Know Any Plastics Icons? Nominate Them to the Plastics Hall of Fame

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Go to plasticshof.org and start the process.

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Every time—and I mean every time—my friends and I get together, the conversation seems to naturally gravitate toward the Baseball Hall of Fame. Who belongs? Who doesn’t? Who’s playing now that’s a shoe-in? Who got in because of politics? Who’s being blocked because of politics? And what about the list of record-holding players not in because they were linked to performance-enhancing drugs?

Wouldn’t it be a cool thing for this industry if during our get-togethers we had the same kind of discussion about the Plastics Hall of Fame (excepting the steroid accusations)?

Before you ask, yes indeed there is a Plastics Hall of Fame. Its roots can be traced back to 1972, when it was established by Sid Gross, then chief editor of Modern Plastics magazine, in cooperation with the Society of the Plastics Industry (now the Plastics Industry Association, or PLASTICS). The first induction ceremony took place during NPE 1973, and such a ceremony has been a staple of every NPE since then. Beginning in 1974 and every three years thereafter, separate ceremonies have been held for posthumous induction.

In 1976, Modern Plastics shifted responsibility for inducting members to SPI (now Plastics Industry Association; PLASTICS); and after the 1982 event, the Plastics Academy Inc., a tax-exempt organization, was founded to manage the Hall of Fame nominations and inductions. In 1988, the Plastics Hall of Fame was endorsed by SPI/PLASTICS, as well as the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), the Plastics Pioneers Association (PPA), and the National Plastics Center (NPC), which originally housed a Hall of Fame museum in Leominster, Mass. In 1999, the American Plastics Council added its endorsement.

In 2008, NPC closed. Most of the Hall of Fame was moved to the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. In 2013, artifacts that the museum had collected over the years were sent to Syracuse University, which worked with PPA to create a virtual museum called The Plastics Collection, and then opened the Plastics Pioneers Reading Room within the Syracuse University library.

Fast forward to the here and now: Check out plasticshof.org. Though still a work-in-progress, you can see all past inductees and, more importantly, quickly and easily nominate someone you feel is deserving. Maybe a mentor? A fellow employee? A supplier? According to Jay Gardiner, president of The Plastics Academy and of Gardiner Plastics, South Setauket, N.Y., “The Plastics Hall of Fame induction process recognizes individuals who have a strong record of consistent dedication and extraordinary accomplishments, and who contributed to the stature and growth of the plastics industry.”

Gardiner, who himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame during NPE 2012, adds, “Thanks to the efforts of many individuals, we have been able to create a new website and repository containing biographical information for all of the members of the Hall of Fame. We hope that it serves as an inspiration for those who are entering our profession, as well as those who have contributed to the growth of the plastic industry as it exists today. Since the development of the new website, we have seen a substantial number of new nominations for the 2018 living Hall of Fame Awards.”

Applicants are screened by the Academy Board (of which I’m proud to be a member), and the final selections are voted on by the living members of the Hall of Fame. You have until Sept. 22 to submit your nomination for the next induction ceremony. Visit plasticshof.org to begin that process. The induction ceremony will be held May 6 at NPE 2018 in Orlando.