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NFL Hall of Famer welcomes plastics pioneers into Hall of Fame

NFL Hall of Famer Mike Dikta will welcome …



NFL Hall of Famer Mike Dikta will welcome …



Georg Schwarz and eight other industry luminaries as they are inducted into the Plastics Academy Hall of Fame.

On Monday, June 22, just a few minutes after the triennial NPE trade show ends its inaugural day, show attendees have the opportunity to take part in a bit of history as one Hall of Famer—Mike Ditka, the former NFL player, coach, and NFL Hall of Fame member, as well as one of Chicago’s most-loved personalities—welcomes nine of this industry’s most notable leaders and innovators being inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame.

The Plastics Hall of Fame was established in 1972 by Modern Plastics Worldwide magazine, in cooperation with The Society of the Plastics Industry, to recognize those who have contributed most significantly to the growth and success of the plastics industry. This year’s group of inductees played a role in supporting the rapid rise of the plastics industry. It includes:

• Robert Barr, whose accomplishments, including development of the "BARR" screw that used separation of solids and melt to ensure that there is no unmelted polymer in the extrudate, continue to influence plasticizing systems.

• Paul Colby, who was successful in a number of positions throughout the industry before he founded Spirex Corp. in 1978; that company since has grown to become a more than $20 million internationally recognized enterprise producing screws and barrels for plastics machinery. Although he retired in 1998, he remains the company’s chairman.

• Trevor Evans, whose distinguished plastics processing career includes managing the first PET bottle blowing facility outside the U.S., continues today as chairman of Nampak Ltd., one of the world’s largest packaging processors.

• Paulo Galli, whose work in catalyst technology helped ensure that plastics plants have been able to produce material in the quantity and quality necessary to feed the industry’s growth.

• James Hendry, whose career in the industry began in Scotland in 1938, bringing him to positions of ever-increasing responsibility at plastics processing operations in the U.S., and culminated in his groundbreaking work in the development of gas-assist injection molding.

• Ralph Noble, whose work pioneering the use of plasticizers in flexible vinyl compounds and cross-linked polyethylene for the wire and cable industry, helped his company Synergistics Inc. become one of the industry’s leading plastics compounders. Noble, a Canadian, went on to become the first non-U.S. president of SPE International in 1970.

• Georg Schwarz, whose leadership and strategic vision helped Austrian injection molding machine manufacturer Engel become a leader in injection molding machine products and technology. Engel is still owned by the Schwarz family, although Georg Schwarz is retired from day-to-day involvement in the business.

• Robert Swain, who enjoyed success at a number of leading industry suppliers before forming his own company in 1967, Chroma Corp., which continues today as one of the leaders in masterbatch technology and supply.

• Donald Witenhafer, whose inventions as a scientist in B.F. Goodrich’s PVC business may well have saved the PVC industry after it was found that employees involved in cleaning PVC suspension reactors were plagued by a rare form of liver cancer. He is credited with developing methods to reduce the residual, unreacted, vinyl chloride monomer in the polymer to very low concentrations before it leaves the resin plant, and eliminating all VCM emissions from a PVC manufacturing plant.

The Induction Gala for this year’s Hall of Fame class will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the West Building Ballroom at McCormick Place, with SPI taking table reservations (individuals also can register to attend). SPI’s Karen Bolton ([email protected] or (202) 974-5249) is available to answer questions about the event. [email protected]

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