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Ecology Coatings names CEO, prepares to go public


The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tuesday November 7 2006

10:20 a.m.


Ecology Coatings Inc. of Akron has named a new CEO and laid plans to become publicly held.


The company, which uses nanotechnology to make special coatings for manufacturers, said F. Thomas Krotine would become president and CEO. Krotine replaces Richard Stromback, who will become chairman.


Krotine is a former senior vice president of Sherwin-Williams Co., the Cleveland paint company. More recently, he had created a company to acquire stakes in small and mid-sized manufacturers, and then had been chairman of CV Materials, which makes things out of porcelain enamel. (Link: release)


Ecology Coatings also said it had a deal with OCIS Corp., which has a bulletin-board stock listing but no operations, to swap shares and take over the shell of OCIS, renaming it Ecology Coatings. Such deals are a common way for companies to go public with less of the paperwork involved in starting from scratch. (Link: release)


“Going public through an APO gives us strategic access to the growth capital we need to take Ecology Coatings from an innovative R&D shop to a full-scale, dynamic commercial enterprise," Krotine said in a news release. “Upon completion of the APO and this financing round, Ecology Coatings will be able to scale up its activities and tackle additional markets."


More about Ecology Coatings


The Plain Dealer, March 19, 2006:

Privately, industry insiders have worried about Ecology Coatings Inc. since the Akron nanotechnology company started shopping for a big venture capital deal late last year.


Chief Executive Rich Stromback had hinted ... his belief that out-of-state investors would throw more money than local players such as Draper Triangle, Early Stage Partners and JumpStart. He also made it clear Ecology would move – for the right price.


“That's the way the game is played” is how several brushed off the semi-threat. They suggested that Stromback was trying to drive up Ecology's worth, which already was high, considering that the firm has been pro- filed in Time magazine and the Wall Street Journal.


This week, there is good news and bad as the game advances to a new stage.


The good: Stromback told [The Plain Dealer] that Ecology is no longer expecting a big venture capital deal. The bad: He has pretty much written off Akron's chances of holding on to the firm.


Stromback said he's now looking to acquire or merge with an industrial coatings company, one that could leverage Ecology's nanotech applications and bring the firm new clients. He also is seeking strategic investors who have nano expertise and contacts, not early-stage venture capitalists who are more interested in building a company from scratch.


Akron, he said, is being ruled out because it is “prohibitive” in terms of location.

The Plain Dealer, Dec. 29, 2005:

The invention for which Sally Ramsey is most well-known is the one she invented by accident.


After testing a round of ultraviolet-curable coatings in her Akron nanotechnology laboratory, Ramsey was about to throw away the scrap paper that she had used to shield her equipment from the chemical spray. Then she had a hunch.


That hunch got her mentioned in Small Times, the nanotech industry’s equivalent to the Wall Street Journal. Then she got mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. And then Time magazine.


Those paper shields, once coated with the liquid nanoparticle cocktail, were waterproof. Yet she could write on the paper legibly with pens lying around her lab.


Ramsey’s coatings require only three seconds of exposure to UV light to dry, while standard finishing procedures on manufacturing floors tend to take up to 20 minutes. Her innovation could make waterproof paper easier to find.


“That one’s just the most fun, I guess,” Ramsey said, shrugging off what for her is one of 12 patent-pending environmentally friendly and cost-effective applications.


Ramsey also shrugs off being considered an inventor. She prefers to classify herself as a “strange thinker” – someone driven by a natural curiosity.


“She has all of the earmarks of someone who’s going to create something different than what anyone else is,” said Ecology Coatings Chief Executive Rich Stromback, who met Ramsey two years ago and quickly became her business partner. “She’s a lone inventor taking a different path.


“When I first got to know her, I thought, ‘Boy, here’s a person who doesn’t even know how good they are.’ That’s typically something you find in someone who’s great.”

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Actually, you can make your own waterproof paper in no time. In an open and well-ventilated area do the following:


Lay out your sheets of paper on top of some newspaper. Spray them lightly with clear acrylic or better yet epoxy spray paint. Wait 5 minutes to dry. Flip them over and spray them lightly again. Wait 5 minutes to dry. Another coat if you're going to leave them continuously immersed.


The 'nano-particles' are of course the paint molecules binding with the paper fiber. This home-brewed waterproof paper has held up great in our caches. Sometimes log entries written in pen will run a tiny bit when the log gets wet, but the paper never dies.


In fact, there is a type of sailboat called the Australian 18 Skiff that is one of the fastest small sailing monohulls in the world. They race them in Sydney Harbor, and the races are followed by gambling boats full of spectators betting on the outcomes of each race like horse races. These 18 foot boats are usually made by laying cardboard out in a mold, placing carbon-fiber stringers and ribs on top of the cardboard, and spraying the whole thing down with epoxy resin. Then the boat-builder squeegees the extra resin off the cardboard leaving only the amount of resin the cardboard can absorb. When the hull sets up it's painted so you never know it's basicly reinforced paper. These boats sail at speeds up to 30 miles per hour and only weigh about 300 pounds with all the rigging and trapeze racks and everything. The hull-only wieght is often under 200 pounds for an 18 foot extreme performance boat.


Obviously I didn't invent my technique!


- T of TandS

Edited by tands
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