NORWALK, CALIF. (Nov. 9, 4:45 p.m. ET) — The Western Plastics Association presented its 2011 Leo Shluker Award to Catherine Browne at a Nov. 8 meeting in Norwalk. Her contributions to the industry were recognized during the award ceremony for the group's highest honor.
Browne, general manager of Crown Poly Inc. in Huntington Park, Calif., receives praise from industry stalwarts.
“Cathy is marvelous,” said Robert Bateman. “She is so organized and positive. She thinks things through and does not make a fuss out of it.” Bateman is president of Roplast Industries Inc. in Oroville, Calif.
Pete Grande said: “Cathy is very bright, a good strategic thinker and a worthy recipient of this award.” Grande is chief executive officer of Command Packaging in Vernon, Calif.
Grande has observed Browne's practical and tenacious advocacy for the plastics industry in interacting with municipal, county and state powers. “She has a good way of getting our points across to adversaries, and she is not shy about stating uncomfortable positions,” Grande said.
“Cathy has done an unbelievable amount for the association and the plastics industry in general,” said Frank Ruiz. “She has been tireless in working with local communities about the advantages of plastic bags, and she deals with stress very well.” Ruiz is president of Plastimin LLC in Carrollton, Texas, and a research and development consultant to Heritage Plastics Inc., also in Carrollton.
“It is a total pleasure to work with Cathy,” said Stephen Joseph of San Francisco, counsel for the industry-advocate Save the Plastic Bag Coalition. “She is super smart, enormously passionate, ridiculously hard working and extremely effective and productive.” Crown Poly was a founding member of the coalition.
Browne got her start in the film extrusion business with Danbury, Conn.-based Himolene Corp. more than 24 years ago. She served as assistant to the vice president of manufacturing and secretary for the board of directors of Himolene, a subsidiary of First Brands Corp.
Next, she joined Rhino-X Industries Inc. of Los Angeles and was operations manager with responsibility for a startup operation for the trash can liner manufacturer.
In 1991, she became Crown Poly's second employee, starting as operations manager and then general manager. Crown Poly extrudes film and prints and converts bags and provides and maintains polycarbonate and stainless-steel dispensing hardware.
In a boost for efficiency, Crown Poly moved three miles to Huntington Park from Vernon in December 2002.
Browne has responsibility for the firm's financial profit and loss performance, strategic direction for the innovative premium Pull-N-Pak and Hippo Sak supermarket packaging systems and oversight of manufacturing, domestic and international sales and finance and administration functions. Crown Poly has about 300 employees.
Browne received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from the University of California at San Diego and a master of business administration degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
WPA's predecessor—the California Film Extruders and Converters Association—began the Leo Shluker Award in 1985 in recognition of the group's founder and first president.
The Sacramento, Calif.-based trade group adopted the WPA identity May 10, is broadening its scope across all plastics processes and interests and aims to be the voice of the plastics industry in the West.
Browne has served as CFECA president for two terms, treasurer in another term and director for several years.
Browne resides in Pasadena, Calif., with her husband, Paul, and son, Sean. She has participated in two marathon running events and numerous half-marathon races and, in her spare time, enjoys gardening and snow skiing.