Engaging younger workers in plastics is key to ensuring our industry's continued success, and so I read the Aug. 3 edition of Plastics News with a great deal of excitement. The 14 young professionals who comprised Plastics News' Rising Stars were diverse in their experience but united by their passion for plastics. SPI congratulates all of them for their achievements thus far, and looks forward to their contributions to plastics in the future.
Among this year's Rising Stars, I was especially excited to find Michael Stark, divisional manager of material handling and auxiliaries for Wittmann-Battenfeld Inc. and chairman of SPI's Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP). Michael is a great leader of a group that SPI created in response to the growing need for young people to join the plastics industry. We recognized the issue and set out to find a solution, and FLiP, under Michael's leadership, has already made strides, engaging the next generation of workers that will inevitably take our places after we retire.
By offering the plastics industry's rising stars a place where they can connect with other professionals in their industry, FLiP equips the younger generation with the tools they need to grow their careers in plastics. Simultaneously, the group amplifies the voices of young people who are already in plastics, encouraging their millennial peers to find out how plastics offers them the opportunity to build a lengthy, fulfilling career.
At SPI we think it's special that Michael was recognized as a Rising Star, and believe his selection reflects as highly on Michael as it does on the group he leads. We congratulate all of this year's Rising Stars, and encourage the remaining 13 to consider FLiP to build on the success that brought them to the pages of Plastics News.
President and CEO
Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., Washington