WESLEY CHAPEL, FLA. — Naureen C. Stone has passed the torch to James Schmidt, but it is unlikely the new president of the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association will create a dramatic shift in the way the organization operates. The course was set in the summer and fall of 1999, when PMA members revised the group's strategic plan in an effort to make the organization more viable.
Stone, a marketing manager at Middlebury, Conn.-based Uniroyal Chemical Co., assumed office in 1999 with the goals of determining how PMA can best help its current membership, add new members and update its strategy. She was the first woman president of the PMA, based in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Schmidt was elected president at PMA's spring meeting, held April 1-5 in Wesley Chapel. The vice president of manufacturing and partial owner of U.S.A. Drives Inc. of Burr Ridge, Ill., said his prime objective in 2000 is to promote the strategic plan and help guide PMA through a changing period.
"My goal is to promote the plan that everybody decided on at our fall meeting in New Orleans," he said. "We want to promote it to nonindustry participants as well as industry participants."
The association will enhance its membership, because it has people who have been with the group for between 25 and 30 years and have held leadership roles in the past.
"But we want them to stick around, see the value of the various offerings, so we can build off of their history and their knowledge for the next generation," Schmidt said.
"The second generation has started to come through, and within the next five or six years we'll have the third generation start to come on board," he said. "We want to grow and make it viable for everybody. If we don't have a plan, if we don't have a focus, then it's very hard for us to know where we're going."
The PMA has become more focused on its present members, Stone said. "We needed to review and update the strategic plan," she said, adding that it should be reviewed yearly because "things change so fast."
Both Stone and Schmidt said the association has changed during the past several years, which ties in with the revised plan.
That's why it is making every effort to focus on existing members while it reaches out for new companies, they said.
"We're at a point now that we have people who have been part of the association for a long time and put a lot of effort, time and money into it," Schmidt said.
Schmidt, a PMA member since 1990, said the association has worked well for U.S.A. Drives during the years, providing it with technical information and a great deal of expertise.
His company is small, he pointed out, like most of the firms in PMA.
"We don't have a staff of two or three people working on regulatory issues, three or four working on safety and health, and another working on personnel issues," Schmidt said.
On the other hand, some of the suppliers do, "which is great, because they can share that with us," he noted. "Because most processors don't have that, this becomes a very viable place for them to get that information."
Schmidt joined U.S.A. Drives in 1987 to run production for the reinforced urethane belting company. The firm, founded in 1986, makes belting for computers, food packaging equipment and a variety of rollers.
The company started with four or five employees and currently has a work force of around 32. It operates two shifts and has room to grow, according to Schmidt.
Stone has been with Uniroyal since 1974, when she graduated from college with a degree in chemistry. She began a five-year stint in the company's urethane research department four years later and then served in its technical department for 12 years.
She has been in marketing for the past five years. Like most past PMA presidents, she will remain active on various PMA committees and boards.