HANOVER, PA. -- Roger Kipp recently retired from McClarin Plastics Inc., but he continues to be involved in plastics and is confident that it is an enticing field for the next generation.
"There's no question there are a lot more opportunities now in the industry for young people to pursue a career in plastics," he said, comparing the industry to when he started.
Kipp, 67, said, "Plastics are all around us. There are some negative things but the positives for plastics outweigh them. There is really an awareness of recycling and to use plastics in a very positive way."
Looking back at his own career, Kipp said that his proudest moments involved the many metal-to-plastic conversion projects that he had worked on.
"I also think of the enjoyment of all the interesting people that have come into the business. Many had no plastics experience coming in, but I watched them develop and become successful plastic professionals," he said.
Kipp said this was the right time to retire and that a successor plan had been in place for about 1½ years. So at the end of February, he retired as vice president of engineering and marketing at Hanover, Pa.-based McClarin, a heavy-gauge thermoforming and fiberglass molding company. However, once his vacation off the coast of Florida ends, he still has plenty to do.
Kipp said that his interest in plastics education will continue and he will still participate in the Society of Plastics Engineers and with the Pennsylvania College of Technology program in Williamsport. He also has plans to continue as a consultant on various projects.
"He's worked as a mentor but he was always focused. He had a lot on his shoulders and he expected performance," noted Jeff Geiman, vice president and general manager at McClarin, who worked with Kipp for 18 years.
Kipp saw education as an important aspect of the company. It is still part of McClarin's lean manufacturing drive.
"[President] Todd Kennedy and I had a very positive belief that manufacturing had to pursue an education for employees to improve quality," he said.
Kipp said that they started by teaching every employee blueprint reading, mathematics and instrument reading. They also instituted a manufacturing economics course at the company and taught employees about the economy and the successful operation of the business.
Kipp has been involved in manufacturing for 45 years and nearly 20 years at McClarin.