By GREG OLIVER
PICKENS COUNTY – John Cutchin currently serves as president of Palmetto Plating Co. Inc, a metal plating and finishing services company in Easley founded in 1964. But Cutchin also enjoys another distinction – the county’s first Scholar Technician.
Cutchin also believes in giving back to the local community. For the past 25 years, Cutchin has awarded a college scholarship to the top science student at Easley High School and Gettys Middle School.
Alliance Pickens Executive Director Ray Farley said Pickens County students seeking a role model need look no farther than Cutchin.
“He took the technology he learned in his high school chemistry class and combined that technology with the hard work in creating and sustaining the finest plating company in the southeast U.S.,” Farley said. “He is a gentleman’s gentleman and quietly lends his helping hand to our schools. For the jobs he creates and for his assistance in our schools, the Pickens County community is the fortunate beneficiary of Mr. Cutchin’s activities.”
Farley said Cutchin is a “firm believer” in hands-on technical training, currently employing students from Clemson University and Southern Wesleyan. In addition, Farley said Cutchin likes to bring in high school juniors to work alongside chemists at the company’s in-house laboratory and Cutchin also praised local career counselors and teachers for encouraging students to consider pursuing degrees that do not require four years.
Cutchin became interested in electropolishing as a chemistry student during his junior year of high school. After winning second prize at a regional science fair held at Furman University, Cutchin bought a bronzing kit for $50 and began bronzing baby shoes and other items for the local community – soon thereafter incorporating Palmetto Plating.
Palmetto Plating has seen a crucial part of its success from the automotive industry – coating 5,000 to 6,000 brake calipers daily. The company also regularly accepts jobs other platers refuse – including very large pipes or projects requiring an ultra-pure product.
Farley said Palmetto Plating also works with numerous clients in the aerospace industry and has received international accreditation for its quality management systems under the Aerospace Registration Management Program. Currently, the company is in the process of obtaining accreditation from the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program – the leading worldwide program within the aerospace and automotive industries.
“Mr. Cutchin serves as a shining example to aspiring Scholar Technicians of how hands-on experience can translate into a long and successful career,” Farley said. “He is a pillar of not just the local business community, but all of Pickens County.”
Cutchin has witnessed his company receive numerous awards through the years, including the 2009 Chucky Award, presented annually by Alliance Pickens to the “outstanding manufacturer”; and Products Finishing Top 50 Shops 2015 Award. Personally, Cutchin was named an Ambassador for Economic Development by the South Carolina Department of Commerce in 2014 “in recognition of his contributions to the manufacturing industry.”
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By GREG OLIVER