PPG's Industrial Coatings business is proud to feature some of the key people behind our business through this new Get to Know blog series.
As the commercial strategy manager, Americas, Maria defines and implements the sales and go-to-market strategies for Industrial Coatings throughout North America, South America, Central America and Latin America.
Enjoy this first-person account of her work and learn what drives her personally and professionally.
What prior roles did you have with PPG?
Before I was promoted to my commercial strategy role in 2021, I was in business development for electrical equipment coatings and then a commercial strategy role in general finishing.
What opportunities for growth do you see in commercial sales in 2023?
The key areas for growth are in the reshoring of manufacturing in the Americas, electrification and infrastructure. These represent the strongest growth opportunities for our Industrial Coatings business and for our customers who service those manufacturers.
In electrification, we are seeing many customers expanding their operations to increase the capacity of critical electrical equipment to support the grid modernization driven by energy transition and rising demands. Key investments in infrastructure will be needed to support these initiatives.
With these sectors positioned for growth, manufacturers should capitalize on the opportunities to review their paint specifications to ensure that they are using the best available coatings that will improve manufacturing efficiencies to keep up with demand and maximize the service life of their products.
What trends are driving the industry forward?
I am seeing an increased emphasis on sustainability. Our customers are eager to partner with us to explore products and processes that deliver measurable and impactful environmental improvements. As a company focused on sustainability, we are thrilled that a growing number of PPG’s customers share our mission.
Another growing trend is alternative substrates like composites, varying levels of galvanized metals, and aluminums in new customer product designs. This requires PPG to stay ahead of the trends to innovate or adjust how our pretreatments and paints perform on these products.
The third trend is a greater emphasis on color in traditional industrial markets. More than ever, our customers are interested incorporating colors or textures into a variety of end-use industrial products.
What motivates you in your role?
My passion for industrial sales drives me to support our sales teams with the market knowledge and tools to succeed. The role of a salesperson is evolving as they need to adjust to highly educated buyers who are emphasizing data and technology to drive their coating supplier decisions. It is critical to focus on upskilling our sales teams so they have access to the best resources in the field.
How do you think PPG stands apart in the coatings industry?
Our exceptional technical support, which brings incredible value to our customers. Also, our product innovations, specifically within our powder technology. We are proud to lead the way with our high transfer efficiency coatings and PPG ENVIROCRON LUM® retroreflective powder. Our heavy investment in R&D has resulted in product innovations that really set us apart.
Are you working on any resolutions in 2023?
I played the viola for many years in school and loved being part of the orchestra. To my surprise, my daughter also chose to play the viola. I have just had my instrument repaired and plan to take lessons so that we can play music together.
When you travel, what is the one thing that you never leave home without?
My running shoes so I can exercise in a hotel gym or take a run outside.
Do you have any interesting hobbies or pursuits?
I love the ballet. I am a long-time season ticket holder with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. I also enjoy cooking and playing golf.
What is something that people might be surprised to learn about you?
Although I was born in the United States, I did not learn English until I was about to start kindergarten. My family spoke Greek at home.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Are you passionate about any causes?
I am very passionate about our veterans. They give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and I want to do my part to ensure that they are taken care of and supported as they return to civilian life.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A fashion designer. I started selling retail as a teenager and quickly realized that while I appreciated fashion, my true love was sales. My interest in sales shaped my career as I tried different types of industries, including medical and consumer products. I found a true home in manufacturing and industrial sales.
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