Plugged In: Charlie Shaver, Axalta
As CEO of a company that’s become a major sponsor in NASCAR and with the likes of Mercedes in Formula One, Axalta’s Charlie Shaver has a unique vantage point on motorsports. Shaver, whose business-to-business focused company is one of the largest in paints and coatings in the world, dished on all things racing prior to the Daytona 500, where the company was named the official paint partner of NASCAR.
In this day and age, you don’t have six hours to spare — I think maybe NASCAR [races should be] three hours or 300 laps.
On shortening the length of NASCAR races: A thing that [F1] does well is the race is two hours or “X” laps, and I love it. The beautiful thing is if we’re in Monte Carlo, the race starts at 2, it’s over at 4 and we’re at dinner by 5:30. Then it’s drinks on the Mercedes boat; bus picks us up, and I know I have a drink in my hand with my customer. In this day and age, you don’t have six hours to spare — I think maybe NASCAR [races should be] three hours or 300 laps.”
On replacing Sherwin-Williams as the official paint of NASCAR: It’s just another brick in the wall for us, tying it all together, the relationship with ISC and NASCAR — we measure it. Not only bringing customers here but networking across the literally thousands of suppliers that NASCAR has. People think there are a few suppliers of NASCAR; no, there’s literally thousands of companies behind all these parts and pieces, so for us, while we’re big in automotive, we’re also big in industrial coatings. Several years ago we figured out that [Haas Automation founder and Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner] Gene Haas does several powder coatings on his CNC machines, so now we do all their powder coatings. So some of that is just direct relationships where we can do more. Sometimes it’s just a matter of meeting a person and finding out what they do, so the networking for us is important.
On how a B2B company like Axalta is taking advantage of a consumer-facing opportunity in the company’s branded entrance and adjacent area inside Daytona International Speedway: Well, given the fact that three of our big customers are here in Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford, and the fact that at the Rolex 24 all the Ford guys used our suite instead of their’s, we’re not trying to appeal to the consumer. So tomorrow we’ll have a lot of our industrial customers in here. For them, when they come in that gate, they’re coming into Axalta. Look at the logo out front — it’s the big “A” with Axalta. We want to own the space. And so far it’s a lot of building blocks to do that.
— Adam Stern