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Lance Neward becomes SPE's 52nd president; ANTEC '93 draws 4700-plus to New Orleans.

A total of 4762 plastics professionals were "in that number" in New Orleans from May 9 to 14 to make ANTEC '93, the Society of Plastics Engineers' 51st Annual Technical Conference, a notable success. They were joined by 140 exhibitors, whose displays complemented the 664 technical papers (an ANTEC record), and the Society's extensive seminar program. SPE's new Executive Director, Eugene De Michele, presided over the installation of Lance M. Neward as President for 1993-1994. Dr. Raymond L. Ehrig, former Chairperson of the Plastics Recycling Division and still its newsletter editor, received the President's Cup in recognition of his service to the Society.


In choosing "Leadership" as his theme for 1993-1994, President Neward specified a cooperative leadership--the Executive Committee, Council, and the SPE staff all working together to achieve common goals. Four major leadership strategies were presented: to broaden the diversity and depth of the membership; to strengthen SPE presence internationally; to provide more and better services to members; and to provide for the future growth and strength of the Society. Mr. Neward cited specific goals for each of these strategies and for the members and committees that will furnish the leadership to implement them.

Reviewing his year in office, outgoing President Henry J. Wojtaszek noted that in a very difficult economic climate, SPE managed to maintain its membership and even finish with a small budget surplus. Pursuing his theme of "Focus," he emphasized two issues that have finally been resolved--certification and establishment of a non-North American office. A plan, timetable, and budget for certification have been proposed, and the Executive Committee has approved the establishment of a Brussels office. Mr. Wojtaszek also noted that the Capital Fund goal of $150,000 was oversubscribed by at least $10,000.

Plenary Speakers

This year's plenary speakers returned to two themes of recent ANTECs, profitability in the '90s and environmental issues. Ed Gambrell, vice president for the Polyolefins, Styron Polystyrenes, and Saran Products divisions, Dow Plastics, said that the key to industry profitability is growth achieved by rapid development of major new applications and obtaining the maximum value for these new products. He said that while "plastics are the most designable materials available ... 95% of the materials market is still in traditional materials," and the opportunities lie in challenging these materials, not in competition among polymers for old applications. However, traditional materials enjoy a more positive public opinion, and higher recycling rates. Mr. Gambrell called for the personal involvement of all industry employees in communicating the value of plastics and in the intense effort being made to solve recycling problems.

BFGoodrich's response to the public's environmental concerns, according to its president and chief operating officer, John N. Lauer, is a comprehensive, company-wide program for achieving excellence in health and safety areas, coupled with community outreach programs. Mr. Lauer believes that this approach--a proactive compliance program under the oversight of top management and honest, voluntary communication with the most concerned citizens--is the most effective means of changing the chemical industry's negative image.

The third plenary speaker, the 1993 SPE International Award winner, Dr. Donald R. Paul, professor of chemical engineering and director of the Polymer Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, discussed the use of compatibilizers to create, at lower cost, new polymers without new molecules and to produce viable products from mixed plastics waste. After reviewing earlier work that showed, in one example, how the miscibility of styrene-maleic anhydride (SMA) copolymers with various polyacrylates depended on MA concentration, Dr. Paul demonstrated that small amounts of SMA can form graft and block copolymers in situ at the interface between two incompatible components to greatly strengthen the interface and create a polymer alloy.

In the last plenary speech, Michael McEvoy, vice president, Baxter Healthcare Corp., touched on the shakeups and realignments in many industries and discussed the technologically based changes, such as the use of powerful computer workstations for CAD/CAM/CAE, that are shortening product development cycles. Noting the current emphasis on speed and product quality, Mr. McEvoy asserted that value-added high-tech products are being designed in what is basically a "get fast or go broke" environment. Fortunately, designers now have an abundance of computer-driven design tools and solid modeling techniques for rapid prototyping.

A full wrapup of ANTEC '93 will appear in next month's PE.
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Title Annotation:Plastics News Supplement; Society of Plastics Engineers; New Orleans, Louisiana
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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