Bill Carteaux kicked off his first day fully at the helm of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. on March 21 by outlining his priorities for the trade association.
Carteaux, former co-executive managing director of Demag Plastics Group, addressed the opening gathering of SPI's Structural Plastics Conference in Lake Buena Vista. He wants SPI to have a more visible presence, and to cooperate closely with other industry trade groups.
Calling March 21 the first day of his 100-day plan, he listed six key areas to address:
* Membership. He said it will be a top priority to retain and expand membership across all sectors of the plastics industry. To that end, he said Jim Buonomo, corporate vice president at Nypro Inc. in Clinton, Mass. - who also is an SPI board member - had offered to take the lead and work with Carteaux on developing SPI's membership base.
* Public policy. The group plans to boost its influence with decision makers and legislators to shape laws and policy. Topping the agenda is passage of an energy bill, while other topics on the radar screen include tort and health-care reform, particularly the creation of association health plans. Carteaux is ready to be a public face for SPI, including testifying before Congress on policy matters.
* Media relations. While noting that former SPI President Donald Duncan, who retired March 19, did a good job developing relations with the industry's trade press, Carteaux said he wants to heighten SPI's profile, especially with the national media. He wants to make SPI a widely recognized brand and the ``go-to'' organization for information related to plastics.
* Public outreach. Initiatives such as the ``Fantastic Plastics Works'' exhibit at Walt Disney World's Epcot Innoventions Pavilion are vital, he said. Paula Weis, SPI's director of communications and marketing, has assumed responsibility for the Epcot project. She takes over those duties from Bonnie Merrill Limbach, who recently resigned as senior vice president for public affairs and communications.
* Member services. SPI will continue to organize major, revenue-generating trade shows such as NPE, as well as trade missions to key markets. It will educate members about trade and help them solve problems by bolstering its in-house expertise. Toward that end, the group has hired Karen Bland Toliver as senior director of international trade and industry statistics.
Toliver came to SPI from the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld LLP in Washington, where she represented domestic and foreign producers involved in unfair trade proceedings before the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission. She previously served as a lawyer in the Commerce Department.
* Cooperation. Carteaux will reach out to other industry trade groups. ``In three weeks, I've already had three meetings with APC officials,'' he said, referring to the Arlington, Va.-based American Plastics Council, with which SPI had a bitter split several years ago.
Duncan greatly improved relations between the two groups, and Carteaux said he plans to build on that. He also said SPI needs to cooperate more closely with grass-roots processor associations such as the Indianapolis-based Mid-America Plastics Partners Inc.