I just saw the terrible news about Bill Bregar. I'm shocked. Absolutely terrible, sad news. I still can't believe that he's gone.
He was such an all-around great guy and I truly considered him a good friend. Bill personified 'one-of-a-kind'; they truly broke the mold in Bill's case (probably in a million pieces).
I'm sure we all have our favorite Bill Bregar stories. I have quite a few and had always thought that I'd collect many, many more in the years ahead. He was such a fun and unique person, larger than life in so many ways with his own unique humor and quirkiness that I just loved in him. His passing is such a loss for us all — for his family and friends whom he personally touched, for his colleagues throughout his career, for Plastics News, for our industry, and for everyone who works in and loves the plastics industry as much as Bill did.
By extension, his passing is a true loss for society much more broadly speaking; his passion for journalism and his plastics industry research and stories made our industry better. He personally made the plastics industry better in countless and invisible ways. His stories, his work, compelled countless plastics companies to be better and to do better, which then resulted in better work environments for countless people at plastics companies across the U.S. and beyond, all of whom then produced better plastics products that ultimately impacted all of us countless times and in so many invisible ways each and every day.
I can honestly say that his work made Plastikos/Plastikos Medical and Micro Mold better. We would not be where we are today without the fingerprint that Bill Bregar left on us. He will be missed. I miss him.
And the Executive Forum and NPE will never be the same without Bill and his work (before, during and after each industry event) either. Bill was such an integral part of both and his wit, his quirkiness and his one-of-a-kind personality encompass so many of my memories of those events throughout the years. Neither will ever be the same.
For what it's worth (and as a past Processor of the Year award winner), I would like to propose and strongly recommend that the annual "Processor of the Year" award be renamed/presented in Bill's name and honor. As much as the NHL's Stanley cup belongs to Lord Stanley or the NFL's Lombardi Trophy belongs to Vince Lombardi, the Processor of the Year belongs to Bill Bregar.
With my deepest sympathies and a heavy and sad heart.
Philip A. Katen
Philip A. Katen is president and general manager of Plastikos Inc., Plastikos Medical and Micro Mold Co. Inc. in Erie, Pa.