Bethel, Conn. — Russell Broome is leaving the Society of Plastics Engineers after three years as managing director.
Broome sent emails Aug. 8 to the members of the SPE board, then later that day emailed the message to about a thousand SPE volunteers and activists.
Broome will remain at SPE through August. He has been an SPE member for more than 20 years, and he will remain active in the society. He was SPE president for the 2011-2012 year.
He said he wants to stay in the plastics industry.
"This decision was not taken lightly, and it is with heavy heart that I have decided to move on. I will continue to work diligently with SPE through the end of August while I pursue life's next challenge," Broome said in the email.
The Bethel-based SPE hired Broome in 2014 to head the U.S. office, when SPE's top official, the CEO, was a Belgian — Willem De Vos, who brought an international perspective and had 20-plus years career in the plastics industry.
De Vos announced in December that he was stepping down to return to the private sector.
In May, SPE said it had hired Patrick Farrey to be its new CEO. Farrey has experience in managing trade associations. The move brought the CEO post back to the United States.
Broome is from North Carolina, where he lives in Fayetteville. Broome had worked in sales and marketing, along with global business development, for materials companies LNP Engineering Plastics, GE Plastics and PolyOne Corp. Before taking the SPE job, he was an engineer at TE Connectivity.
Broome wrote in his email that he wants to spend "much-needed time with my family." In an interview, he said his father, Clark Broome, himself a plastics veteran, has had recurring bouts of cancer.
"He supported me my whole life and now I'm trying to support him and get him through this," Broome said.
Clark Broome is a certified mold maker. Russell Broome said his father went to many conferences and trade shows.
"He's just a big plastics guy who has been in SPE forever," he said.
Also, Russell Broome's oldest daughter is getting ready to start college.
"My statement is, I've got highs with my daughter, lows with my father, and the SPE thing is somewhere in between," he said.
In his post at the society, Broome was an advocate for getting young people into the plastics industry and SPE, working with De Vos to make changes. He said he will continue those efforts.
In his email to SPE leaders, he said: "While I don't have the next path all ironed out yet, you can rest assured I'm not leaving the plastics industry. It's an exciting time to be in the plastics industry and manufacturing space, and I will take the time required to make sure I choose the right next passion while also spending much-needed time with my family."
In a statement, Farrey praised Broome's tenure with SPE.
“Russell's passion is clearly about supporting and educating the next generation of plastics professionals. Through his role, he successfully established the Next Generation Advisory Board, a group that plans and sponsors activities which teach the next generation of plastics professionals practical life skills which allow them to be more successful both in their work and personal lives,” Farrey said.
“Russell Broome's long-time contribution to SPE has been significant,” Farrey added. “I fully support his decision to leave SPE to pursue other opportunities and attend to some personal matters. His presence here will be missed.”
Broome said he plans to attend the reception celebrating SPE's 75th anniversary and Plastics News' Rising Stars in Detroit on Aug. 24.