(Photo: Steve Mehlman (seated); Paul E. Robinson, Mike McLouth, Manjit Chopra (standing, left to right)
On December 30, 2016, our friend and colleague Steve Mehlman retired after 27 years of service for Minerals Research, Inc. (MRI), formerly Minerals Research and Recovery, Inc (MR&R). For most of that time, Steve was Sales Manager and then Vice President- Sales & Marketing and a driving force in the company’s expansion and development.
After serving as a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, Steve returned to his native Los Angeles, where he and his wife Genie launched and operated a successful food truck business. Steve then ventured into the surface preparation and roofing shingles business, where he quickly realized that with his creative, business and marketing skills set, he could make a positive difference. At the time, MR&R had a small production operation based in Ajo, Arizona. Thanks in large part to Steve’s energy, creativity, knowledge and determination, MR&R became a major player in its field in southern California and throughout the Southwest.
Steve helped to develop a waterjet abrasive, which became an important new product for MR&R. He also was instrumental in determining that air-cooled copper slag dust could be used very effectively in the sealcoating industry, and in adding that to MR&R’s product line.
Steve was – and is - a salesman’s salesman. He knows his products inside and out, he believes in them, and his customers know that he believes in them. Above all, he cares about his customers. If there was a delivery challenge at MR&R, Steve wouldn’t rest until he had solved it. If there were product issues, Steve became the customer’s advocate within the company. Customers found that Steve was always available and often dropped everything to go find out what was going on and work out how he could make it right.
Around the industry – most notably, perhaps, at the annual Steel Structures Painting Council (SSPC) shows – Steve was recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and likeable personalities in the business.
Steve will truly be missed by his colleagues at MRI, by his customers – many of whom he has known for more than 30 years – and by his industry contacts around the country.