The Sealant, Waterproofing, and Restoration Institute, also known as SWR Institute, is an organization dedicated to providing a “collaborative environment for members” and strives to be the “most respected source of knowledge in the sealant, waterproofing, and restoration industry” (SWR Institute). SWR Institute was originally founded in 1976 by George Grenadier of The Grenadier Company, and Mike Chiodo of Culbertson Restoration, Inc. with 12 initial members from across the country. The goal of the organization was to educate contractors of the sealant and waterproofing industry on better application methods and examine the best high-quality products to use in the field. The sole focus of the SWR Institute has always been contractors, but in 1977 to aid in the growth of the organization, the decision was made to invite manufacturers to join in the association’s efforts. Pecora Corporation was one of the first manufacturers to join the organization. Since its inception nearly 45 years ago, SWR Institute has added design professionals to the list of associates and has increased membership from 12 industry-related businesses to 275 and has even gone international.
In 1977, around the time Pecora joined the SWR Institute, we were experiencing our own expansion with the relocation of manufacturing from Philadelphia to its current site in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. Over the next 5 years, Pecora began the introduction of silicone sealants into the product line, which quickly became our flagship product. The SWR Institute became integral for Pecora in ensuring the silicone product line and the traffic coating product line received the stamp of approval through their Product Validation Program. “The Product Validation Program is voluntary and laboratory tests are conducted by approved independent laboratories. This offers assurance to end users that the products included under the program match or exceed the performance data reported on a manufacturer’s datasheet” (SWRI Institute). Roy Cannon, Director of Construction Materials Technology, has been involved with the SWR Institute for over 15 years. Because the SWR Institute is such respected source of knowledge for contractors in the industry, it was important for Pecora to participate in the program. He says, “as a member of the Product Validation Committee, I find the program very important and have worked to validate many of our Pecora products.”
As a member of the SWR Institute, you have the opportunity to attend two meetings which are held annually in the Spring and the Fall, access to training materials, publications, American Institute of Architects (AIA) which is a great source for continuing education credits, networking, helping set standards for the industry, and fellowship (SWRI Institute). The SWR Institute meetings are a fantastic networking opportunity for individuals in the industry that boast both a professional and social atmosphere. Kelly Johnson, Regional Technical Sales Manager for Pecora covering California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii has been attending SWR Institute meetings for over 30 years. He says, “the meetings are always useful and interesting. I like listening to the project profile presentations especially when it is one of your customers who has used your product. Competitor product presentations are also helpful because they offer us an opportunity to learn about new and innovative technology in the industry, news and happenings, and what I am competing against.” “The intimate environment at SWR Institute meetings fosters fellowship that benefits all membership groups. Members come to depend on each other’s areas of expertise, and they help each other with business opportunities and challenges throughout the year. The environment at SWR Institute meetings also allows members to feel comfortable sharing their experiences, whether good or bad, with the audience when giving presentations. This free flow of information provides members with invaluable knowledge that would otherwise only be learned through trial and error. SWR Institute depends heavily on members to give presentations at meetings. Providing presentation skills training and offering presentation opportunities that are less intimidating will help break down barriers for members to commit to speaking at our conferences” (SWRI Institute). Joe Virdone, President of Pecora Corporation says, “the organization really tries to be as proactive as they can be. Meetings are great for seeing people, some new products, and learning something new you didn’t know before. Training sessions are generally well put together and informative.” The SWR Institute is the Voice of the Industry.
To learn more about the organization, how to become a member, or the Product Validation Program, please visit the SWR Institute website at https://www.swrionline.org/.