better and cleaner. It is the job of the contractors to give those customers what they need to help drive their originality and prove their products.
What innovation is Cadillac Coating currently capitalizing on to make them stand out from other suppliers?
Our innovative Paintline is creative and different from any other powder coating system in the industry today. The flat line offers support and stability to products that are more heat sensitive. Warping can be a huge problem when you combine heat and hanging of products, our conveyor gives the material a flat surface that helps keep the integrity of the product intact during the finishing process. COLOR – with branding/re-branding of customers buildings, color continues to remain in the forefront of their designing process. Specific colors portray specific business: ie, KFC red. They keep tones specific to their brand, the process of custom matching is imperative to the current industry needs.
What's something interesting about Cadillac's service that many people may not know?
Our powder coating process has the capability to coat many different substrates: fiber cement, MDF, aluminum, wood composite. We're a family business that takes pride in every project we work on and we personally see it through from start to finish.
What's your favourite CC story to share?
My husband attended a home and garden show and was looking at an exterior cladding product that he liked. The representative from that company told him that although they loved the product, the problem area was getting the colors that customers wanted. At this time, our business focused on interior applications. The substrate was something completing different and totally out of the realm of where our business plan was designed to take us. So, he brought it to the warehouse and decided, I’m going to coat this, and he did. Shocked, surprised and amazed that it worked, we realized then that this machine has capabilities that we never thought imaginable. Here we are today, coating 75% exterior products with a powder that exceeds our expectations and has taken us to a whole new level that we initially never thought possible.
What's the most challenging part of running a company like CC?
Educating the industry that liquid is not the only option for post finishing products.
What's the most rewarding?
Seeing a finished product on the wall. When we are finished with a job, we get the permission from the owner/contractor to visit the job site and view the finished product. To see the wall, hear that our customer is thrilled with the quality and hear the thanks we get from our customers while meeting their time restraints gives me great pleasure. There is no better feeling than knowing your work has made someone happy today.