Ohio's April 30 Plastics Summit '96 produced an especially strong and welcome industry endorsement from the state's governor, George Voinovich.Voinovich, Ohio's top plastics salesman and widely considered a possible vice presidenti al running mate for Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., encouraged the nearly 400 conference attendees in Columbus to consider expanding the next summit internationally.``I think next year or in '98, we should host a U.S. plastics meeting in Oh io and invite the world. I'd like to pursue that with you,'' he said during his keynote luncheon address. The co-sponsors of this year's event, held at the Columbus Convention Center, have every reason to take the governor up quickl y on his offer.There are few political figures at the level of Voinovich who so enthusiastically support the plastics industry. That is one of the reasons it does so well in Ohio. How well?The state's $15 billion plastics industry leads the nation in the number of companies, employees, production volume and sales volume, according to a study by Ohio's Edison Polymer Innovation Corp.A Probe Economics research report funded by the Society of the Plastics Indus try Inc. ranks Ohio No. 1 in plastics processing machinery manufacturing. Nearly one-third of the country's plastics machinery workers are in the state.Not surprisingly, the governor is a strong advocate of polymer research and dev elopment - the particular focus of two centers of nationally recognized educational excellence at the University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Both universities recently ranked among the country's top f ive graduate polymer programs, according to U.S. News and World Report.Voinovich correctly sees the plastics industry as a powerful engine that helps drive economic development in his state, one often perceived as the buckle of the Rust Belt. The region, after a harsh time in the '70s and '80s, has undergone a significant revival for a host of reasons - among them, in Ohio's experience, plastics manufacturing.According to the Ohio Bureau of Employment Servic es, job growth in plastics processing is expected to expand 2.3 percent annually through the end of the decade. More than 100,000 people in the state presently work in the plastics industry. Those numbers are of significant utility to elected officials, who understand their value. Given the good position afforded Ohio's plastics industry, hosting a world summit at the governor's invitation sounds like a winning proposal.
OHIO'S GOV. VOINOVICH BACKS PLASTICS INDUSTRY
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