PLASTICS CEO Carteaux talks emotion at PLASTEC West

Upwards of 100 people showed up for the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS; Washington, DC) “happy hour,” capping a very busy end of day two at PLASTEC West in Anaheim, CA, today. The featured speaker was PLASTICS’ President and CEO Bill Carteaux, who prefaced his remarks by telling the crowd that there is “no free lunch, appetizers or drinks—you have to listen to me.”

The primary talking point was the rebrand of the association in December. The logic for renaming the organization was inescapable. “When I meet with the new administration, when I walk in and say, I’m Bill Carteaux of PLASTICS, they immediately know what I represent. I no longer have to explain what SPI is." (If you have forgotten, SPI stood for Society of Plastics Industry.) "For 70 of the past 80 years, we have not been a society. We represent corporations and the industry,” Carteaux stressed.

Carteaux also reminded attendees of the historical confusion between SPI and SPE (the Society of Plastics Engineers), which the new name eliminates. Be honest: Even if you are familiar with both organizations, haven’t you ever said SPE when you meant to say SPI? And speaking of acronyms, Carteaux made it clear that he does not want the Plastics Industry Association “acronized.” Is that even a word, he asked? Maybe not, but the point was made: The short form of the name is PLASTICS, all caps, not PIA.

He also took a moment to explain the relevance of the logo, a hexagon, which represents the six segments of the industry—brand owners, equipment manufacturers, material suppliers, moldmakers, processors and recyclers. “This represents one of our single largest value propositions: We represent the entire supply chain,” said Carteaux.

PLASTICS also took the occasion of the get-together at the Anaheim Convention Center to premiere its new video, which was marred by some technical difficulties, but you can see it as intended below. The video is heavy on emotion, and that’s deliberate. “We get beat up a lot in the press and online,” said Carteaux. “As an industry and business people, we try to respond using fact and science, because that’s what drives us, but what really makes a difference is emotion.” Carteaux recounted how the video's message has resonance in his life.

“Last year I had cancer,” said Carteaux, “and through the entire treatment I actually took a lot of pictures and videos to show how plastics saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t have plastics.

“What I realized while I was in the hospital,” he concluded, “was that manufacturing and all of the things we make together is what helps save people’s lives every single day. And all of the other things you make that help us as consumers and that help the world, I want you to remember whenever anyone says anything bad about manufacturing that, without us, none of those things would exist.”

Words, literally, to live by.

PLASTEC West runs through Feb. 9 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

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