Plastics Pioneers Induct Eight New Members
Spring Meeting in Santa Fe Brought Together 65 members and guests
The Plastics Pioneers Association held its annual Spring meeting April 10-13, 2019 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where it welcomed eight new members into the organization.
Sponsored by PPA members George Yule and Wendy Hoenig, Mike Friend has had a long career in the plastics industry in Arizona. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1978 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Mike worked for Tempe, AZ custom molder, Pixley Richards where he spent his first 10 years in the industry. In 1988 he left Pixley and joined Top-Seal Corporation (a Tech Group Company and proprietary molder of caps and closures) as Manufacturing Manager.
In 1990 he left the Tech Group and founded UPT Plastics. This was a “greenfield start-up” beginning as a tool shop but later transforming into a molding Company. With a group of partners and hard work, Mike and his team grew the Company to $12MM in sales by the end of 1999. The Company was acquired in June of 2000 by ATP with Mike staying on for nearly 3 years offering transition and leading the Company as President/General Manager.
After a brief retirement, Mike founded Integrity Mold in 2005 and grew this Company to $10MM in sales. In October of 2017 this Company was acquired by Westfall Technik. He currently manages this business as Vice President/General Manager.
Wayne Hertlein, sponsored by PPA members Glenn Beall and Fred Steil, has over 40 years of experience in molds/tooling for the automotive, telecommunications, military and the medical fields. This includes prototype and production tools for close tolerance, high precision molds, mold construction, processing and engineering, and product development. He is a proficient troubleshooter and known for his wise consultation in the industry.
Wayne is currently the Tooling Manager at Letica Corp in Rochester, Mi. He has served in many plastics industry companies, from Wilbert to MMI to IAC to Plastech, rising in the ranks from apprentice toolmaker to Technical Manager.
He is also very interested in Plastics Industry Education and learning. Wayne is a Plastics Industry Historian and a collector of plastics-related books. Currently his collection consists of over 8,000 textbooks and other pieces of information relevant to the plastics engineering industry.
PPA members Lance Neward and George Yule sponsored Ed Laird as a member of organization. Ed has worked in the plastics coatings industry for over five decades. His resume is an impressive one, both in industry and in his community. He received his Polymer Science degree from RM Technical Institute and began working at Chrysler Coatings lab. He gained much experience in both the automotive and aircraft coatings segment, and eventually started Laird Coatings Corp. He is now a successful Consultant for air quality standard for coatings. Currently, his company, in an alliance with PPG, is building a new, $14 million facility for painting plastics.
Ed has served as President of the SPE’s Southern California Section and as a member of the National Materials Council of PIA. In 1992, Ed was selected as recipient of the SPI’s Western Region Distinguished Service Award. In 2018, he was the Hall of Fame Honoree for the Western Plastics Pioneers organizations.
Chris Landis, sponsored by PPA members JoNell Kelly and Dennis Don, began his career designing advertising for a national used plastic machinery dealer. An aggressive entrepreneur, by 1978, Landis was the founding partner of Coast Polymers. Coast soon became a pioneer trader in recycled and virgin wide spec plastics. Running granulators and extruders, he introduced novel methods of scrap collection, sorting and cleaning.
In 1992, Coast Polymers was acquired by Bamberger Polymers. Phasing out the recycling business, Coast managed local resin distribution for Bamberger. Over 26 years, Landis built the Western Region, adding a professional sales team to ultimately sell over a billion pounds of commodity plastics. Through the years he was a member in SPI, SPE and WPE.
Outside the plastic world, Landis is active in community service. With a degree in Art, he led the local PTA “Art Reflections” program holding children’s workshops and competitions. He was awarded the “Life Touch” national prize for cover design and the PTA National Service award. Later, as President of the High School Band Boosters he raised over $75,000 to buy a trailer, kilts and instruments.
Chris recently retired from Bamberger Polymers, and after more than forty years focused in plastics, Landis plans to reinvent his creative career in the arts.
Sponsored by PPA members Mark Bruner and Dennis Don, Mike Mattina graduated from Stephen F. Austin University in 1985 with a BBA in Finance and a minor in Chemistry. He started his 32-year plastics career with Exxon Chemical in 1985. While at Exxon Chemical from 1985 to 1991, Mike was involved in many roles including financial analyst-Olefins, Sales Representative-Polyethylene/Polypropylene, Technical Service-Polyethylene films, and Market Development-Polyethylene.
From 1991 to 1999, Mike worked for Chevron Chemical initially in Polyethylene Sales & Market Development and later as Product Manager, HDPE Injection and Blow molding products.
From 1999 to 2001, Mike worked for Muehlstein Compounded Products as Marketing Manager working with Mark Bruner growing and developing Polyethylene and Polypropylene compounded products/markets.
From 2001 to 2017, Mike worked for Westlake Chemical. While at Westlake, Mike was Vice President-Polyethylene, President/General Manager of Westlake’s North America PVC pipe division and as Sr. Vice President, Polyethylene & Corporate Supply Chain.
Ron Oberstar, sponsored by PPA members Dennis Meade and Stu Swain, started off in plastics in 1976 with Harshaw Chemical. Under the tutelage of Robert Charvat, he spent his formative years working in Harshaw’s technical service department learning the basics of color pigment performance in various resins. After a few years in technical service, while working through John Carroll University night school, he achieved his degree in both chemistry and business administration. He then moved into customer service and into sales.
Ron was relocated to California in a sales capacity for Harshaw Chemical and from there moved onward and upward with BASF and Dianichiseika with sales responsibility for the Western US before becoming Sales Manager for the Americas. After 20 years in sales and management, and as a result of M&A activity, Ron found he was now on the outside looking in.
He made a life changing decision to pursue his dream of starting his own business. Based on his experience and industry contacts, he formed Fortune International Technology which is a Sourcing Agent and Chemical Distribution Company specializing in Color pigments, pearlescent pigments, plastics additives, and process equipment.
Ron has grown Fortune over the last 15 years and continues to do so today through adding new additive lines for plastics. He remains active in the industry exhibiting at key shows for plastics – RETEC, AMI and others. Currently Ron works closely with many plastic concentrate and compounding houses working to source new and commodity additives.
Lynnette Russo, sponsored by Dennis Don and JoNell Kelly, has had a wonderful 39 year career in the plastics industry, working for Bamberger Polymers Inc., in sales and marketing of commodity resins that allowed her to experience the growth and change of the plastics industry. Early in her career, few people were that experienced in plastics knowledge. She saw an era of growth where processors’ trial and error made the pathway for the continued improvement of plastic resins and processes.
Lynnette’s various responsibilities at Bamberger Polymers eventually led to a focus on sales. She sold to end-users in the South and Southeast regions of the US and to various specific accounts scattered throughout the US. In addition, she handled export traders focused on resin needs for India, Africa, and the Far East.
She is a member of Bamberger Polymers Million Dollar Club. She was a member of Society of Plastic Engineers from 1984 – 2015. She is well known for organizing and hosting the Frank Padula Memorial (SPE) Golf Outing from 2001 – 2016, which was a fund raiser for Education at several Texas-based Universities.
Ed Schott, sponsored by JoNell Kelly and Dennis Don, has over 46 years of experience working in the plastics industry. After graduating from Lakeland University in Wisconsin, Ed served four years in the US Army. He joined Gulf Oil Chemical Co. in the Polyethylene plant in Orange, TX. He worked in various roles in sales, moving to Indianapolis, Dallas, Cincinnati, and back to Houston.
As the company merged with Chevon and later with Conoco Phillips, Ed took on larger and different roles. He worked not only in Olefins but also in the Aromatics division. He spent many years managing distributor sales for non-prime resins in domestic, and overseas markets.
Ed was a member of SPI and SPE for all of those years, and he regularly participated in group outings. In addition to work, he is active in his community. He has served on various Home Association Board of Directors, he is Sergeant of Arms at his local VFW, and Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife of 40 years are very active in their church, and he enjoys playing golf and working out at the gym.