The Association of Rotational Molders wants to work more smoothly with international rotomolding trade organizations, according to ARM's new executive director, Jeffrey Arnold.
Arnold joined ARM April 1. He replaces Charles Frederick, who retired after 15 years as ARM director.
In his first four months on the job, Arnold, 47, has been learning the industry, visiting some molders and working with ARM leaders to review ARM policies and finances and spell out the future direction of the association in Oak Brook, Ill. The top goal remains pretty simple, he said: ``The main thrust here is we really believe that ARM is in existence to promote the rotational molding industry on a worldwide basis.''
One emphasis will be on ``worldwide.'' Arnold wants to improve relations with rotomolding trade groups in Europe, such as ARM CE (Central Europe), which despite the name is not affiliated with the U.S. ARM group. Several European countries also have their own small industry associations.
Arnold has already traveled to Paris to attend a European rotomolding show. Next year, ARM plans to exhibit at Brasilplast in Sao Paulo, Brazil. ARM also is talking with its European counterparts about co-hosting a global meeting in Italy, in place of ARM's normal spring meeting.
``We need to take a proactive role,'' Arnold said. ``We're not trying to take over and be the ugly Americans, but we're saying let's all move together and move the rotational industry forward.''
A more immediate goal is closer to home - the Rotoplast event in Toronto, Oct. 6-7. Rotoplas, which includes a trade show, was originally scheduled for last September, but the Sept. 11 terrorist attack forced ARM to postpone the show. Arnold called Rotoplas ``the big focus for the rest of this year.''
ARM also wants to have friendly relations with the Society of Plastics Engineers, which started its own Rotational Molding Division in 1999. Some ARM officials thought SPE was competition.
Arnold became an SPE member soon after joining ARM. He attended the recent SPE rotomolding conference in Cleveland. It is important for ARM to work with SPE and the global groups, he said. ``Instead of splitting efforts and having all these duplicative efforts, let's work together.''
Arnold lives in Geneva, Ill., with his wife Susan and their eight children. He brings 19 years of trade association management experience. He came to ARM from the Chicago-based Association of Equipment Manufacturers, where he was director of administration.
AEM represents companies that manufacture machines for construction, agriculture and forestry. Arnold talked with big companies such as Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co. and Komatsu Ltd. Rotational molders are a big change from multinational suppliers of earth-moving equipment. Arnold is enjoying learning about a segment of the plastics industry he called ``a very unique field.''
``These are well-grounded people, very solid people that we're dealing with. Good people,'' he said. ``The more I learn, the more admiration and respect I gain for the industry.''
Arnold holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and economics from Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. After college, he went into the banking industry, then spent 14 years at the national office of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon, where he was assistant executive director. He left that post to join the equipment trade association.