Anaheim, Calif. — Willem De Vos praised the staff at the Society of Plastics Engineers in his last speech before stepping down as SPE's CEO.
De Vos, a Belgian, is stepping down after five years as the society's top executive to return to plastics and chemicals industry. SPE hired Patrick Farrey to become the new CEO, and he will assume that post in June.
Farrey attended the Antec in Anaheim.
"As most of you know, I have decided to transfer back into the industry," De Vos said. "But before I do that, I would really like to thank my staff. In those five years, we have reduced the number of people at staff by about 20 percent. And I can tell you, we are doing two times more [work]. So it's needless to say that my staff has been under quite some pressure in these last years, but I really want to thank them because they have always stood by me during those years. They often surpassed themselves in many aspects."
De Vos, who goes by Wim, said SPE recently has won marketing awards. He called Sue Wojnicki, the society's manager of marketing and communication, to the stage.
He said that SPE won against much bigger machinery and resin companies that have large U.S. marketing budgets, from $1 million to $2 million.
"Our marketing budget is below $100,000. So I think you have to be very innovative to win against the big ones from our industry, and I think it deserves a big applause," De Vos said in his remarks at the Antec awards banquet on May 7.
To Farrey, he said: "I'm leaving the staff in your good hands. You inherit a very good team. Take care of them."
Russell Broome has been managing director of the Bethel, Conn.-based SPE since 2014.
"Russ, thank you very much for being my lieutenant for the past two and half years. We were a good team and moved some mountains," De Vos said. "I'm sure Pat [Farrey] will appreciate your passion for SPE and the industry, just like I did, and you will form a great duo to continue to do our work."
De Vos closed by calling on all SPE members to stay active in the organization. "The work also has to be continued by all of you, not only by the SPE staff. Because it is you, the volunteers, who are the heart, and the head, of our society," he said.