DALLAS — The Society of Plastics Engineers' budget has rebounded from the big hit it took after SPE killed its Plastics Technology Certification program in mid-1999, leaders said at Antec 2001.
SPE had to write off loans used to fund the certification program.
Michael Cappelletti, SPE's executive director, thanked the staff of the Brookfield, Conn.-based professional association for the turnaround. "The original  budget projected a $345,000 deficit. We turned that into an $82,000 surplus," he said.
For 2000, SPE's revenues increased 5 percent, to $8.1 million, while expenses declined nearly 6 percent, to $1.9 million.
"The year 2000 was a very financially satisfying year," Cappelletti said during SPE's annual business lunch, held May 7 in Dallas.
But U.S. economic tensions will make this year a roller coaster.
"The insecurity's going to drive us mad. The victories will elate us," he said.
Cappelletti said SPE's membership "sagged a little bit" at the end of 2000, closing at 28,618. That is down from 29,524 in 1999. The numbers, he said, are "nothing devastating, just not what we expected them to be."
Meanwhile, Cappelletti and last year's SPE president, James Brackeen, both said SPE remains well-respected in the plastics industry. Brackeen said 41 percent of people responding to a poll at NPE 2000 said SPE "brings them value."
For the first time, SPE was the exclusive provider of educational classes at NPE. Cappelletti said the educational events broke attendance records.
Video and television efforts also are giving SPE exposure. At the business lunch, SPE leaders saw an episode of a show airing on public television called American Environmental Review. Introduced by Morley Safer of 60 Minutes fame, the show explains benefits of plastic packaging. Cappelletti said the show is expected to reach more than 50 million households.
The video Dr. Polly Polymer and the Fantastic Plastics Factory is selling well, Cappelletti said. The video is geared toward pupils in grades four through six.