CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dennis Hayford, a 45-year plastics veteran who ran the Polymers Center of Excellence in Charlotte, is retiring — and the center is naming its conference center for him to honor his service.
The name change was announced at a retirement lunch on July 10 in Charlotte.
The Society of Plastics Engineers also awarded Hayford the title of Distinguished Member, the society's most prestigious honor. A committee of past SPE presidents made the decision.
“Dennis has worked tirelessly to advance the cause of plastics, playing leadership roles in many of SPE's most important contributions to the industry, making education and training a special mission at both SPE and the PCE, and supporting the growth of recycling,” said Russell Broome, SPE's managing director. “Speaking personally, he has also been a mentor for over 20 years, solidifying in me a passion for the plastics industry and inspiring me to do more with and for SPE.”
The Polymers Center of Excellence is a nonprofit organization created and funded by North Carolina. It focuses on training engineers, technicians and operators, as well as offering plastics companies help with part design, property testing and production trials.
Hayford is retiring as CEO of the center, which he has led since 2000. In 2012 he also became president the Polymers Technology Center, a not-for-profit outgrowth of the PCE.
Hayford, who received a mechanical engineering degree from Auburn University, joined the plastics industry in 1971. His experience has mainly been in resin sales, including at A. Schulman Inc.
Hayford joined SPE in 1978. He has been active at both the local section and international levels. He was instrumental in creating the original SPE scholarships, a program that has grown into the SPE Foundation. He is an SPE honored service member and an emeritus member.
Hayford joined the Plastics Pioneers Association in 2013.
His support of recycling began in 1987, when he took a two-year chairmanship of SPE's International Recycling Division. Since 2006, he has been technical advisor to the Carpet American Recovery Effort. He also is a technical adviser to the Association of Carolinas Plastics Recyclers.