(Aug. 14, 2009) — We have lost a plastics pioneer, a teacher of life, and mentor to all who met him.
On May 16, Steven Ross, the founder and visionary behind one of the most successful companies in our industry passed away with his family at his side [“Poly-America founder Steven Ross dies,” PN, May 25, Page 3].
However painful his passing might be for those of us fortunate enough to have him impact our lives, that pales next to the pain his family [feels]. Our hearts are opened to them.
I write this to share a life of purpose, a life that mattered, and a life that was lived well.
Ross ... was not a saint — and I won't for one single minute pretend I knew what he believed — but I do know what he taught me and countless others.
Some lessons are specific to our industry, [others] are life lessons:
* Expect much of yourself before you expect much of others.
* Embrace change — it presents opportunities.
* Have a sense of urgency in everything you do.
* Know your facts before you open your mouth.
* Never make tough decisions before you have to.
* Live with passion.
* Work with passion.
* Be the best at what you do before you try to become something else.
* Failure is one step closer to success.
* Get to the point.
* Pay cash.
* Know more than the person across the table from you.
These are just a few lessons learned by a guy who only worked for Ross for five years; there are many people who could share much more insight regarding a remarkable man.
In the mid-1970s he started a plastic film company. In the late '70s, he bought Union Carbide's landfill of plastic waste, hauled it 500 miles, washed it, dried it, and turned it into construction and agricultural film.
He built the largest construction and agricultural film business in the world, and then built Poly-America into the largest retail bag manufacturer in the world all on cash.
[Ross] did not use other people's money. He employed thousands, and still does today because of his vision and planning for the future. He fought a nine-year battle with a disease [cancer] that steals too many from us before their time — and like everything else he did, he did it with knowledge, focus, and passion.
We lost a teacher. I thought you should know.
Resin Technology Inc.
Fort Worth, Texas