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Society of Plastics Engineers.


This year has been particularly challenging and demanding for all involved in our Society. Several events that contributed to this situation included the decision of Mr. Bob Forger to retire, the conclusion of the 50th anniversary celebrations, and the overall economic situation around the world.

Mr. Bob Forger, Executive Director, retired in January after serving the Society for more than 33 of its 50 years. This event added responsibilities to the staff and the Executive Committee as the search for and final selection of our new Executive Director, Mr. Gene De Michele, proceeded.

The 50th anniversary celebrations were attended by staff, Executive Committee members, or Past Presidents of the Society. This added travel and responsibility were welcomed by all who participated. Meeting our members worldwide during this very special time was truly memorable.

The economic conditions have weighed heavily on companies and have taken their toll on the Society. Overall membership will not grow this year and is anticipated to remain at 37,000. In addition, some feel the pressure of their companies concerning time away from the job to serve the Society. We have reacted to this concern by holding Council and Executive Committee meetings on weekends, in order to reduce the burden of serving on "work" days. The Society also reacted to these conditions from a budget standpoint. We anticipate breaking even from a budget of over $5,700,000.

The 50th ANTEC was held in Detroit in May 1992. This was the same city that held the very first ANTEC in 1943. During this eventful week, I officially became the President of the Society. My theme centered around some of the issues that had been identified as important by previous administrations but were not progressing as well as expected. I felt that a number of activities had been identified as worthwhile, but were "stalled." They needed to be brought into perspective or pushed to conclusion. My theme of Focus was based on this need. I chose a number of these issues and inherited a few as a necessity of the position.

GOAL #1: Enhance the quality of technical programming.

This goal had three sub-goals. The first was to re-establish the Technical Program Committee as stated in the Society's Bylaws. This was enacted, with Chi-Kai Shih as Chair, and has been active in recommending improvements for our programming.

The second part of the goal was to review and react to ANTEC moderator reports. The analysis was completed and a number of issues that affect programming were noted. Appropriate actions are taking place, based on these findings. This review will be included as part of the normal routine of improving ANTEC programming in the future.

The third part of the goal was to encourage all Division and SIG TPCs to attend the TPC workshop. This workshop helps develop TPCs and will serve to improve our programs. A letter was sent to all encouraging them to attend, in addition to regular notifications of this event.

GOAL #2: Identify and encourage potential leaders of the Society.

All Past Presidents have recognized the need to have strong leadership in the Society. Among our 37,000-plus membership, we have many outstanding leaders. However, it is difficult to get them involved in Section and Division activities, let alone International activities. A big part of the problem is the lack of understanding as to exactly what is required from the volunteer and how one gets involved.

This led to the first part of the goal. In order to reach some of these potential leaders, a brochure was published that focused on International committees, the Executive Committee, and time commitments required to participate at the International level. The brochure was published in September and was so well received that its distribution went far beyond the original intent of the publication for only those interested in serving a leadership role in the Society.

The second part of the goal was to encourage members of Sections and Divisions to become involved in International activities and committees. Most of the International participation is from Councilors; however, this is not a requirement. At each Executive Committee visitation, Society members were encouraged to participate. I personally involved three non-Councilors in committee activities during this past year. Hopefully, this trend will continue and new leaders will develop from the process.

The third part of the focus on leadership development was to increase communications with those most obvious as potential leaders, our Councilors. Each Executive Committee member was assigned new Councilors for the purpose of encouragement to participate and to act as a mentor. This activity appeared to work very well in getting everyone to participate fully at our Council meetings.

GOAL #3: Develop a better understanding of Student Chapters.

There has been concern about the number of student members that will eventually become full members of the Society. We feel a larger percentage should be applying for membership.

Again this was a goal involving more than one objective. The goal was split into two parts. The first was to prepare a questionnaire that would give us a better understanding of what our Student Chapters do and how they operate. This questionnaire addressed questions posed by those involved with developing programs for our students and the issues that affect our student members, now and in the future.

The second part was to use the questionnaire with a personal visit by a member of a Section sponsoring the Chapter. I visited several Chapters and found the experience extremely refreshing. These are our future leaders and should be acknowledged as such. They are enthusiastic and energetic, and only need some attention from the members of our Society to make their participation more meaningful.

I am pleased that President-elect Lance Neward is encouraging visitations next year by the Executive Committee to these members. I will certainly find the time to be at some of their meetings.

GOAL #4: Establish a pilot program providing SPE exposure at selected company locations, as a means of improving prestige and recruiting new members.

This goal had two purposes. One was to establish a pilot program for recruiting members at plant locations, and the other was to enhance prestige for current members. Allied Chemical is serving as the pilot company. If successful, other companies have been identified for recruiting and prestige purposes. SPE's Membership Promotion Manager, Jeannette Piastuch, will report on the success of the program and make recommendations based on results.

GOAL #5: Review the charter and structure of the Executive Committee and develop recommendations for change, if necessary.

For as long as I have been involved with the Executive Committee, there have been informal discussions concerning the length of time required to serve, the makeup of the Committee, and questions as to adding or subtracting from the "at large" group. It was decided that the issue should be discussed and acted on, if necessary.

The structure and organization of the Executive Committee was reviewed by surveying the Past Presidents and the current Executive Committee to determine if changes could be made to reduce the time commitment for serving on the Committee. In addition, other volunteer organizations of similar size were contacted to determine their structure. Advantages of expanding or reducing the number of "at large" members were also considered.

After all was discussed, it was determined that there is no compelling need to reduce the size of the Committee at this time. In fact, it would be difficult to distribute the current workload to fewer members under today's conditions.

We are, however, looking at ways to reduce time away from the job in order to reduce pressures on our members. Weekend meetings are one way to help, and the potential of reducing the number of meetings is also being evaluated.

GOAL #6: Support the efforts of the Certification Committee in reaching a clear direction concerning Certification.

Certification has been an issue for as long as I have been an Executive Committee member. This program has received interest Society-wide, and yet it is not at a stage where we can announce the starting date of the final program. Because of the vast amount of effort expended by many Society members, I felt the need to become involved with the Committee and assist, if possible.

The Committee has developed a plan and timetable, along with associated costs, to implement the Certification program. If accepted in May, this will be used as a working document to implement the Certification program.

GOAL #7: Implement the recommendations of the International Refocus Committee, monitor progress, and explore feasibility of establishing a non-North American office.

We have worked very hard as a Society to enhance our International activities. This year will be looked at as one of significant accomplishment. After years of working with the International Associate Chapter concept, an agreement concerning International Sections was established that will pave the way for future growth. Issues concerning the acceptance of the proposal were resolved in Dusseldorf, and the concept is now in place to expand these efforts.

Many new sub-Sections and Sections-in-Formation are developing in Europe, and our expansion as an International organization is moving forward. One of my trips this year involved attending the German Speaking Countries' Annual Officers' Meeting and presenting the 50th anniversary speech in Hamburg. The Council and Executive Committee also met in Dusseldorf in October, and I made arrangements to visit with F. Cooke in England, who is working to establish our first Section in that country.

A very major accomplishment is the proposal to establish an office in Brussels. This has been a dream for many years, but this year we focused on making it a reality. Greg Thom chaired the International Refocus Committee, which had as one of its major goals investigating the possibility of establishing a non-North American office. In April the Executive Committee voted positively to establish the office, bringing to conclusion another major goal of our Society.

GOAL #8: Initiate actions to increase the Capital Fund to at least $150,000.

Sections, Divisions, and individual members have contributed to the fund this year. The efforts and generosity are truly appreciated. The fund went over $160,000 in March and surpassed the goal value. We voted to initiate a project based on having the minimum balance of $150,000 and look forward to financing future worthwhile projects for our Sections, Divisions, and members. The goal was complete as presented, but efforts to keep it growing will continue through the end of the year.

It has truly been an honor serving the Society as President this past year. The Executive Directors and the excellent staff in Brookfield have been supportive and have addressed the challenges placed before them.

The Society is healthy financially, expanding its International presence, serving its members, and addressing issues promptly as they develop.

We are looking forward to a successful 1993 ANTEC in New Orleans and another transition in Presidents.

Mr. Lance Neward will take the reins as President on May 12. His excellent planning skills and enthusiasm will certainly move the Society forward during his 1993-1994 term. I wish Lance, the Executive Committee, the staff, and all our members a very successful SPE year.




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Title Annotation:1992 Annual Report
Author:Wojtaszek, Henry J.
Publication:Plastics Engineering
Date:May 1, 1993
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