More than three decades after first entering Šmihel Primary School as a student, Dejan Stepanovski, PPG Optima Solutions site manager, Automotive OEM Coatings, returned to his alma mater. His purpose – lead the school’s transformative makeover during our first COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® project in Slovenia.
On the Front Line of Customer Service
Dejan and his 10-person team are located at a customer’s automotive manufacturing site in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. They manage the site’s paint mixing room and provide technical assistance on the paint line, receiving support from their production and laboratory colleagues in Spain and France.
“Being onsite allows us to resolve paint issues very quickly since we can begin analyzing the situation within minutes. We also have a holistic view of the production line, helping us pinpoint issues that may occur steps before a vehicle reaches the paint line.”
Serving as an example of the PPG Way to Lead, Dejan takes great satisfaction in helping and guiding his team members. He recognizes that each person is different and has distinct viewpoints and approaches.
Continuing a Legacy of Helping Others
Helping others was instilled in Dejan at an early age by his parents. When he learned of a new initiative under the Colorful Communities program to transform schools around the world, he knew he needed to bring a project to Slovenia.
Selecting the project’s recipient was simple. Šmihel Primary School was not only Dejan’s alma mater, it was also the school that other members of his team had attended.
“Some of the teachers who taught us were still there, and the paint on the walls was the same from some 30 years ago when I was a student. The school needed our help.”
A Community Comes Together to Help Its Own
To pull off the project, Dejan also needed help beyond his enthusiastic team members. He hired professional painters to handle repairs and painting beyond the ability of volunteers and secured donated food from a local caterer. He also worked with his Serbia-based colleague Milan Durkovic, who provided support and guidance and ensured Topdom’s involvement in the project. This major building materials store is a distributor of our architectural products throughout Slovenia.
“As one of the leading dealers in the field of roofing, building materials, facade systems and insulation materials in the Slovenian market with SIGMA COATINGS™ and GORI™ paints by PPG in our portfolio, we were glad that we could support this meaningful project and even hands-on help as volunteers.” Valerija Kuhar, marketing manager, Topdom
During the one-day event, more than 50 PPG, Topdom, community and school volunteers painted the school’s classrooms, hallways and wooden playground equipment. To support the project, we donated 1,500 liters (396 gallons) of Sigma Coatings and Gori paints in a color palette of orange, yellow, green and raspberry. We also provided sports equipment, including volleyball nets, table tennis tables and basketball hoops.
The school wasn’t the project’s only beneficiary, also Dejan was.
“I felt pure joy when seeing the happiness on the faces of the teachers and staff who attended the event, and I was very proud that my company was willing to invest so much in a school that needed help. The whole community came together, and that is why I hope to bring more of these projects to Slovenia.”