Ten new members will join the Plastics Hall of Fame at NPE2018 in Orlando, Fla., at an awards ceremony in the Linda W. Chapin Theater.
What a way to start an NPE! We hope you enjoy the stories of all 10 leaders in this week's issue of Plastics News. It's been a long tradition at our newspaper to run detailed profiles of these important men and women.
Clink the links below for profiles and videos of new Hall of Fame members, which will be posted throughout this week.
The new Plastics Hall of Famers are:
Robert Ackley, who rose from a draftsman straight out of high school to president of the company, Davis-Standard. He went to night school for 20 years to get a degree in mechanical engineering, and then an MBA.
Ira Boots is another Horatio Alger-type story. A toolmaker with a competitive streak, Boots helped build Berry Plastics Corp. into a powerhouse packaging manufacturer — and became well-known in the financial community as well.
Karlheinz Bourdon, a technical expert in injection molding and a globalist, who rose to leadership positions at Ferromatik Milacron and KraussMaffei Group.
David Cornell, who has played a major role in plastics recycling, and was the longtime technical director of the Association of Plastic Recyclers.
Donna Davis, an activist in the Society of Plastics Engineers who is a veteran of new product and process development at ExxonMobil Chemical Co.
Donald Graham, a dynamic businessman who is skilled at building the teams that developed Graham Engineering — and created the high-speed wheel rotary blow molding machine — as well as Graham Packaging. He also is an expert of the financial world, through Graham Partners, an investment group.
Max McDaniel, an expert in catalysts — the fundamental building blocks for making and fine-tuning polymers — at Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. An expert in polyethylene catalysts, his name appears on 385 patents.
Stephen Maguire, a prolific inventor who founded auxiliary equipment maker Maguire Products Inc. His transformational invention: the Maguire Weigh Scale Blender, which passed the 50,000-unit sales mark two years ago.
Martin Stark, the longtime leader of Bekum America Corp., who came to United States in the late 1960s speaking very little English. He worked at Battenfeld of America, then Bekum America, becoming president and CEO of the maker of blow molding machines. Under Stark's encouragement, Bekum America started a German-style apprenticeship program.
Hideo Tanaka, who held many leadership roles in a 42-year career at Japanese injection press maker Toshiba Machine Engineering Co. Ltd. He was one of the first employees of Toshiba Machine Co. America in the 1970s, then used skills he learned at the U.S. operation back in Japan, where he held important technical and management positions.
This crop of inductees is an impressive group. Five of them are from the machinery sector — six if you include Ira Boots, who currently is chairman of Milacron Holdings Corp., and seven if you include Donald Graham, whose career has covered so many other areas as well. There are chemists and engineers.
What do they all have in common? Dedication and hard work. The ability to stick with a task until you solve the problem — even if it takes years.
And five of them spent their entire career at a single company: Robert Ackley, Donna Davis, Max McDaniel and Hideo Tanaka. What an incredible display of loyalty — and of companies allowing employees to continue to grow and learn new things, and take care of people.
Ackley summed it up: "Loyalty works both ways."
This attitude seems old-fashioned today, where people seem to hop from job to job. After all, why should you be loyal these days, when companies go through rounds of layoffs, sometimes even announcing it in an email, not face to face? That's too bad.
The new Plastics Hall of Fame members have made major contributions to the industry. But they also show the benefits of a long-term commitment, dedication and sacrifice. For those traits alone, they are good role models.