You could call him an untiring activist for better sealcoating – and a better sealcoating industry. Girish C. Dubey is passionate about how the advantages of improved performance in products made by his company, STAR Inc., can benefit every American who ever puts wheel to pavement.
Speaking about his induction this year into the Pavement Hall of Fame, Girish C. Dubey remains humble. As President of Specialty Technology and Research, Inc. (known to customers as STAR) since 1988 Dubey believes his recognition this past February in Nashville comes from his passion for educating others about sealcoating.
Among Dubey’s tremendous contributions to the pavement industry over the last 45 years, is his advocacy of sharing information. He frequently speaks at events like the National Pavement Expo and National Pavement Expo West; contributes articles to various publications; and is a founding member of the Pavement Coatings Technology Center, known today as the Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PCTC).
“I started in the pavement industry in the early 1970s,” he says, “working for my own company and promoting and developing products — which I’ve done quite a bit of over the years — but the main thing I consider was a factor in me being inducted was how I have shared technical knowledge, [fostering] a better understanding of what sealcoating is and what goes into sealcoatings.”
Voice of experience
With a background that includes master’s degrees in inorganic chemistry from India’s Gorakhpur University, polymer chemistry from Dayton, Ohio’s Wright State University, and years working for coatings company Hempel’s, Dubey is surely qualified to observe that sealcoatings are a highly precise, highly engineered product. Widely used in America since the late 1950s to protect and preserve surfaces such as home driveways, commercial parking lots, gas stations, and airports, sealcoatings are an industry driven by technology and innovation, he says.
And while many competitors are secretive about what makes great quality sealcoatings, Dubey is anything but, offering information for the betterment of products and for the education of consumers including pavement contractors and property managers.
“What goes into sealcoating, what makes a better coating, what influences properties of sealcoatings – that kind of knowledge was not shared. It was considered to be an art to make sealcoatings,” Dubey says. He adds that an additional motive for educating property owners and other end users is that they are able to make more informed decisions about which STAR product best suits their needs.
Always innovating and refining, STAR provides an evolving range of top-quality products – about two dozen of them – for all pavement maintenance requirements. These include professional-grade asphalt pavement sealers, additives to strengthen STAR’s high-performance sealers, hot and cold crack fillers, traffic paint, and primers and specialty products. A few lines have benefited recently from special attention by STAR’s R&D, including Spectrum – color coatings for pavement – and STAR-TRITON®, a unique, next-generation, sealcoating alternative that’s not based on coal tar or asphalt.
Beyond coal tar
“It is a very different and outstanding product,” Dubey says of STAR-TRITON. Extremely durable, it protects, preserves, and beautifies asphalt. But best of all, the product can increase the life of pavement by 300 percent or more, at a third of the cost of a new installation. Repelling water and protecting surfaces against salt, gasoline and other substances, STAR-TRITON is based on specific grades of petroleum resins, specialty additives and minerals. It is a practical cost-effective alternative to coal tar, which has been the basic ingredient of the industry’s output since its inception in the 1950s.
“The majority of the sealcoatings used in the country — about 75 to 80 per cent — used to be based on coal tar, and 20 percent was based on asphalt, primarily on the West Coast, because coal tar was not available on the West Coast,” Dubey says.
Manufactured with quality materials and state-of-the-art technology, STAR-TRITON has proven itself not only comparable to refined tar sealers for durability, but even “better than asphalt emulsion-based sealcoatings in resistance to fuel, salt and petrochemicals,” according to the company. For the company and its customers, the advent of STAR-TRITON comes at an ideal time, as coal tar faces regulatory challenges and is being banned in several states, counties, and municipalities. Last year, the company offered only a standard version of Triton. Today, clients can select premium grade STAR-TRITON PRO-BLEND, STAR-TRITON SUPREME, and STAR-TRITON ROAD-GUARD. “These are new products based on Triton,” Dubey says. They are also user friendly, produce fewer odors, and are better for the environment.
Designed and engineered for surfaces that have worn down after years of use, STAR ROAD-GUARD represents the next generation of road protection. Water based and environmentally friendly, the product is non-toxic, safe to handle, and produces almost no odor.
Precisely formulated with specialty chemicals, durable rubber polymers and mineral fillers, STAR ROAD-GUARD is superior to conventional surface treatment methods such as micro-surfacing or slurry sealing. It is also tough, long-lasting, and certified to meet or exceed specifications for emulsified asphalts like Federal TTC-555B and ASTM D-244. Ideal for parking lots and driveways, STAR ROAD-GUARD is also used for low-to-medium traffic roads like county roads, highway shoulders, and housing.
“It is an excellent product,” Dubey says. “It has all the performance qualities of coal tar-based sealers like salt resistance, chemical resistance, fuel resistance, and weathering resistance. It has all the properties of coal tar, yet it is very user-friendly as it does not irritate the skin, and has very low odor, which used to be a major issue with coal tar-based sealers.”
By licensing technology to independent owners as opposed to franchising, STAR provides quality control and quality assurance, education, and national marketing promotion to its licensees. Interest has continued to grow, with a number of prospects looking very favorably at the company. As a consequence, STAR has recently taken on a new marketing person to keep the momentum going.
Searching out new marketing channels, STAR is looking to get its products specified and used by major property owners and big-box stores with large real estate holdings, for the maintenance of their properties and parking lots.
Another area STAR is investigating is concrete maintenance. “It’s a huge industry, and it will take time,” Dubey says, “so our growth will be the development of concrete products, and those concrete products — as well as pavement-maintenance products — will utilize green technologies whenever available.”
With innovation and continual improvement in the performance of its products, Dubey says STAR’s sales are very closely aligned with the superior performance of its sealers, and will continue their growth as new product lines are introduced to the market.
“When customers are doing business with STAR, they can be assured of impeccable quality in our products, integrity, and the service delivered by our plants. We are always open to suggestions from our customers on how we can improve.”