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September 1, 2003

4 Min Read
Editorial: Men of action recognized

MSnyder.jpgI write today in tribute to a man who is no longer with us, but who made important contributions to the plastics industry: Charles W. Cleworth. Mr. Cleworth, or ?Chuck? as we all knew him, died July 27 at the age of 69 after a mercifully short bout with cancer.

Chuck Cleworth has passed on, but his legacy continues. Chuck (photo below) was an astute businessman who founded Plastics Machinery & Equipment (PM&E) in 1972. PM&E was successful and Chuck subsequently launched Plastics Design Forum (PDF) and Plastics Compounding (PC). He also launched the first successful regional plastics shows, which he named Plastics Fairs.

Chuck had a knack for surrounding himself with talent, and those people would in turn hire additional talent. It was a winning formula.

I think it is fair to say that Chuck was a businessman as well as a publisher. When it turned out that neither of his children (both sons) were interested in pursuing publishing, Chuck sold his company, called Industry Media, and moved on. Three members of the early Industry Media team, Pete Sullivan, Peter Zacher, and Suzy Witzler, later went on to found the immensely successful Injection Molding Magazine. They ultimately sold the magazine to its current owner, Canon Communications. All three ?retired,? but not very convincingly. Pete is actively involved in plastics business consulting, Peter has been a goodwill ambassador for the Canon publications, and Suzy is presently serving as a consultant to IMM. My special thanks to Suzy, who brought me into Industry Media in the first place, for helping me get the details right for this column.

The Cleworth organization?s plastics publications (during and after Cleworth?s involvement) have spawned three current chief editors in plastics publishing. Jeff Sloan is editor of IMM, I am editor of PM&A, and Judith Ray Hazen is editor and publisher of High Performance Composites and Composites Technology.

There are many others from Industry Media that deserve mention, and I apologize for any inadvertent admissions. Karl Reque, our group art director, has worked with us since Industry Media days. Rob Neilley is a senior editor for IMM. Mel Friedman, former editor of PDF, and Ed Galli, senior editor for multiple Industry Media magazines, have retired. Marcy McMurrer, former editor of PC, died earlier this year.

On the advertising sales side, Mike Raftus is with IMM and PM&A, I know that Jeff Williams and Gary Lindenberger are still in the business, and there are probably others.

It is neither my role nor my intention to provide an obituary here. If you want more information of that sort, contact me and I will direct you to the appropriate sources.

But the long and the short of it for those of us in plastics publishing is this: It is hard to imagine what the business would look like today had it not been for the ambitions of Chuck Cleworth. He had the vision, energy, and persistence to make things work, and the best way to honor Chuck?s memory is to do likewise. Another individual whose energies and dedication bring honor to the plastics industry is Jim Meinert, who is alive and well and vigorously promoting the value of operating in the international arena. Jim?s Words of Wisdom column (and his photo) appear on p. 12. Jim was travelling to China before most of us paid any significant attention to China, which was then widely considered to be a political and military annoyance of little or no economic importance. My, how times change.

Jim has extensive experience in turnkey plastic molding systems, global advertising and marketing communications, market research and planning, and international trade missions and trade show events. Meinert Market Services offers successful experience in international trade to help clients find new or improved business in the global marketplace, assisting clients in every phase of plastics technology and manufacturing. He also has significant experience in working with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, with various government officials, and with professional and world trade associations. Jim Meinert?s experience extends to selling and exporting molds directly, through international trade shows and associations, and through distribution channels he has established in Mexico, South America, China, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. That is a list that should make us sit up and take notice.

Merle R. Snyder

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