Wondering when to travel in the U.S. early next year? Here's a tip: find out when Plastics News is planning its annual Executive Forum and pick another date. Just kidding, of course, but PN's exec-level conference, always held between late February and early March in a warm climate, seems to be a magnet for extreme weather across the country. It happened again this year. The massive dump of snow in Ohio on March 7-8 broke records and caused the rare closure of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on the day before the March 9-12 Forum kicked off in sunny Tampa, Fla. Several of PN's own staffers, including Publisher/VP Tony Eagan and Editor/Associate Publisher Bob Grace, found themselves fishing for flights simply to get to their publication's own event before it started. Grace, who as conference director recruited the presenters for the 30-speaker Forum, got lucky, after working two phones and the Web for four hours on the Saturday on which his flight was cancelled, and grabbed a seat on a Sunday morning flight. Eagan was less fortunate. He got routed on Sunday through Nashville and got to the host resort about 2 a.m. Monday, after the opening Sunday evening welcome reception. Weather woes also caused a few attendees to cancel, but most made it, if later than planned. At last check, there were about 175 in attendance. Last year, some speakers and attendees were delayed by a day or more on their travel to PN's 2007 Executive Forum in San Diego, when a massive storm front reaching from the Dakotas to Texas in the country's midsection caused havoc for flights. At a previous Forum in San Antonio, torrential rains caused flooding and washed out the opening golf day, and a few years ago the Forum in Orlando was brushed by a hurricane rolling off the Gulf of Mexico and across the state, causing a handful of attendees to bolt for what they thought might be safer ground. Next year's Forum, to be held in Phoenix, will go ahead as planned. Just be prepared for a locust swarm.
Plastics snowbirds in Florida
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