One of the industry's main trade groups in Washington, the Plastics Industry Association, has seen an unusual amount of turnover among key staff lately, a development its leader is blaming on the "Great Resignation" in the U.S. workforce.
The group's chief economist, who was a member of its senior leadership team, has left, as have heads of key councils serving the processing and equipment manufacturing sectors and its government affairs director handling California and other western states active on plastics legislation.
"We're facing the same challenges that a lot of our members are facing and it's called the Great Resignation," said Tony Radoszewski, president and CEO of the group.
"It's very frustrating. I know our members are suffering greatly with the ability to fill spots," he said. "I just don't think we're any different; it's part of where we are today."
In a phone interview, Radoszewski also said the public pressures on the industry over environmental issues could be having an impact.
"It's a challenge. We're a face-forwarding organization in an industry that is being challenged," he said. "It takes a certain breed of person to want to get up every morning and take on the fight for the benefit of our industry, to kind of dismiss the negative press we get from so many places."
The staff departures in the last month or two have included Perc Pineda, its chief economist, along with Michael Werner, the head of the group's Equipment Council, and George Southworth, director of its Processors Council.
Werner left in January to return to a position with his previous employer, injection press maker Shibaura Machine Co. America, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He had joined the association in September 2020 as director of membership sales.
Southworth left in January to become executive director of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association. He also headed plastics association's Brand Owners Advisory Group.
The group's point person on political issues in California and the western U.S., Shannon Crawford, also left in recent weeks, Radoszewski said.
Crawford had joined the association in 2018 as a director of state government affairs and was based in Washington. The association wants the next person for that position to be located in the western U.S., possibly Sacramento, Calif., Radoszewski said.
These recent staff changes come after two other members of the association's senior leadership team left in mid-2021.