Santa Fe, N.M. — Wolfgang Meyer, a longtime plastics machinery executive, is the new president of the Plastics Pioneers Association.
PPA appointed Meyer at the organization's spring meeting in Santa Fe, April 10-13.
Meyer has been a PPA member for nine years, serving as various positions including secretary for two years, vice president for two years and now president for the next two years, moving through the normal advancement of PPA leadership.
PPA members are required to have at least 20 years in the plastics industry.
He is dedicated to the Plastics Pioneers Association's role of helping the next generation enter the plastics industry.
"I'm very interested in education and employee training," Meyer said. "All my education took place in Germany, where I had apprenticeship training at the encouragement of my father. He said if I flunked at college, I'd at least have something to fall back on."
But Meyer urges all members of PPA to support the plastics industry in meeting the challenges it faces.
"We have to remain up on the current issues and industry challenges, in particular the increasingly negative image of plastics being promoted in today's media," Meyer said. "Many young people are not entering the field of plastics or polymer engineering because of the negative image the industry is facing from people who do understand the science of plastics. We have to change that image."
Meyer grew up in Solingen, Germany, and earned a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked at Bayer AG from 1970-1975, as application development director.
His first job in the United States was an 18-month assignment to Beloit Corp. in Pittsfield, Mass., a licensee of Schloemann-Siemag, which specialized in structural foam and injection molding equipment, among other products.
In 1977, after Schloemann-Siemag acquired German injection molding press maker Battenfeld Maschinenfabriken, Meyer transferred to Battenfeld of America in Skokie, Ill., and then moved back to the headquarters in Germany. He moved permanently to the United States in 1980, becoming vice president for sales and marketing at Battenfeld's U.S. operation, which had become a division of Gloucester Engineering. Then in 1984, he became president of the newly formed Battenfeld of America Inc., holding that position until 2000.
Meyer moved to become president of blow molding machinery firm Kautex Machines Inc. from 2000-2010.
Then he retired … for six months.
"I felt I needed to do something more, so I started Plastics Business Consultants," he said. But then he stepped in as president of blow molding extrusion head maker W. Muller USA Inc. after the sudden death of the former president Elmar Spohr during the 2010 K show.
"I offered to help them find a successor, and they convinced me to take the job for a year. One year became seven years," he said.
Meyer once again retired in December 2017 for about four weeks. Then Plastics Business Consultants was picked to represent Bekum America Corp. in the northeastern United States.