21 Oct Chemist’s Corner – Steve Johnson
DuraSlic Development Team, from left to right: Nick, Lily, Steve and Ken
Meet the Head Chemist of DuraSlic!
Steve Johnson was set up from a young age to succeed in a lab. He more or less grew up in one and played with chemistry sets in his spare time. Johnson’s father began work as a chemist at a rubber company, which he eventually purchased and expanded.
“Being in that lab as much as I was, I became interested in polymers,” Johnson said.
Steve’s interest in polymer chemistry led him to further his education at the University of Connecticut where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science. Then, he headed out to Akron University to earn a master’s degree in Polymer Chemistry. After finishing his education, it was back to the family company.
“I went to work with my father as the company chemist. Not only did I do that, but I got some crucial technical sales experience. We sold to defense companies and designed very high-end parts, so it got interesting to say the least.”
After some time working for his father, Steve left for Baltimore to become the head of research and development at a company that made coatings for electronics. It was here that Johnson garnered more sales experience and international exposure. Now with nearly a decade of professional chemistry under his belt, it was time to do his own thing.
Moving across the Atlantic Ocean to Israel in 1995, Steve founded Genesis Material Technology. Johnson was able to collaborate with the Israeli government to raise funding. GMT stayed in the Middle East until 2002 when Steve decided to return to the United States. The team set up shop in Akron, Ohio, where Johnson attained his master’s degree. By 2004, Johnson and his team had secured funding from the federal government and developed two innovative products for circuit boards.
Florida CirTech, DuraSlic’s parent company, saw the value of Johnson’s work and purchased GMT. FCT was able to continue develop the GMT technology to, and he began work on coatings for solar panels and SMT stencils. The stencil coatings led to the birth of NanoSlic in 2012. NanoSlic is a brand under the FCT umbrella focusing on hydrophobic coatings.
“Around 2012 when NanoSlic came to be, that’s really when things took off for us,” Johnson said.
NanoSlic had been growing and seeing success for nearly a half-decade before Steve and his team were approached by a Cincinnati-based supplier in the car care industry. They wanted to know if NanoSlic could create a coating that could be applied to automobiles.
“That’s when the lightbulb turned on. You could say that was the birth of DuraSlic.”
Once the lightbulb turned on, it was time to get to work. Johnson and the rest of the NanoSlic team took every detail into consideration to perfect the chemistry. They were close to having the formula down, but they were missing something.
Then, the missing piece popped up where they least expected it. Mike Scimeca, one the founders of Florida CirTech, bumped into Ryan Kirkpatrick, owner of Show Shine Detail in Windsor, Colorado. As fate would have it, he was looking for a new ceramic coating.
“Ryan had just ended his partnership with another company. Him and Mike got to talking, one thing led to another, and we decided to partner.”
Now that Steve and his teams had the industry insight they needed, DuraSlic’s formulas came to be. No details were left to chance and DuraSlic coatings were put to the test at NanoSlic HQ. Johnson and his team were able to create a ceramic coating that is hydrophobic, oleophobic, and bests the competition in a scrub test, the true test of performance. Now, it’s about satisfying the customer.
“A big part of my job is helping the customer get that smile on their face (because they know they have made a good investment.) We want to be able to make them feel good. We want their car to look good.”