As we move into the new year, we think it is appropriate to look back and suitably salute-with these, our fourth annual Plastic Globe Awards-those deserving (and undeserving) parties who helped make the headlines.
TAMMY FAYE AND JIM BAKKER MADE-IN-HEAVEN (NEAR) MARRIAGES: To plastics recyclers Pure Tech International Inc. and Martin Color-Fi Inc.; automotive injection molders Larizza Industries Inc. and Andover Plastics; and resin furniture molders IPL Inc. and Hartman Group BV - all of which announced merger plans that came apart at the seams.
YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD MAN DOWN AWARD: To former Conair Group Inc. founder John Reib, who last spring resurrected Erie, Pa.-based Camis Systems, the software firm he controlled, as Intrac Systems Inc., just days after its bank-forced closure.
BACK ON THEIR FEET AGAIN AWARD: To Plastibec Ltd., which recovered remarkably quickly from a devastating fire at its PVC vertical-blind extrusion plant in Ste. Therese, Quebec; and to Jon Huntsman, who appears to have beaten cancer, which didn't slow him down or prevent him from continuing his aggressive expansion of Huntsman Chemical Co.
LITTLE TRAIN THAT COULD AWARD: To Martha Williams, whose spunk, perseverance and business acumen led her from the shop floor to the president/CEO's office at Stylemaster Inc., the Chicago-area housewares injection molding firm of which she is also a stockholder and board member.
THANKS FOR ELEVATING THE DISCUSSION AWARD: To those strident members of Greenpeace and other environmental groups who contributed to the serious debate about a proposed Great Lakes chlorine ban at the International Joint Commission meeting by shouting down industry speakers while dressed as Woodsy Owl and as a bird with a deformed beak.
GOVERNMENTAL PARADOX AWARD: To Connecticut for, on the one hand, enforcing business policies that helped drive First Brands Corp. out of its East Hartford film- and bag-making plant, while rolling out the red carpet to keep machinery supplier Arburg Inc. from relocating to Virginia.
STAN GAULT ``WHO NEEDS RETIREMENT?'' AWARD: To former PN Publisher Chris Chrisman who, two months after retiring to a rumored life of car buffing and fly fishing, has resurfaced as executive director of the soon-to-be-formed, Akron, Ohio-based Polymer Processors Association.
IDI AMIN SENSITIVITY AWARD: To the anonymous (cowardly?) reader who faxed from Texas the following response to reporter Clare Goldsberry's Dec. 6 Perspective column on how the use of nearly naked women to generate interest on trade-show booths is inappropriate and unnecessary: ``Bitch, bitch, bitch. Who cares?'' OK, now go back to your cave.
NOW THAT'S DEDICATION AWARD: To Gerald V. Dirvin, the Procter & Gamble Co. board member and executive vice president who directed the consumer-products company's recent restructuring and downsizing. Dirvin, 56, eliminated his own job, and leaves P&G April 30!
READ 'EM THE RIOT ACT AWARD: To Amoco Chemical Co., which, in a widely distributed Feb. 15 letter, scorched competitors for what it termed resin pricing ``gamesmanship'' and canceled its (and, effectively, everybody else's) 3 cent, March 1 polypropylene price hike.
CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER AWARD: To the Vinyl Institute, which wasn't stingy with words when it came to the titles for two pamphlets: ``Directory of Companies Involved in the Recycling of Vinyl (PVC) Plastics,'' and ``Directory of Companies Manufacturing Products from Recycled Vinyl.'
DEEEEEP POCKETS AWARD: To Hanson Industries, which bid $720 million, plus assumed $2.5 billion in debt, to acquire Quantum Chemical Corp. Yep, that polyethylene rebound is just around the corner ...
EXCUSE ME WHILE I KISS THE SKY AWARD: To the American Plastics Council, for hiring a spokesman named Jimmy Hendricks. So that's what he's doing now!
CREAM RISES TO THE TOP AWARD: To those many plastics industry companies and people - you know who you are - who came to the aid of their compatriots swamped or threatened by this past summer's Midwest floods.
BIG SPLASH AWARD: To Formosa Plastics and its affiliates, which seemingly overnight have become major players in North American pipe, film, sheet, fiber and resin markets. Their philosophy: Everything is a commodity, or is about to become one.
IT'S A MAN'S PREROGATIVE AWARD: To Jose Ignacio L¢pez de Arriortua, former worldwide purchasing czar for General Motors Corp., who, in the course of 48 hours, publicly changed his mind twice about resigning from GM, before finally joining Volkswagen AG in Germany.
IT'S A COMPANY'S PREROGATIVE AWARD: To General Motors, for doing an apparent about-face on its central purchasing program for plastic resins. GM pushed the program heavily early in 1993, yet-according to several, key Detroit contacts-unceremoniously dropped full support for the program late in the year without giving the official word to anyone, even to those directly involved. GM officials won't comment.
LET IT SNOW, BAG LADY, AWARD: The Plastic Bag Information Clearinghouse mailed a news release-in August-offering handy holiday tips. Suggestions included storing cold fireplace ashes in bags until spring, when the ashes can be used as fertilizer, and using plastic bags instead of carry-on luggage for flights back home.
UNFORTUNATE TIMING AWARD: To the Southwest Arkansas Water District, which advertised its region's ``abundant water'' in Plastics News' July 19 issue, which also carried extensive coverage of the badly flooded Midwest.
UP IN SMOKE AWARD: To German Environment Minister Klaus Topfer for acknowledging that, yes, maybe Germany should allow incineration of plastics since it expects to collect many times more post-consumer plastics than it can recycle under the Green Dot program.
CARDIAC KID AWARD: To President William Jefferson Clinton, who secured congressional majorities for his deficit-reduction plan and the North American Free Trade Agreement only hours before those key votes. Next up - the health-care nail-biter.
ROSS PEROT SOUND OF SUCKING AWARD: To Lear Seating Corp. of Southfield, Mich., which just days after Congress passed NAFTA, announced it was pulling 200 automotive seat-making jobs back to the United States from
Mexico, to take advantage of the lower tariffs on products exported to Mexico.
FELIX AND OSCAR COOPERATION AWARD: To the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and National Recycling Coalition, for talking-not shouting-about changes to SPI's resin identification code, and then proposing a reasonable compromise.
ARCTIC ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: To Phillips 66, which changed its ``TropArtic'' motor oil bottle to make it more flexible in using reclaimed HDPE, but left the (mis)spelling intact.
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM? AWARD: To Carl W. Cooke, manufacturing mogul-wannabe, whose injection molding plant in Elkhart, Ind., was padlocked by Internal Revenue Service agents Nov. 9, just 10 days after he announced plans to build a 1.5 million-square-foot plant to make child-proof caps. The IRS was pursuing nearly $500,000 in taxes Cooke allegedly owes. It's the second time since 1988 that the IRS has seized the assets of a Cooke-run plant.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR: To Doug Olsen, a partner in Innovations in Composites Inc. of Oceanside, Calif. Upon accepting the SPI Structural Plastics Division's top new-product design award for his firm's lost-core, injection molded bicycle wheel, Olsen declared: ``We're a new company and we wanted to try something new-so we reinvented the wheel.''
IN CONCLUSION AWARD: To Novon Products Group of Warner-Lambert Co. and City & State, a sister publication of ours. The C&S Nov. 22 issue featured a wraparound cover advertisement that shouted: ``In Your Hands, You Hold the First Publication Ever Mailed in a Bag Made of NOVON Polymer.'' It was also probably the last; Warner-Lambert had announced a week earlier it was shutting down the Novon operations.