MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, OHIO — Despite recent internal strife and the subsequent resignation of its board of directors, the Composites Institute will not be deterred from its appointed mission: expanding markets for reinforced plastics.
At least that's the message CI brought with it May 19 to the Cleveland area. About 60 industry members attended the event in Middleburg Heights, which CI billed as a ``town meeting.''
New CI Chairman Frank Cassis, members of CI's various marketing councils, several new board members and Executive Director Catherine Randazzo used the forum to reassure members that the new board will continue to support the group's established initiatives in marketing composites to end users and giving the industry a voice in regulatory efforts.
The former board essentially chose to self-destruct in a March 11 vote, with outgoing Chairman Robert DeRoma later urging CI's more than 400 members to defect to the rival Composites Fabricators Association.
In March the main flash point was the allocation of dues between CI and its parent organization, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington.
The main point of the town meeting was to show how much value CI members get for those dues — of which one-third goes to CI, the rest to SPI.
``We want members to know we are financially viable,'' Randazzo said after the meeting. ``We remain the key point of contact between potential end users and the industry, and we want to get on with the business of growing the composites industry.''
One way CI hopes to help the industry grow is to expand attendance at its annual exposition among buyers of composites products, Randazzo said. CI rolled out its early plans for the next International Composites Exposition, planned for May 10-13, 1999, in Cincinnati.
Instead of focusing the show inward at just industry participants, Randazzo said CI will be working jointly with associations for other industries to attract people who buy composite products — especially those from the construction industry.
Expanded exhibition and demonstration areas at the show will give fabricators a chance to strut their stuff in front of potential customers, as well as ogle the latest goods from their suppliers.
``We don't want to keep speaking to ourselves,'' Randazzo said.
CI will take the ``outward-looking'' approach to the first joint show between CI and CFA, Randazzo said.
``It will be a giant show,'' she said of Composites America 2000, set for Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2000, in San Antonio.
Meanwhile, CI will try to stay in touch with its members, Cassis said.
``We want to do this every so often,'' he said of the town-meeting approach. ``We want to visit with our member processing companies and update them on our activities.''