We're not surprised that the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., in its effort to boost membership of processor companies, is looking at the recent success of Mid-America Plastics Partners Inc.
MAPP, based in Indianapolis, started in 1997 and already has 120 members. The group still is dwarfed by SPI, with its 1,600 company members, including about 800 processors. But MAPP's growth is notable because it draws from a much smaller region — most of its members are in Indiana, plus a smattering of others from surrounding states.
Why is MAPP so successful? One reason is the old adage that all politics are local. Leadership also plays a role. MAPP has a gifted, energetic executive director in Troy Nix. Also, MAPP is very effective at keeping processors' interest because its members take a lot of responsibility for determining the group's direction. That includes voting every meeting on the seminar topics for the next meeting.
MAPP's success doesn't diminish the importance of a broad, national plastics trade association. But SPI certainly can — and should — learn a few new tricks from MAPP.