Florida plastic group seeking new mentor
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - Health problems forced Ben Bush, an energetic retiree who touted plastics at dozens of high schools in west-central Florida, to step down - but Bush and Florida industry leaders are hoping to find a replacement for the coming school year.
``It's important that we have this program continue,'' Bush said. ``We're looking for a retired person who wants to put something into the community.'' The volunteer position includes reimbursement for travel expenses.
Bush, 83, visited 74 high schools in five counties around the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, in 1999 and 2000. The new person would not have to cover that same region of Florida. Also, Bush has developed teaching guidelines and compiled videotapes and other teaching materials, so his replacement won't have to start from scratch.
``I've been technically retired now for almost 20 years,'' Bush said.
He enjoyed a long career in the plastics industry. He owned Plastic Fabricators Inc. in St. Petersburg, an 18-employee shop that did thermoforming and other types of custom fabrication. The company also built Lucite furniture for local interior designers. After he retired from that business, he taught plastics classes at the Pinellas Technical Education Center in St. Petersburg. The school created a 10,000-square-foot laboratory to train students in all types of plastics processing.
The Pinellas effort grew into an apprenticeship program.
At a meeting of the Florida Plastics Industry Council in 1999, leaders decided to begin a mentoring program at area high schools. Bush began visiting science and math classes. He also attended career days and science fairs, and spoke to teacher groups and civic organizations.
In the past year, Bush got pneumonia and then spent 41/2 months in the hospital. Now he uses a cane. ``I'm just not able to get around like I used to,'' he said.
The Tallahassee-based Florida Plastics Industry Council, part of the American Plastics Council, tried to get a Florida grant to expand the mentoring program statewide, but the request was rejected. If a volunteer can be found, the industry council and the local Society of Plastics Engineers will support the program with travel-expense money, said Rudy Underwood, director of state and local public affairs for the FPIC.
``There's no finer man than Ben Bush. He has done a tremendous amount of work for the industry,'' Underwood said.
For information, contact Underwood at (800) 592-6080 or Bush at (727) 367-2874.
Rotomolding center gets funding approval
WILLIAMSPORT, PA. - Pennsylvania's Ben Franklin Partnership Program approved third-year funding for the Rotational Molding Center of Excellence at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.
In June, the state granted $100,000 to the rotomolding center, which is housed at the college's plastics manufacturing center. The Ben Franklin Program had kicked in $150,000 in seed money to create the rotomolding facility, and followed up with $120,000 in the second year.
Hank White, director of the Plastics Manufacturing Center, said local rotomolders requested help with employee training and research and development. The rotomolding center has one 42-inch Shuttle PD machine from Medkeff-Nye Co. of Akron, Ohio, with dual-air-line capabilities for running inert gas, a drop-box actuator and pressurizing and vacuum. The facility also has testing instruments, including an impact tester and a sieve analysis device, plus an underwater pelletizer and a Wedco grinder.
White said several local rotomolders are supporting the center, including Remcon Plastics Inc. of Reading, Pa.; Strong Industries Inc. of Williamsport; and New Berlin Plastics, a division of Akro-Plastics of Kent, Ohio.
The Plastics Manufacturing Center is giving rotomolders a discounted membership rate of $895. Normally the center - which covers injection and compression molding, blow molding, extrusion and thermoforming - charges $3,000 a year for full membership. Members can gain access to employee training and use the plastics center for product and material testing, research and consulting at a reduced rate.
SPE to do filming at Eastern Plastics
BRISTOL, CONN. - A Connecticut plastics machining plant, Eastern Plastics Inc., was picked as the film location for several scenes in a new industrial video from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
SME's video, ``Plastic Machining & Assembly,'' was released in April. The video covers plastic sawing, milling, routing, drilling, turning, assembly and water-jet and laser cutting.
EPI is based in Bristol.
SME's video producer, Jerome Cook, explained why the Dearborn, Mich., trade association selected the firm: ``EPI's plastic machining plant was used for location shots because it's a clean, well-lit, world-class facility with a lot of the latest equipment. There is also a high degree of expertise there that we were able to utilize.''