High Performance Products

NEOGARD
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

For over half a century, NEOGARD has been meeting the needs of countless industries through its line of high quality, innovative coating systems.
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NEOGARD’s coatings are used for waterproofing and increasing the surface durability of floors, roofs and walls, providing resistance to traffic, adding traction, fire retardants, waterproofing or adding aesthetic value. The company’s products have been used worldwide in the construction sector and by architectural firms, engineers and consultants.

Becoming a division of the Jones-Blair Company in 1961 – a leading North American developer and supplier of high performance coatings – NEOGARD was acquired earlier this year by Danish-based Hempel. Its primary focus is on two distinct markets, namely oil and gas (industrial coatings) and construction through the NEOGARD brand. The strategic acquisition by Hempel will see an increased market for the company’s waterproofing products.

“We now have a lot of resources, especially with a large organization like Hempel, which has about twenty seven manufacturing facilities globally and a strong international presence,” says Ray Majid, technical department manager.

The company will now be able to produce the same quality and quantity of each product at all locations, a great benefit to the company and its clients. “Now we will be better able to distribute our products because we have more distribution points through the Hempel organization.”

NEOGARD’s massive headquarters in Dallas, Texas occupy a city block next to Love Field Airport, where the company has been located for the past eighty-five years. From there, it sells the bulk of its products to construction companies across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The company’s products are also used in the Far East, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and even into North Africa.

Although NEOGARD has its competition, being part of the Hempel group has given the company many strategic advantages in the marketplace. “With this integration into Hempel, we’re really confident that we’ll be able to expand our footprint, use some of their sales resources and spread out and become more of a truly global company,” states Majid.

NEOGARD works primarily through direct sales, dealing one-on-one with customers while many of its competitors sell through distributors. Its sales managers are actually on job sites talking to owners, architects, project managers, engineers and can follow projects all the way from beginning to completion forging relationships along the way. “We are able to give much better service in that way,” says Majid, “and that is one reason why NEOGARD has been able to survive against all these multibillion-dollar companies for so long.”

NEOGARD’s coatings have been formulated for maximum durability. The products are used primarily for three purposes, namely waterproofing (traffic coatings, vehicular and pedestrian as well as elastomeric wall coatings); roof coatings; and floor coatings, typically for interior floors. Within commercial construction, the company’s coatings can be found in stadiums, condominiums, the hospitality sector, healthcare, parking structures, educational facilities and institutions.

NEOGARD counts many Fortune 100 companies among its clients. In the business sector, some of NEOGARD’s clients include such names as General Motors, AT&T, Boeing, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Wells Fargo, Disney, the Bank of America, UPS and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The highly innovative team at NEOGARD are responsive to specific customer needs and they create products that are suited for particular applications. In the case of stadiums, for example, there are vehicular traffic coatings and pedestrian traffic coatings. To reduce slips and falls, these coatings have a texture to them. In other applications, such as food processing, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires antimicrobials be used in products to inhibit the growth of microorganisms.

NEOGARD products are typically applied by roller or spray for larger areas. Coatings can be installed by contractors, however, the company has a licensed applicator program. The popular annual training course held at NEOGARD’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas draws approximately 500 new applicators per year and is taught in both English and Spanish. Potential applicators are first screened for their experience and quality of work. They then undergo extensive training prior to being certified.

In order to have a warranty provided, applications must be performed by one of NEOGARD’s licensed applicators. In addition, the company uses a program through Arizona State University called PIPS (Performance Information Procurement Systems).

PIPS is administered by ASU. A log is kept of contractors who perform work for NEOGARD, and an annual survey is conducted of owners of projects it works on for their feedback and scorecards are created for each contractor. Business owners then contact NEOGARD for feedback about good contractors, where they can look up records and feedback from previous jobs through PIPS.

“It doesn’t boil down to who is the lowest bidder every time, because that’s what construction basically is. Here, you’re looking at the value of the contractor does and his quality, in addition to what price they can do it at,” says Majid.

Throughout its history, NEOGARD has earned a reputation for creating competitively priced high quality products. It is, however, a different world from when the company started over fifty years ago and environmental concerns were far fewer. To keep pace with the needs of modern customers, NEOGARD continues to lead the way in creating innovative coating solutions that are not only extremely durable, but respect the environment.

Coatings fall under LEED in a number of areas – including recycled content and renewable materials and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). NEOGARD realizes that in order to remain competitive, it must be innovative when it comes to new construction materials and methods and keep abreast of improved technologies and regulatory changes. The company continually makes research and development efforts in ‘high solids’, such as its FC traffic coatings line that uses less solvent or environmentally-friendly solvents.

“We stay ahead of VOC regulations like those enforced by South Coast Air Quality Management Division (SCAQMD) and in Canada,” says Majid. “We were ahead of the curve on non-halogenated fire retardants (banned by EPA) in our products by a full year.”

As part of NEOGARD’s multi-faceted approach, it embraces the use of friendlier solvents – like water – and ingredients lower in VOCs. The company also uses bio-based additives and recycled materials.

NEOGARD continues to produce state-of-the-art products. These include Elasta-Gard, a green product that can extend the life of a roof and save one-third off of cooling bills; RTS flooring systems, which utilize Polyaspartic, enabling a fast cure for quick turnaround and return to service; and Auto-Gard FC, low in VOCs and a strong brand for vehicular traffic.

Its team of about thirty members work in its laboratory on new product development based on factors such as input from customers and its sales force and vendors.

The company takes on well-known projects worldwide, including educational projects for both Notre Dame and Louisiana State University, along with Fountainbleu High School in Mandeville, Louisiana, and Hancock High School in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Its coatings have been applied at sports stadiums such as Petco Park, an open-air ballpark in downtown San Diego, California. In addition, the company works on projects for various levels of government and hospitals, including the Presidential Helicopter Support Facility at the Patuxent Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Maryland; the Detroit Water & Sewer Department in Troy, Michigan; and St. Luke’s Hospital Garage in Kansas City, Missouri.

Due to the nature of the industry – flooring products need to be re-applied after a few years of vehicular or foot traffic – the company has considerable repeat business and a very high degree of customer satisfaction.

New customers are attracted through a variety of means. Although often referred by satisfied customers, the company also attends trade shows, engages in direct mail, has a highly-experienced sales force and receives referrals via independent representatives and distributors.

When it comes to the future, NEOGARD shows no signs of slowing and is continually developing new technologies for its clients. “We team up with our applicators, our customers, and basically we get a lot of feedback from them as to what their needs are, how we can improve our products, how we can create new products, and so forth,” says Majid.

Recently, the company devised a skid-proof traffic coating that eliminates an entire step involving broadcasting aggregates into the coating for traction. Their solution has aggregate already packaged in the coating. In the past, the challenge was suspending aggregates into liquids, which usually do not combine well. With the lab team, the company devised a unique way to incorporate a synthetic recycled aggregate into the liquid coating.

“It is very clean, and it suspends very well in our liquid: it doesn’t sink, and it doesn’t float to the top.” Part of NEOGARD’s Auto Gard-T system, the company beat its competitors by being first to market. “No other manufacturer has anything like it,” comments Majid.

“By doing this, we have eliminated a whole step in the application, thereby saving the contractor time and money, and it is performing better than the quartz aggregate based systems. A lot of this came from a customer need and then working with our lab on product development, and coming out with a solution to that need. So we are very customer-driven when it comes to new product development.”

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