LEOMINSTER, MASS. — The Massachusetts Plastics Alliance kicked off a promotional swing through the state May 26 with a breakfast highlighting its hopes and plans to 35 people at the National Plastics Museum and Center in Leominster.
``We want to get across that plastics is a big part of the Massachusetts identity — it's the silent industry,'' said Leslie Wood of Les Wood Associates of North Andover, Mass., and president of MAPA. ``Everybody knows about technology and biotechnology.''
The group cited statistics, prepared in 1997 for the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., that showed 40,600 jobs and a $1.2 billion payroll for Massachusetts' plastics firms.
MAPA is a state alliance incorporated in September. It was formed to advance the efforts of three regional groups — the Berkshire Plastics Network in Pittsfield, the Merrimack Valley Plastics Network in North Andover, and the Plastics Council of the North Central Chamber of Commerce in Leominster.
MAPA is supported by the American Plastics Council and SPI, both of Washington. It also has received $2,500 from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and help from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
``We used to think the company next door was our competition, but they are not our competition,'' said John Renzi, president of Graphic Impact Signs Inc. of Pittsfield and MAPA treasurer. ``Our competition is out of state and out of country.''
He went on to explain that the regional groups formed to boost member firms' competitiveness. But he argued that competitiveness and work force development also can be attacked on a statewide basis. A statewide group, for example, can lobby more effectively for such things as more training funds.
Anthony Cetrone, president of Micron Medical Products Inc. of Fitchburg and MAPA secretary, said the organization will allow the plastics industry to approach the state ``with one voice.''
MAPA will be taking its message around the state, with stops in Springfield, June 9; Lowell, June 29; and southeast Massachusetts, June 30. The group also is planning a second Massachusetts Plastics Summit for October.