The year was 1997. Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" topped the music charts, and moviegoers flocked to see Titanic.
It also was the year that plastics executive Bill Patient, who passed away on Feb. 25 at age 85, threatened to fight Plastics News Editor Don Loepp.
At the time, PN was covering both sides of the debate over the safety of PVC resin. The material was under attack by Greenpeace and other groups, and it was being defended by the Vinyl Institute and PVC makers including Geon Corp. Patient was the CEO of Geon, which also was a major PVC compounder.
Patient was concerned about PN's coverage of the topic and asked to meet with some of our staff. We met for lunch at a restaurant near PN's office, which at the time was in Akron, Ohio.
The lunch was attended by Patient and a Geon PR person, as well as by PN's Don Loepp, managing editor at the time, Bob Grace, who was then editor, myself and another PN reporter. Like me, the other reporter had been with PN for less than a year. We were new to the industry, but lunch is lunch.