FITCHBURG, MASS. — The bustle of MassPlastics '99 underscored the hopes and concerns of two local mayors about the plastics industry.
``Our competition is global. Everywhere, they are trying to go above and beyond,'' said Leominster Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella, ``We have to do what they are doing — respond and change with them. If we don't, it will cut down our customers' ability to compete.''
Mazzarella took a stint at the trade show to hand out apples and literature about his city. He was upbeat about the future of local plastics companies.
Fitchburg Mayor Mary H. Whitney pointed to the show's growth and popularity as an indication of the region's success in the plastic industry.
She was backed by facts provided by John Lessard, show manager for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.
More than 295 companies exhibited at the two-day show, he said, and more than 50 companies were on a waiting list for space. The show had more than 4,000 pre-registered attendees, and total attendance hit 7,500. Of that total, 1,200 were exhibitor booth personnel.
``We were absolutely floored by the number of people who came to the show,'' Lessard said. Attendance at the previous show was 4,200.
Both Whitney and Lessard indicated that MassPlastics in 2000 will be larger.
Mazzarella said he patterns his administration after plastics companies, stressing value-added services.
``We learn a lot from them. The end-user tells us what they will pay for,'' said Mazzarella. ``It's basic management and it applies to municipal government.''