BOSTON - The 37,000-member Society of Plastics Engineers needs to refocus attention on other parts of the industry, according to new President David R. Harper. ``Too often, we have neglected the hands-on and the management people,'' Harper said at a May 8 speech during SPE's business lunch at ANTEC '95, held May 8-11 in Boston.
The rapid growth has created a vacuum of skilled people in those positions-a vacuum SPE,
which is dedicated to education, must address, he said.
By neglecting this group SPE, has ``missed some opportunities to thoroughly educate perhaps hundreds, even thousands of people throughout the world,'' Harper said.
Another challenge is competition from other trade groups and private-sector plastics seminars.
SPE leaders will conduct benchmarking studies to see how other conferences, seminars and publications stack up against the society, he said. They also will analyze demographic trends in the industry to see how the organization can boost membership.
Several of the proposals fall under the Leadership 2000 plan, which aims to make the Brookfield, Conn.-based SPE a leading force in the plastics industry into the next century.
Harper is southern regional sales manager at Bayer Corp.'s Polymers Division in Nashville, Tenn. He became SPE president during ANTEC, SPE's Annual Technical Conference.
Although his term as SPE president lasts one year, Harper noted many of his targets are long-range. They include:
Double the number of ``Teach the Teacher,'' clinics run by local sections, by 1997.
Launch a certification program at ANTEC '96, to be held in Indianapolis. Outgoing President Bonnie Bachman announced during the lunch that SPE leaders approved spending $50,000 to begin the certification program, which has been under discussion for several years.
Begin a public relations campaign to raise awareness of SPE by management officials at manufacturing firms, who then would encourage employees to join.
Continue a self-evaluation study by members of SPE's executive committee.
Double the number of overseas sections by 1997. Harper also wants these sections to become more active with SPE divisions that focus attention on specific areas such as extrusion or injection molding.
Oversee SPE's new electronic database.
Boost attendance at ANTECs and RETECs (Regional Technical Conferences). Harper wants to attract 6,000 people to next year's ANTEC. About 5,000 people were expected this year.
Other officers for 1995-1996 were named during ANTEC:
President-elect, Jay L. Gardiner, Gardiner Plastics Inc. of Port Jefferson, N.Y.
First vice president, Norman E. Fowler, Xerox Corp. of Webster, N.Y.
Second vice president, Norman Behn, Engineered Products Sales Co. of Fort Wayne, Ind.
Vice president, international, A. Nelson Wright, Synergistics Industries Ltd. of St. Remi, Quebec.
Secretary, James Brackeen, Exxon Chemical Co. of Florham Park, N.J.