VANDREUIL-DORION, QUEBEC — A Society of Plastics Engineers' activist and materials distributor, Terence Browitt doesn't forget his humble background in England, where he was born in Nottingham in 1941, as World War II raged.
“We were very working class. Nothing special,” he recalled.
Terry's dad, Jack Browitt, was stationed in Iceland, at an anti-aircraft position to keep the Germans out of the North Atlantic.
“My father was away fighting the war. As a matter of fact, I didn't see my father until I was 4 years old,” he recalled.
The family moved to Melton Mowbray, famous for its pork pies. His father had left school at age 13 to become a butcher's apprentice, then started his own business.
“My father was the official meat supplier for a pork pie manufacturer,” he said.
Browitt went on to get a degree — in physics, no less — and came to Canada to begin his plastics career. He founded Terinex International Ltd., and continued a decades-long second “career,” as an activist with the Society of Plastics Engineers and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.
At NPE 2015, Browitt, 73, becomes a member of the Plastics Hall of Fame. His son, Paul Browitt, who is president of Terinex, nominated him for the honor. The elder Browitt discussed his career during an interview Terinex's office.
Browitt was SPE president in the year 2001-2002, giving his globalist perspective to the society during a time of intense change.
“We were also beginning to feel the impact of the Internet and we were beginning to feel the changes of manufacturing going to China. The change of people's mentality. My feeling was that as business in North America became more and more global, it struck me that SPE should be more global,” he said.
SPE had just started the Australia/New Zealand Section. Browitt called on SPE to form an alliance with CPIA. He was the first president to hold a council meeting in England, in 1999, as SPE's vice president, international. He also hosted a council meeting in Quebec.
“I'm the most fortunate person in the world,” Browitt said. “I was educated in England, lived in Canada and worked a lot in the United States.”
And he noted that SPE certainly has become highly international today. The society's new CEO, Willem De Vos, is from Belgium. Vijay Boolani, an industrialist in India, is SPE's president for 2014-2015, a term ending at Antec this week.
It all began back in 1970, when Ralph Noble became the first SPE president who was not a U.S. citizen. Noble, a Canadian, joined the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2009. The nominator? Browitt.
That makes Browitt the second Canadian to become SPE president. Browitt and Noble are neighbors in Hudson, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal.
“At SPE, we don't want to be inward looking. We want to be outward looking. And international globalism is outward looking,” he said.
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