Hello folks this is Jay Watts VP at AFM Safecoat. Firstly I would like to say what an honor it is to team up on these podcasts with Andy Pace at Non Toxic Environments. Andy is one of the true visionaries in the wellness building business. We are confident that our presentations in the weeks and months ahead will be both educational and empowering.
Let me share a little of my background. I hold two degrees in applied arts from San Diego State University. Following a 5 year stint as art director for a local military publications company, I formed my own design company. In the early 90’s, we were approached by the owners of AFM Safecoat to help re-brand the company.
The quick back story to AFM Safecoat – Originally started by a veteran paint manufacturer in Riverside California, the brand evolved through a series of connections made with doctors by the owner in the then new field of environmental medicine. These physicians were treating patients with what’s known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or MCS. As a chemically sensitive person, the immune system gets over loaded by exposure to the hundreds of chemicals we are exposed to everyday. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be quite debilitating. Historically, the architectural coatings industry had focused product development on efficacy and economics. Product pollution or offgassing was not a serious consideration. In the early 70’s during the Nixon administration, the Environmental Protection Agency was established to regulate outdoor air pollution. Much headway was made during the ensuing years to improve outdoor air quality. What was missing however was any real concern for indoor air quality. Indoor air pollution can be many times more dangerous than outdoor pollution and therein lies the proverbial elephant in the room. The myriad number of building products used in new construction or remodeling were literally making the occupants sick. The owners of AFM recognized that a sea change in the everyday production of the companies paints and sealers needed a new focus. With the help of some very brave chemically sensitive patients the AFM chemists reformulated products one at a time testing with our human canaries in the coal mine to determine which formulations were the best tolerated. As you can imagine it was a daunting task but as word spread through the MCS community that someone was working on reducing product toxicity the demand for what was then (and now) called Safecoat was growing exponentially.
Once I learned the back story and realized the very important work the company was doing, we pulled our design team together to give the company the facelift it needed. Along the way, my interest and passion for architecture and building blossomed. At the same time the owners of AFM made me an offer to join the company that I could not refuse. 24 years later I am convinced it was one of the best decisions of my career.
These days I get no better satisfaction than counseling homeowners and builders on the importance of putting good indoor air quality at the top of their priorities list. Anyone that knows me knows that I like to cut to the heart of any pollution challenge prescribing remedies that in many instances I have tried and proved effective myself. Did I mention I am a chemically sensitive person? No matter.
What is important is that both Andy and I share a commitment to guiding our customers in the safest possible manner. I takes patience and a good bedside manner. We are hoping that it comes through loud and clear. Andy and I wholeheartedly subscribe to our Safecoat tagline – Building A Healthier World –
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