A trade group approved a name change to the Western Plastics Association and heard a blistering assessment of California's manufacturing prospects.
The identity switch from the California Film Extruders and Converters Association and corresponding bylaw changes occurred May 10 at a membership meeting in Norwalk, Calif.
WPA, which has 70 members, aims to broaden its processing scope to include molders.
People are excited about having a unified voice in the West, Adrian Backer said. Backer is WPA president and owner and president of converter Signature Flexible Packaging Inc. of Commerce, Calif.
Backer said WPA intends to address what some members see as widespread misinformation by a number of different groups about the viability of our products.
It seems plastics have been demonized. It is our goal to disseminate organic, rational, non-emotional information.
John Picciuto said: CFECA has [had] such a great reputation for 30 years in promoting the interests of industry. We want to maintain the integrity of what the group is all about. Picciuto is a WPA director and Western market manager in Tustin, Calif., with compounder H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc. In North America, Muehlstein is based in Norwalk, Conn.
The WPA board added two directors: Steven Jones, president of injection molder Jatco Inc. of Union City, Calif., and Ray Hufnagel, president of resin-handling company Plastic Express in City of Industry, Calif.
New members include flexible packaging firm Momar Industries Inc. of Reno, Nev., and Leavitt Group subsidiary PrideMark-Everest Insurance Services Inc. of Santa Ana, Calif.
Recycling and sustainability firm New Green Day LLC of Los Angeles has indicated an interest in joining WPA.
Backer said WPA members want to get back to technical sessions and social events. WPA is implementing a plan to collaboratively organize golf outings.
Jack Stewart, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, delivered a no-nonsense assessment of the state's weaknesses.
Over almost nine years, the California industrial base declined 34 percent, he reported. Manufacturing employment dropped to 1.24 million in March 2010 from 1.87 million in January 2001, according to state data.
Stewart quoted the Milken Institute: California is the only one among its peer states to lack a comprehensive long-term economic strategy. The economic think tank is based in Santa Monica, Calif.
California's negative image, high taxes [and] onerous regulatory costs contribute to the state's failure to attract new investment, according to Stewart.
He compared Texas and California, and the Lone Star State beat the Golden State every time. The comparison categories included changes in manufacturing and high technology separately as shares of gross state product; employment growth over 10 years; and 2010 manufacturing employment growth.
Stewart wants to:
* Make middle-class job creation California's top priority, establishing a 2020 target for the state's manufacturing jobs.
* Adopt smart regulations by requiring independent economic impact analysis and regulations.
* Make investment competitive by ending the so-called factory tax.
The Sacramento, Calif.-based, 683-member CMTA was known as the California Manufacturers Association until a name change in 2000 to acknowledge the technology role.
Backer noted that Stewart paints a scary picture, but we think [WPA] membership is well-served by knowing that information.
PrideMark-Everest brokerage and CMTA have certain group insurance products that may have rates beneficial to WPA members, said Laurie Hansen, executive director for the Sacramento-based WPA.