PPA Inducts Eight New Members

Plastics Pioneers Association adds to membership roster following April meeting.

The Plastics Pioneers Association (PPA) welcomed eight new members to its organization at its Spring meeting April 10-13 in Santa Fe, N.M.

The new PPA inductees are:

Mike FriendFriend has had a long career in the plastics industry in Arizona. After graduating from Arizona State University in 1978 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, he joined custom molder Pixley Richards. In 1988 he left Pixley and joined Top-Seal Corp. (a Tech Group Company and proprietary molder of caps and closures) as manufacturing manager.

In 1990 Friend left the Tech Group and founded UPT Plastics. This was a start-up that began as a tool shop but later expanded into injection molding.  Friend and his team grew the company to $12 million in sales by the end of 1999. UPT was acquired in June of 2000 by ATP; Friend stayed on for nearly three years after the acquisition, offering transition and leading the company as president/general manager.

After a brief retirement, Friend founded Integrity Mold in 2005 and grew that company to $10 million in sales. In October of 2017 Integrity was acquired by Westfall Technik. He currently manages this business as vice president/general manager.

Wayne Hertlein: Hertlein has more than 40 years of experience in molds/tooling for the automotive, telecommunications, military and the medical fields. This includes prototype and production tools for close-tolerance, high-precision molds, mold construction, processing and engineering, and product development. He is a proficient troubleshooter and consultant.

He is currently the tooling manager at Letica Corp in Rochester, Mich. Hertlein has also worked for several other companies in his plastics career, including Wilbert, MMI, IAC and Plastech, rising in the ranks from apprentice toolmaker to technical manager.

Ed Laird: With more than five decades of experience in plastics coating, Laird received his Polymer Science degree from RM Technical Institute and began working at Chrysler Coatings lab. He gained experience in both the automotive and aircraft coatings segment, and eventually started Laird Coatings Corp. He is now a successful consultant for air-quality standard for coatings. Currently, his company, in an alliance with PPG, is building a new, $14 million facility for painting plastics.

Laird has served as president of the SPE’s Southern California Section and as a member of the National Materials Council of the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS). In 1992, he was selected as recipient of the SPI’s (now PLASTICS) Western Region Distinguished Service Award. In 2018, Laird was the Hall of Fame Honoree for the Western Plastics Pioneers organizations.

Chris Landis: Landis began his career designing advertising for a national used plastic machinery dealer. An aggressive entrepreneur, by 1978 he was the founding partner of Coast Polymers. Coast soon became a pioneer trader in recycled and virgin wide-spec plastics. Running granulators and extruders, he introduced novel methods of recycling">scrap collection, sorting and cleaning.

In 1992, Coast Polymers was acquired by Bamberger Polymers. Phasing out the recycling business, Coast managed local resin distribution for Bamberger. Over 26 years, Landis built the Western Region, adding a professional sales team to ultimately sell over a billion pounds of commodity plastics. Through the years he was a member in SPI, SPE and WPE.

Chris recently retired from Bamberger Polymers.

Mike Mattina: A graduate of Stephen F. Austin University in 1985 with a BBA in Finance and a minor in Chemistry, Mattina started his 32-year plastics career with Exxon Chemical in 1985. From 1985 to 1991, he was involved in many roles including financial analyst-olefins, sales representative polyethylene/polypropylene, technical service-polyethylene films, and market development-polyethylene.

From 1991 to 1999, Mattina worked for Chevron Chemical, initially in polyethylene sales & market development and later as product manager, HDPE injection and blow molding products. From 1999 to 2001, he worked for Muehlstein Compounded Products as marketing manager. From 2001 to 2017, Mattina worked for Westlake Chemical. While at Westlake, he was vice president-polyethylene, president/general manager of Westlake’s North America PVC pipe division, and sr. vice president, polyethylene & corporate supply chain.

Ron Oberstar: Oberstar started in plastics in 1976 with Harshaw Chemical, and spent his formative years working in Harshaw’s technical service department learning the basics of color pigment performance in various resins. After a few years in technical service, while working through John Carroll University night school, he earned degrees in both chemistry and business administration. He then moved into customer service and into sales.

Oberstar was relocated to California in a sales capacity for Harshaw, and from there moved on to BASF and Dianichiseika, with sales responsibility for the Western U.S.,  before becoming sales manager for the Americas. After 20 years in sales and management, he formed Fortune International Technology, which is a sourcing agent and chemical distribution company specializing in color pigments, pearlescent pigments, plastics additives, and process equipment.

Oberstar has grown Fortune over the last 15 years by adding new additive lines. Currently Oberstar works closely with many plastic concentrate and compounding houses working to source new and commodity additives.

Lynnette Russo: Russo has worked for Bamberger Polymers Inc. for 39 years in sales and marketing of commodity resins. In her career, she witnessed first-hand an era of growth where processors’ trial and error made the pathway for the continued improvement of plastic resins and processes.

Her various responsibilities at Bamberger Polymers eventually led to a focus on sales. She sold to end-users in the South and Southeast regions of the U.S. and to various specific accounts scattered throughout the U.S. In addition, she handled export traders focused on resin needs for India, Africa, and the Far East.

Russo is a member of Bamberger Polymers Million Dollar Club. She was a member of SPE from 1984–2015. She is well known for organizing and hosting the Frank Padula Memorial (SPE) Golf Outing from 2001–2016, which was a fund raiser for education at several Texas-based universities.

Ed Schott:  After graduating from Lakeland University in Wisconsin, Schott served four years in the U.S. Army. He joined Gulf Oil Chemical Co. in the polyethylene plant in Orange, Tex., beginning his 46-year career in plastics.He worked in various roles in sales, moving to Indianapolis, Dallas, Cincinnati, and back to Houston.

As the company merged with Chevon and later with Conoco Phillips, Schott took on larger and different roles. He worked not only in olefins but also in the aromatics division. He spent many years managing distributor sales for non-prime resins in domestic, and overseas markets.

Schott was a member of SPI (now PLASTICS) throughout his career, and he regularly participated in group outings. 

Founded in 1971, the mission of the PPA is to advance the future success of the plastics industry by providing scholarships to students, educational programs and supporting the plastics history museum at Syracuse University, all of which serve to engage the next-generation in the world of plastics.