The calls would always start with: "Hello, Frank, this is Balaji…"
From that point, Balaji Singh would tell me about his next FlexPo conference and offer his entertaining takes on what was going on in the worlds of polyolefins, thermoplastic elastomers and PVC.
Singh died on March 29. He was the founder and owner of the Chemical Market Resources consulting firm and was a great help to me in my early days at Plastics News in the late 1990s. I had no industry experience but had no problem asking dumb questions. (This ability continues to this day.) Balaji was very patient in explaining technologies and markets to someone who a few months before had been writing about drug arrests and city council meetings in Northeast Ohio.
In hindsight, attending those early FlexPo events as a plastics neophyte was jumping into the deep end of the pool. Experts in the field were everywhere you looked. People like Paolo Galli, Emanuel Kontos, Donna Davis, Kurt Swogger, John Cook, Len Czuba, Mark Mack and Clifford Lee were the cream of the crop.
And Balaji held the whole thing together, giving many young students their first jobs in the industry as FlexPo moved from Houston to New Orleans to Galveston and later to locations in Asia. He also battled major health problems, but continued on until selling CMR in 2015.
My condolences to the family and to the many, many friends of Balaji Singh.