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Released July 30, 2003

By Christopher Mapp

HATTIESBURG - A new environmentally friendly coating developed by researchers at The University of Southern Mississippi is creating quite a stir in the paint market.

Developed by Southern Miss' School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, American Pride paint has expanded from two locations to 10 stores in Mississippi and Alabama in less than a year on the market.

"Paint sales have doubled every month," said Rocky Prior, vice president and general manager of Southern Diversified Products, which markets American Pride in partnership with Southern Miss.

Currently, American Pride is available at both of Anderson's Paint Hattiesburg locations, four Seabrook outlets in Jackson, the Decorator Center in Meridian and at Gleem's Paint locations in Mobile and Gulf Shores. Charlie's Custom Colors in Picayune and Yates Building Supply in Philadelphia, the largest building contractor in the state, also stock the paint.

Prior said efforts are under way to make American Pride paint available to consumers and professional painters throughout Mississippi and in surrounding states. "We've had no complaints to date," he said. "I've been in the paint business a long time and that's simply amazing."

American Pride's soaring popularity comes from its cost, safety and performance. The paint contains no hazardous organic compounds and emits almost no odor, meaning it can be applied in occupied areas without complaints. Prior said the paint retails for about $8-10 less than leading premium brands while offering higher performance. "When people try it, they become believers," Prior said.

American Pride was used on the interior walls of the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg and will be used to paint the newly created offices of the Mississippi e-Center in Jackson for the Mississippi Technology Alliance Innovation Center.

Smith Painting, a local contractor, has already purchased about 800 gallons of American Pride for use in Jackson State University's Office of Information Technology and Center for Business Development and Economic Research. Paul Brunson of Anderson Paint said most commercial jobs do not use "top-line paint," but American Pride's superior qualities make it attractive to contractors.

Brunson said, "Everybody who tries it has fallen in love with it. The coverage is unbelievable. Most everything I've heard back is that they're able to cover with one coat rather than two or three."

American Pride paints are the result of a unique relationship between Southern Miss and Southern Diversified Products (SDP). This partnership gives SDP exclusive rights to license polymer technology created at Southern Miss.

SDP was founded under the Mississippi University Research Authority (MURA) by Dr. Shelby Thames before he was named the current president of Southern Miss. Dr. Thames' research group has focused for many years on the use of agricultural materials such as castor and soy oil to replace crude oil in a variety of applications. Southern Miss holds many patents in polymer research and receives royalties when various technologies are commercialized through SDP.

Thames said Southern Miss benefits twice through this partnership - through the royalties made from paint sales and from the job opportunities it gives Southern Miss' polymer science graduates.

"Taking these polymers from inception to the marketplace is the perfect marriage between research and economic development at Southern Miss," Thames said.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM