State and regional plastics associations continue to sprout up, and leaders of the movement say they can play a role in luring new manufacturing, working with state and local government. Most of these grass-roots trade associations were formed to represent local molders, extrusion companies and other processors. That means their first priority has to be serving companies already in their region, according to Timothy Mazzer, executive director of the Berkshire Plastics Network in Pittsfield, Mass.
Berkshire Plastics Network represents 40 area companies that employ some 1,700 people.
Many of these associations have developed close ties to state and local economic development departments. And government officials, naturally, always want to draw more industry.
``Certainly what can be used to draw plastics companies into the area is talking about the network,'' Mazzer said. ``But we usually only participate when asked.''
But Mazzer said the existing members of the network create about 100 jobs a year. He said the network acts as the middleman between members, government agencies and area universities.
In Connecticut, two groups have formed within the past few years, the Connecticut Plastics Council in Middletown and the Naugatuck Valley Deployment Research Program in Ansonia.
Director Ted Stoughton said CPC wants to promote the region to outside firms looking for plant locations. Stoughton said CPC is working to establish more contacts in state government. On April 2, Connecticut activists will hold a trade show and conference, Plasi/ Conn '97, in Southington. Stoughton said there will be 50 exhibitors and panel discussions on using state resources and worker training.
Roy Wirth, director of Naugatuck Valley Deployment Research Program, said members are making global business contacts through the group's Internet site. That led to a connection with Ameri-Israel of Wilbraham, Mass., which represents about 40 plastics firms in Israel. Wirth said his group is studying other ways to market the region.
It is only natural for the Akron-based Plastics Processors Association of Ohio to get involved in marketing the region, given Ohio's status as a center of plastics in the heart of the industrial Midwest, said Chris Chrisman, executive director. Another draw for processors is Ohio's standing as the second-largest state for molds, behind Michigan.
PPA works closely with the Ohio Department of Economic Development. It will have a booth during NPE `97 in Chicago, in the Ohio exhibit.