The word ``International'' has appeared on the letterhead of the Society of Plastics Engineers for more than a year. ButMichael R. Cappelletti, formally seated June 15 as SPE's chief staff officer, isn't taking anything for granted. ``We're really looking to the international scene,'' he said. ``The world is shrinking as we talk. Not only are we looking to the Pacific Rim, either - we're starting to look into South America.''
SPE is headquartered in Brookfield, Conn.
Although just named executive director, Cappelletti held the position on an interim basis for the past 11 months while SPE sought a permanent replacement for Eugene De Michele, who resigned July 20.
Cappelletti joined SPE in early 1984 as finance and administrative director after serving as corporate comptroller for a steel firm.
``My personal goal is to establish the conviction that if you're in plastics, membership in SPE is essential,'' Cappelletti said. ``To my way of looking at it, the programs we are coming out with drive toward that end - certification, development of our electronic database and our long-range plan, Leadership 2000.
``I believe it's all going to be based on value. I want to establish value as our most important conviction to the plastics community,'' he said.
Cappelletti said engineer certification, an object of SPE discussion since 1988, continues to be on SPE's front burner.
``Talking as a businessman, companies are always changing. They've gone to smartsizing. I believe managers in corporations are looking for ways to tar-get the more productive and enlightened engineers.'' Certification is one of the ways an engineer appeals to that sentiment, Cappelletti said.
Fully aware of the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s separate efforts to certify molders, Cappelletti said, ``We're not looking to compete in the certification arena.''
SPE had a pilot certification program at its recent technicalconvention, but ``the real test will be in May 1996. We'll certify the technologists and engineers with a natural migration toward the engineer.
SPE and SPI will cooperate with each other, and each group will devise its own certification program, he said.
Of similar urgency is the society's long-range plan, Leadership 2000.
``The goal of the operation is to manage SPE strategically. We've missed a lot of opportunities in the past because of budget constraints,'' he said.
Now, with two-thirds of his proposed 1996 SPE operating budget based on revenues other than membership dues, Cappelletti constantly refers to Leadership 2000 and to looking aggressively for new forms of alternative funding, including the sale of advertising, to boost revenues.
``The society had tangled with [long-range] plans before and created a tomb each time it did it. This time, the process of developing went right out to the members. There was really good interface between members, committee members, staff and past presidents.''
The SPE long-range planning committee got Leadership 2000 down to one document with three overarching goals: Be the leading technical society for the plastics industry, be the preferred supplier of engineering, scientific and business knowledge, and have the financial base to facilitate SPE operations through the year 2010.
The other part of the strategic plan is that ``champions'' have been assigned to each strategy and are ``holding themselves accountable to the SPE council,'' to see that the strategies are met, Cappelletti said.
Cappelletti does not know how the ``champions'' will hold themselves accountable, ``But the zeal they have taken is in a positive light. They will ensure that they will get involved if they see weaknesses in the operating plan.''
Then there is the SPE electronic database, which by the end of 1995 can be called by Internet users to perform basic transactions with the society, such as convention registration, Cappelletti said.
Eventually, his goal is to bring to database users a library containing 20 years' worth of three peer-reviewed technical journals - Polymer Engineering and Science, the Journal of Vinyl and Additives Technology and Polymer Composites, Cappelletti said.