Plastics Hall of Fame: 10 Inspiring Stories

Last evening, at the Linda W. Chapin Theatre, the Plastics Academy inducted 10 new members into the Plastics Hall of Fame. Meet these outstanding individuals with remarkable stories. Each one teaches a lesson of hard work and creative thinking.


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

The tradition of honoring outstanding individuals every three years by inducting them into the Plastics Hall of Fame immediately before NPE continues. This observance, which started in 1972, had a record number of nominations in 2018, and is considered the crowning achievement of any life spent in the plastics industry.

“These new inductees proudly represent the length and breadth of our great industry, with a wealth of accomplishments in polymer science, engineering, manufacturing, equipment design, and business management,” says Plastics Academy President Jay Gardiner. “Each individual has been elected by the living members of the Hall of Fame after a lengthy screening process.”

“We look forward to honoring the past at the Hall of Fame Gala and then seeing the future of our industry at NPE2018,” said Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association, prior to the May 6 ceremony.

Some of the new inductees started in the industry through family ties, others by intellectual curiosity, fate or conviction. No matter how they got into plastics, it ultimately takes both personal and professional skills to reach the top of their fields. These are the new inductees to the Plastics Hall of Fame 2018. (Watch for individual profiles of the Class of 2018 in coming issues of the NPE Show Daily.)

Robert Ackley—A former draftsman and mechanical engineer, Ackley was instrumental in leading Davis-Standard, LLC to become the leading extrusion machinery manufacturer in North America. He has also served the industry’s most prestigious associations in senior management roles, including as chairman of PLASTICS (formerly known as SPI) in 2000-2001, and as a board member of the National Plastics Center and Museum.

Ira Boots—An early adopter of automation and a strong proponent of innovation for growth, Boots founded and grew what is now Berry Global, Inc. into one of the world’s largest plastics packaging companies. Today, Boots is the chairman of Milacron, a leading producer of plastics processing machinery.

Karlheinz Bourdon—An engineer and developer of injection molding machinery and computerized processes, including robotics and computer integrated manufacturing (CIM), Bourdon worked in senior management positions for Ferromatik Milacron and currently is senior vice president of integration for KraussMaffei Corp. He also has been active with the boards of VDMA and EUROMAP.

David Cornell—A pioneer in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle commercialization at Eastman Chemical Co., Cornell went on to become a champion of plastics recycling as the technical director of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), developing the foundation for the continued development of the processes for collection and recycling of many plastics.

Donna Davis—A collaborator, innovator, researcher and educator, Davis has worked for ExxonMobil Chemical in process design and the development of polyolefin products, from early gas-phase technology through metallocene catalyzed polymers. As president of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) from 2003-2004, she was involved in many strategic activities that have impacted the industry and was the driving force behind the creation of the perennially world-class Polyolefins Conference.

Donald Graham—An inventor, innovator and businessman, Graham founded Graham Engineering Corporation, a world leader in the manufacture and sale of high-speed plastics processing machinery. He invented the rotary wheel line for extrusion blow molding of plastic containers. His companies have grown extensively through mergers and acquisitions to become a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

Max McDaniel—As a Senior Fellow Scientist for Chevron Phillips, McDaniel has been responsible for significant advances in polymer chemistry, in particular with polymer and catalyst technologies for polyethylene. He has received numerous awards and recognition worldwide including several from the American Chemical Society and Phillips Petroleum. He is also the author of over 370 technical patents and hundreds of peer-reviewed papers.

Steve Maguire—A prolific inventor and founder of Maguire Products Inc., Maguire has transformed plastics’ raw material handling technology, as well as how processors control the preparation and consumption of plastic materials. With over 41 patents, his products are visible in most processing plants today. Among his inventions are designs for a liquid color pump, the weigh scale blender and gravimetric color/additive feeders for improved accuracy in color and additive metering.

Martin Stark—A dynamic and tireless advocate for the plastics industry, Stark has been active in many aspects of plastics. As chairman of Bekum America Corp., he has continuously strived to promote excellence, providing innovation in process, customer experience and quality. His lifetime devotion to education has resulted in the establishment and support of many quality programs, from apprenticeships through graduate education in plastics.

Hideo Tanaka—A developer and designer of processes and machinery, Tanaka helped lift Toshiba Machine Co. to its preeminent position in the plastics machinery industry. His engineering designs spanned a wide range of processes from nylon inflation blown-film through all-electric injection molding machines.