Roger K. Young is not your average plastics consultant. For starters, the former Dow Plastics chemist lives in New Zealand on a 44-foot boat named Ballerina. He runs his business off the boat via high-frequency radio and wireless technology.
Today that business largely consists of directing the Asian portion of plastics and rubber consulting for Akron, Ohio-based Robert Eller Associates Inc.
Young was a 40-year-old associate development scientist when he left his 18-year career at Midland, Mich.-based Dow in 1991, with visions of sailing the world. The Long Island native bought his boat in 1989, left Michigan and spent his last two years at Dow working from his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before quitting to start his product-development consulting firm called Young Ideas Inc.
``In November 1993,'' he said by e-mail, ``I set sail initially cruising in the Caribbean spending most of the time in the southern Caribbean until February 1998, when I transited the [Panama] canal. Two years were spent slowly cruising across the Pacific, hitting the Galapagos, French Polynesia, the Line Islands, the Cook Islands and Tonga before heading to New Zealand.''
Since setting sail, he has worked periodically for Eller doing various client projects, ranging from mergers and acquisitions to product/application development and market analysis studies. Since leaving Dow, Young said he's been to Germany's K show and Chicago's NPE show four times each, Japan's IPF show twice and, most recently, Chinaplas 2004 in Shanghai.
Young was active in the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Structural Plastics Division, serving on its board for several years and even won the division's lifetime industry contribution award. He started at Dow as a research engineer in 1973, served as technical manager for automotive engineering thermoplastic resins, chaired the team that commercialized the firm's Pulse polycarbonate/ABS resins. He also helped develop Dow's Isoplast glass-filled polyurethane, Calibre PC and Questra syndiotactic polystyrene materials, among others.
But for the past 11 years, Young has been the plastics industry's floating minstrel, occasionally popping up where you least expect him, but always well-tanned.
For those long-lost industry friends who wish to re-establish contact with Young, you can e-mail him at [email protected]