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., received praise from industry stalwarts.
“Cathy is very bright, a good strategic thinker and a worthy recipient of this award,” said Pete Grande, CEO of Command Packaging in Vernon, Calif.
Browne is responsible for the firm's 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.
Grande has observed Browne's practical and tenacious advocacy for the plastics industry. “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, president of Plastimin LLC in Carrollton, Texas. “She has been tireless in working with local communities about the advantages of plastic bags.” Ruiz also is a research and development consultant to Heritage Plastics Inc. of Carrollton.
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. As operations manager, she was responsible for a new operation manufacturing trash can liners.
In 1991, she became Crown Poly's second employee, starting as operations manager before becoming general manager. Crown Poly extrudes film and prints and converts bags. It also provides and maintains polycarbonate and stainless-steel dispensing hardware.
Browne received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California at San Diego and an MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
Sacramento, Calif.-based 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.
Browne, a resident of Pasadena, Calif., has served as CFECA president for two terms, treasurer in another term and director for several years.
Crown Poly was a founding member of the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition.
“It is a total pleasure to work with Cathy,” said Stephen Joseph, counsel for coalition in San Francisco. “She is super smart, enormously passionate, ridiculously hard-working and extremely effective and productive.”