Robert Brookman, a longtime innovator and defender of the PVC industry, died Nov. 19.
Brookman, 83, spent the last 13 years of his career with Teknor Apex Co. in Pawtucket, R.I. He had joined Teknor in 1998 after holding executive positions with other compounding companies, chiefly focusing on vinyl technology.
At Teknor, Brookman led the firm's vinyl and chemicals businesses, most recently as vice president of business development and a member of senior management. He retired in 2011, but continued to serve the company as a consultant.
"Drawing on his enormous business and scientific expertise, Bob played a key role in the global expansion of Teknor Apex," CEO Jonathan Fain said in a news release. "Even after his retirement, he was a coach and mentor to many of our employees. To all of us, he was a valued colleague and friend."
In January 2017, Brookman was elected to the Plastics Pioneers Association. Over his career, he served on the industry's major organizations, including the Plastics Industry Association, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the Bioplastic Council's Phthalate Panel, the Vinyl Institute and the American Chemical Society.
Brookman was awarded several patents and was the author of many articles and technical presentations, including several made at SPE Antecs and Retecs and the Brighton Conference. He held a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the City College of New York and a doctorate in polymer science from New York University.
Brookman's plastics career spanned more than half a century. Prior to joining Teknor, his industry experience included 14 years as director of R&D at Firestone Plastics, 10 years as vice president of technology and a board member of Pantasote Inc., five years as vice president of Franklin Plastics and 12 years as president of Colorite Plastics.
Brookman will be remembered for his passion for the PVC sector. In a 1999 column for Plastics News, he wrote that "the proliferation of new vinyl technology is one of the best-kept secrets in the plastics industry."
"While emotionally charged issues like the soft-toy controversy capture the headlines, researchers are hard at work pushing the boundaries of PVC performance outward in all directions," Brookman said. "The real surprise is that so much potential remains for creating new and valuable types of vinyl different from any that we have seen thus far."