Antonio “Toni” Stella, one of the most experienced tutors in the SA paint industry, has passed away at the age of 69. A former Training Manager at the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA), he died on March 22 after a short battle with cancer.
Stella held a Diploma in Analytical Chemistry and spent his entire career in the paint industry, starting as a laboratory assistant at Wardkiss Paints in 1970. He subsequently also worked for Dulux (twice) and was also employed in technical, marketing, and training capacities by Everite, Repex, Vascola, Prominent, Tinta, and Plascon before he joined SAPMA in 2013 and was still on contract with the association for the past three years while running his own business, Stella the Paint Fella.
Aggie Argyrou, chairman of SAPMA, said Stella’s training skills would be sorely missed by the coatings industry as few if any coatings trainers had his skills and experience. “He was a friend to all in the paint industry, always prepared to share his knowledge,” Argyrou added.
Tara Benn, executive director of SAPMA, said Stella played key roles for SAPMA, for example, managing the association’s Centre for Excellence in Springs and played a major part in training in general for the SA Paint Industry Training Institute’s (SAPITI). “His reputation as a valued tutor and instructor in the paint industry set new industry standards that will not easily be equalled,” she stated.
Deryck Spence, retired executive director of SAPMA, added: “Vastly experienced, Toni made significant contributions to many of the leading brands in the market as well as to the training of retailers and applicators alike. He played a meaningful role in SAPITI’s application training and was frequently called upon by the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) for input on training issues. The industry has lost one of the best paint trainers in the country who will be sorely missed.”