For over 35 years, Girish C. Dubey has gone to work every morning to make a positive difference to the pavement industry – and to the world.
A veteran of a demanding and crucial industry, Dubey, the charismatic chief executive officer and president of Specialty Technology and Research, Inc. (familiar to its many customers as STAR Inc.), never ceases to be amazed and gratified by the creativity, integrity, and vision of his staff and licensees worldwide.
“We are always looking for new ideas, and seeing what we can do that is new and exciting for the industry with our products and our technologies,” says Dubey. “I love working with all the members of the STAR family. “It’s a very cohesive group of people who have impeccable integrity in the way they run their businesses, and the services they provide to their customers,” he says. “People in the STAR family are professionals through and through. They run their businesses meticulously, and they look out for each other. And,” he reflects, “that’s the core of me showing up in the office every day after running this company for so long.”
Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio’s state capital, STAR in North America has grown significantly over the years in both domestic and international markets. Founded in 1986 and built upon Dubey’s many years of pavement industry knowledge and technical experience, the company today has 15 licensee plants in the contiguous U.S. and boasts its three international plants – in Australia, China and India – and full-line distributors in Mexico and Chile.
Friendly to users – and the environment
Over the decades, STAR Inc. has emerged as a pre-eminent manufacturer of sealcoating products for the pavement maintenance industry. Since inception in America in the fifties, sealcoatings have become a popular and highly effective way to protect and preserve asphalt surfaces in areas ranging from residential driveways, airports, and low to medium traffic roads to large commercial parking lots.
Over the decades, the sealcoating industry has steadily advanced, taking advantage of the evolving technologies and materials. STAR has been a forerunner in the industry in its efforts to stay on the cutting edge of the sealcoating technology, while propagating the knowledge about their value and relevance. Although the inception was based on sealers made with refined tar, newer generations of sealcoatings have been developed over the decades, which are safer to use and boast minimal or no impact on the environment.
As a safer, cleaner alternative, Dubey and his team formulated STAR-TRITON®, a bold new line of products which are better, safer for sealcoating professionals, but also exceptionally durable and able to boost the life of pavement by 300 percent or more. Resistant to harsh weather, rain, snow, salt and gasoline, the product is not only long-lasting and attractive but also economical, costing about one-third the price of a new installation.
Released about five years ago, STAR-TRITON is one of two-dozen quality products made by the company. On par with refined coal-tar sealers (RTS), it has proven itself to be even better than asphalt emulsion-based sealcoatings (AE) at resisting petrochemicals and other potentially damaging substances.
“It’s more user-friendly and environmentally friendly,” says Dubey of STAR-TRITON, which is water-based, non-burning, and has minimal odor compared to older RTS products on the market. In fact, most STAR customers switched from RTS to STAR-TRITON overnight. “It’s an outstanding alternative for refined coal-tar products.”
As well as producing STAR-TRITON, the company is behind other unique and long-lasting sealcoatings, crack fillers, traffic paints, specialty products, additives, primers, and concrete products.
Another starring role
Introduced to the market around 2015 – at the same time as STAR-TRITON – is STAR SPECTRUM®. A revolutionary new type of color coating for pavements, STAR SPECTRUM is heralded as belonging to “a new generation of pavement maintenance products,” according to the people at STAR, and for good reason.
Made from quality materials including colorfast pigments, performance boosters, minerals, and specialty additives, STAR SPECTRUM is a 100 percent acrylic latex polymer-based coating that protects paved surfaces from inclement weather, chemicals, and much more. Available in a rainbow of vibrant standard and custom colors, STAR SPECTRUM is ideal for safety, traffic delineation, corporate identity, and other applications. Providing supreme durability, the line is also non-hazardous, making it well-suited to playgrounds and other public areas.
Best known for its many sealcoating product lines, STAR also manufactures products specifically for concrete, including MACRO-DECK®, which effectively protects concrete against damage from the elements and chemicals. Formulated with acrylic polymers and specialty chemicals, MACRO-DECK is well-suited to resist salt, and ideal for everything from concrete bridges to support structures, highway dividers and other concrete surfaces. The MACRO-DECK product line is complemented with other quality concrete products such as STAR® ARMOUR-GUARD™, STAR-CRETE ACID-ETCH, STAR-CRETE ACRYLIC LATEX CONCRETE STAIN and STAR-CRETE STAR PRISM – a clear concrete-penetrating sealer,
Categorized as an essential industry because of the need for ongoing infrastructure maintenance, STAR Inc. hasn’t slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while some segments in the industry may have slowed down due to supply issues, STAR hasn’t had any such problems. “The main reason is that the raw materials we’re using are all indigenous,” says Girish. “Nothing is imported, and that could affect the supply chain.”
The hallmark of STAR’s prominence is its commitment to Research and Development, taking advantage of emerging technologies, quality control and assurance for consistency in performance. All R & D and quality assurance functions are carried out at STAR’s headquarters in Columbus, OH.
STAR Technology Licensing Program – the key to growth
Uniquely, STAR is the sole American company offering independent business people the technology-licensing opportunities to manufacture sealcoatings.
“Our technology-licensing program is quite unique and highly cost-effective when compared to a typical run-of-the-mill franchise program,” say the people at STAR. “We allow our licensees to grow in their business environments with the least amount of restriction on their business activities, as long as they conform to the quality standards of our sealcoatings.” STAR works exclusively through its licensee plants who manufacture sealcoatings and supply other STAR plants in their respective regions.
STAR’s Technology Licensing Program has been the main avenue for growth since its inception in 1986. STAR has a very conservative approach in selecting the licensees. In addition to their experience and background, STAR licensees must have impeccable integrity and a commitment for serving the pavement maintenance industry. In 2017 and again in 2018, the company welcomed new licensees to the STAR family. At present, STAR is working on several manufacturing opportunities in both domestic and international locations, and exploring other growth avenues.
More than products
A great believer in the quality of his company’s products, President and CEO Dubey also strongly believes in educating customers about the science behind sealcoatings and other products for the sole purpose of empowering them to select the right products. Dubey believes that an educated customer is a dedicated customer, and has published numerous articles in trade magazines over the past decades.
Through its YouTube channel, the company promotes Triton, Macro-Fast, Macro-Flex, and other items. Along with a growing presence on social media sites, the company’s well-established website – containing a wealth of information including downloadable product descriptions, technical data sheets, source books and more – is undergoing a redesign.
“We are going through a complete makeover of the website,” Dubey says, “and we’ll be including more videos to make it helpful for contractors as well as property owners with regard to product application, selection of the materials, and so on.” Additional informative videos are still being worked on, but the new site will be up by this spring.
For Dubey, who was inducted into the Pavement Hall of Fame in 2019, the sealcoating industry is both a profession and a passion.
Holding Master’s Degrees in Inorganic Chemistry, a degree in Polymer Chemistry, and years of hands-on experience, Dubey has been an integral part of the sealcoatings industry since the early Seventies. After all these years, he still welcomes each new morning, eagerly anticipating the day’s work with his clients and other members of the STAR family.