DALLAS — A native of England who lives in Canada and sells resins for U.S. clients, Terence J. Browitt brings an international spin to his post as new president of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
In a May 7 speech at Antec 2001, Browitt said SPE should be the top source of plastics education in the world. He called on the Brookfield, Conn., professional group to form an alliance with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association that is similar to SPE's partnership with the American Plastics Council.
"I am totally convinced that a market for plastics training exists throughout the world. There is a need for an organization spanning the world," Browitt said during the business luncheon to kick off SPE's Annual Technical Conference.
A graduate of London University with a physics degree, Browitt immigrated to Canada in 1962. He is president and founder of Terinex International Ltd. in Quebec, a distributor of resins and color concentrates.
SPE has opened some sections outside North America. At the Dallas Antec, the society presented a charter to the new Australia/New Zealand Section. Even so, Browitt said SPE needs to become more international to serve companies hungry for knowledge in a global economy.
"We have troubles in behaving worldly and operating with a global mind-set," he said. "We, who are outside of the United States, realize the value of SPE, and are willing to pay a price to be a member. However at times, I am not sure that we as a society are aware of the value of having non-U.S. members."
At Antec, held May 6-10 in Dallas, Browitt took the reins of the SPE presidency from James Brackeen Sr., senior vice president of business development at Dublin, Ohio-based ECOoutlook.com. Browitt will lead the 28,618-member SPE for one year.
While pointing out SPE's global shortcomings, Browitt praised the group for fostering face-to-face contact. That is still important in an age of e-mail, he said.
Browitt put the Internet revolution into perspective: "I'm old enough to remember back to the 1950s, when television was in its infancy. Everyone was claiming that the classroom would disappear, and that cinemas and movie houses would be a thing of the past. This obviously hasn't happened," he said.
"And while electronic communication is a great tool, it is only that — a tool. Life will continue much the way we know today. People of a similar interest will still want to meet, shake hands, smile and communicate. I truly believe there is no machine in the world which will eliminate man's need for social interaction."
SPE events perform that function. But Browitt, an SPE member since 1965, warned that in today's stressed-out work environment, people are not as willing to donate their time.
"We have to begin to think of how we're going to live with less volunteers, with less volunteer time. This will have a crucial impact, in my opinion, on this society," he said.
SPE named other officers:
President-elect, Claudius Feger, manager of the packaging materials processes group at IBM Corp.'s T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Senior vice president, Donna S. Davis, worldwide applications associate of polymers technology at ExxonMobil Chemical Co.'s Baytown, Texas, unit.
Vice president and treasurer, Karen L. Winkler, medical industry manager at Dow Chemical Co.'s Milford, Mass., site.
Vice president and secretary, Scott W. Steele of Plastics Technologies Inc. of Holland, Ohio.
Vice president-divisions, Nancy J. Hermanson, medical market technical leader for Dow in Midland, Mich.
Vice president-international, Kishor S. Mehta of Bayer Corp. in Pittsburgh.