COLUMBUS, OHIO - For the second time in two years, politics and plastics met in Columbus as about 375 industry leaders attended the Ohio Plastics Summit. Politicians and economic development officials heard the latest industry numbers from Probe Economics Inc. and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
In 1994, Ohio, the top plastics state, had:
Plastics employment of 100,200 jobs, including captive processors. Excluding captives, the industry employed 76,600 Ohioans at 1,368 plants.
Shipments from Ohio totaled $16.3 billion.
Capital spending by plastics companies was $495 million.
Ohio held its first summit - the first such plastics industry event in any state - in 1994. Since then SPI has used Ohio as a model for similar programs in other states.
Gov. George Voinovich was the keynote speaker during the April 30 summit. A globe-trotter, Voino-vich said he promoted Ohio's leadership in plastics on recent trade missions to Israel, India and Germany.
The Summit included speeches and sessions on employee training, energy costs, environmental issues, exports and workers' compensation.
Lewis Freeman, SPI vice president for government affairs, said the 1996 event was larger than the one in 1994.
``It has, I believe, set the stage for some major cooperative ventures between the state and the industry,'' he said.
A plastics lobbyist, Deborah Neale, said bringing nearly 400 people to Columbus demonstrates industry unity to legislators, even those who represent districts with no major plastics factories.
``We're not just Fortune 500 names, we're smaller companies that reach into every part of the state,'' said Neale, who represents Ohio-based materials companies Geon Co. and BFGoodrich Co., and the Plastics Processors Association of Ohio.
In a morning speech, Glenn Hiner, chairman and chief executive officer of Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio, said firms need to unite to counter ``CEO bashing and industry bashing'' in presidential-election rhetoric about layoffs.
He said events like the summit can focus attention on major issues in the state, such as tort reform, energy costs and efforts by home builders to repeal a model energy code.