Rich Freeman is the 2013 Thermoformer of the Year, the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division announced.
SPE members will honor Freeman at a Sept. 10 cocktail reception and dinner during the SPE Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta. The event runs Sept. 9-12.
Freeman, owner of Freetech Plastics Inc., a thermoforming company in Fremont, Calif., spent 21 years as a board member of the SPE Thermoforming Division. He helped develop the Thermoforming Conference as both a speaker and organizer of the heavy-gauge part of the program.
Some of the programs he pushed for focused on the need to improve quality in the thermoforming industry, examining areas such as heat sources and computer-aided design and manufacturing.
"His call to arms about poor quality equipment helped get us advancements in five-axis routers that our industry needed to move forward," the SPE division said in its announcement.
As chairman of the Asset Allocation Review Committee, Freeman managed the division's machinery grant program, which has placed equipment in more than 25 schools and universities.
Freetech Plastics does close-tolerance, technically demanding thermoforming in Silicon Valley of California. Freeman is a vocal advocate of thermoformers working closely with product designers.