“To be successful in business, you need to have passion in what you do.” On Wednesday, September 3 2015, Bill Zahner gave this advice to over 200 UMKC students, alumni and supporters as part of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s First Wednesday series. Zahner embodies this advice, as his passion led him to head one of the foremost metal work companies in the world.

The Semantic Metal Surface The Semantic Metal Surface
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The Semantic Metal Surface

The Semantic Metal Surface is an article which outlines the sustainable aspects of various metals. Written by L. William Zahner, the piece was originally published in the architectural quarterly, “Forward, The Architecture & Design Journal of the National Associates Committee.”When defining a logic to use a particular surface material, various aesthetic qualities such as color, texture, patterns and boundaries are often considered. In our pursuit to arrive at materials that perform over a lifetime and do not possess hidden cost to our children's future, considerations of manufacture and eventual recovery and recycling of the material must also play a part. Architectural metals achieve these design requirements. They are durable and lightweight. They can be formed, shaped, pierced, cut and machined in ways only plastics can attempt to copy.Architectural metals are the family of materials that encompass aluminum alloys, copper and copper alloys, brasses and bronzes, iron and steel alloys including stainless steels, lead, tin, titanium, and zinc.Each of these metals has a vast array of finishes and textures that add color and interface with light like no other substances on earth. Many of these metals can be coated with other metals to enhance their performance or aesthetic appeal. For example, zinc in the process of galvanizing provides tremendous benefit via galvanic protection to steel. Aluminum and steel are often painted to provide a particular color while adding a barrier to prevent the ambient conditions from affecting the base materials’ performance. In these cases, metals act simply as an affordable ductile form.

Zahner lectures at UMKC
“We always keep pushing to exceed customer expectations,” Zahner said at Wednesday’s presentation. “Our people want to be proud of what they do. That’s exactly what you want to instill in a company.”

Read more about Zahner’s presentation at UMKC, and sign up for future talks at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management’s first Wednesdays program.