Raed Alzubi of Saudi Arabia is the incoming president of the Society of Plastics Engineers, who will take the reins at Antec 2017.
"SPE enjoys a premium reputation and name recognition around the world," said Alzubi, 47.
SPE can bring together industrialists in the Middle East as the region continues important work to diversify beyond just the oil economy, said Alzubi, who is president of SPE's Middle East Section.
SPE held its first Antec conference in Dubai in 2014. Last year, the society worked with the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association to merge GPCA's PlastiCon conference together with SPE's Antec into a single event.
And Alzubi said that, on an international level, SPE partnerships with local trade associations will continue.
As SPE gets a new CEO to replace Willem De Vos, a Belgian who is returning to industry after five years at the top job, the society is refocusing on its core U.S. market. De Vos was hired to make SPE more international, and he said that global push will return once SPE finishes making improvements to shore up its home market.
So it's interesting timing that, at Antec 2017, an industry leader from the Middle East is becoming the SPE president.
"We will always be a U.S.-centric organization," Alzubi said.
The United States is a leader for plastics and composites, he said, so, "it's important for us to continue to shore up our core strengths, which is the U.S., and at the same time, not shying away from internationalization. It's not a step back. It's time to kind of re-strengthen your core so you can grow."