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Engel North America, member of the Engel group, has expanded the automation group at its York, PA headquarters with the addition of five staff members.The group, under General Manager of Automation/Robotics Jay Sachania, provides automation solutions that include such services as mechanical, electrical and software engineering, conceptual through final system design, and full system integration.

PlasticsToday Staff

July 30, 2014

8 Min Read
Names in the news: Engel, Graham Engineering, SPI, Toray Plastics and more

Engel North America, member of the Engel group, has expanded the automation group at its York, PA headquarters with the addition of five staff members.

The group, under General Manager of Automation/Robotics Jay Sachania, provides automation solutions that include such services as mechanical, electrical and software engineering, conceptual through final system design, and full system integration.

With the goal of increasing services for their customers, Engel has expanded the capabilities of its automation group with the addition of several industry-experienced personnel:


Tom Bieber 

  • Tom Bieber has been appointed Automation Systems Manager. He spent the last 12 years owning/operating an automation systems integration company, and has a total of 30 years experience in the automation industry with companies including Bell & Howell, Electron Energy Corp. and New Concept Technology. Tom holds five U.S. patents in Automation Technology.

  • Steven Horn, experienced in project management and engineering, is the new Automation Project Manager. Steven has worked Engel companies including Boeing, GE and ES3, and comes to Engel with over 30 years experience in manufacturing and distribution.

  • Mechanical Engineer Brian Dombroski has 20 years experience in injection molding industry. Brian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Plastic & Polymer Engineering Technology from the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

  • Software Engineer Rob Benner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and has seven years experience in Programming, Data & Test Systems.

  • Stephen Campbell has accepted the position of Project Engineer. Stephen is a graduate of Electro Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University.

Building on the integration of Welex and American Kuhne, Graham Engineering is pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Deitrick as Vice President of Global Sales. He will lead the direct and indirect sales force for all three brands, report to David Schroeder, president and CEO, and be a member of the management team.


Robert Deitrick 

A graduate of the Advanced Electronics Program of the U.S. Navy, Deitrick's civilian career in plastics and related products spans more than 20 years, including the Measurex division of Honeywell, the EGS Gauging division of Thermo Fisher Scientific, and most recently, Nordson EDI where he was a member of the executive team responsible for structuring and leading sales and operations through several transactions. 

"Graham Engineering, American Kuhne and Welex are strong, respected brands with a reputation of industry-leading innovation on a global scale," said Deitrick. "I am excited and honored to join the team working to leverage the synergies of these three for the benefit of customers worldwide and charting our course forward."

"Solving customer challenges with innovative, high quality, reliable equipment has made Graham Engineering, American Kuhne and Welex the leading brands that we are," said David Schroeder, president and CEO of Graham Engineering. "We are excited to bring Bob's knowledge, drive and expertise to the team to accelerate our commercial efforts."

Toray Plastics (America), Inc is pleased to announce that Scott Van Winter, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Lumirror Division (PET), has been invited to be a member of the Board of Directors. Toray is also pleased to announce that Christopher Roy has been named Vice President and General Manager of the Torayfan Division (OPP).

Van Winter joined Toray in 2004 as the Director of Industrial Sales. In 2007 he was appointed the Director and General Manager of the Lumirror Division after acting as its Director of Sales and Marketing. He was the division's Vice President and General Manager before being named its Senior Vice President. Van Winter has been in the plastics industry for 26 years, coming to Toray after a variety of successful roles, including that of Vice President of OPS Sheet and Specialty Films for Alcoa Kama Co.


 Christopher Roy 

Christopher Roy most recently served the company as General Manager of the Torayfan Division, having previously been the division's Senior Director of Sales and Marketing. Roy has also held the positions of Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of National Sales. He joined Toray in 1998 after seven successful years with Mid-America Plastics, where he held the position of Vice President. Prior to working at Mid-America Plastics, Roy was with EDS in Dallas, TX in finance.

"Scott and Chris are strong, solid, dedicated Toray leaders with nearly five decades of plastic films experience between them," says Mike Brandmeier, president and CEO. "They deserve this recognition and I look forward to working closely with them as we move on to the next leg of Toray's journey to creating even greater value."

As part of its ongoing efforts to advance its people-centric cultural initiatives, Barry-Wehmiller has named long-term team member Rhonda Spencer its first ever Chief People Officer. Bob Chapman, chairman and CEO of the Clayton-based capital equipment and engineering solutions provider, says the creation of the senior executive position will further the company's vision of sending people home safe, healthy and fulfilled. "Sometimes you need to take an idea out into the sunshine and let it grow," Chapman explained. "Ten years ago, when we had the idea to build an empowerment team to develop leaders into good stewards of the lives entrusted to them, Rhonda successfully led the initiative. With her in this new role, we're poised to deepen our focus on stewardship inside our human resource organization as well." 

As Chief People Officer, Spencer will lead two global teams: the Organizational Empowerment (OE) Team, which oversees Barry-Wehmiller University, the organization's innovative leadership institute, and its Living Legacy of Leadership (L3), which directs Barry-Wehmiller's lean initiatives; and the Culture & People Development (CPD) Team, responsible for the organization's human resource programs and initiatives.

"The growth of the organization coupled with the growing global awareness of Truly Human Leadership creates an opportune time to harmonize our people programs across Barry-Wehmiller," Spencer said. "Our culture challenges each of us to accept the awesome responsibility of leadership. I remain honored and committed to doing so in leading these two crucial teams."

Prior to her role as the Director of Organizational Empowerment, Spencer was Barry-Wehmiller's Vice President of Sales for North America.

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association announced that Robert F. Helminiak has joined the organization's advocacy team as vice president of science and regulatory affairs. Helminiak will be responsible for addressing actions of regulatory agencies, code- and standard- setting bodies, and non-governmental organizations in support of the 900,000 strong U.S. plastics manufacturing industry.


Robert Helminiak 

Helminiak previously served as director of regulatory affairs for the National Propane Gas Association and as director of government affairs and deputy general counsel at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.

"Robert's experience developing strategic policy issues at the federal and state levels while sustaining relationships with regulatory and legislative leaders uniquely qualifies him for this senior level position," said SPI President and CEO William Carteaux. "His sound judgment and demonstrated ability to apply his expertise will serve the plastics industry well."

Helminiak is a native of Buffalo, N.Y., and holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Dayton and Catholic University.

Meredian Inc, a producer of PHA biopolymers, has announced that John A. Dowdy, III has joined its team as the newly appointed Chief Financial Officer. This appointment comes in the wake of Meredian Inc. and its sister company DaniMer Scientific merging together under its wholly owned subsidiary Meredian Holdings Group Inc.

Dowdy joins the Meredian team with a 17 year track record of achievement in private industry and public accounting. He also has significant experience helping emerging companies make the transition to becoming publicly traded.

"I am thrilled to join the Meredian team at this exciting time," said Dowdy. "Meredian is at the leading edge of this truly innovative industry and I am honored to help them move forward with their business development."

Prior to joining the Meredian team, Dowdy served in various financial and accounting positions at Yandex, an internet company that is the leading search provider in Russia and holds a 60 percent market share in the country. The company is also one of the largest European internet companies. During his tenure at Yandex, Dowdy was the Chief Accounting Officer from January 2008 until April 2012 and the Vice President of Finance for its international business from April 2012-2014. While at Yandex, Dowdy was a major component in their $1.4 billion Initial Public Offering in 2011. This IPO was the biggest one for a dotcom company since Google launched its in 2004.

Shannon Abts has joined Nordson as Midwest regional sales manager for the Xaloy product line, it was announced by Rob Cook, manager of processor sales for the Americas.

Abts will be responsible for sales in Arkansas, Colorado, southern Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

"Shannon brings twelve years of engineering experience in plastics processing, along with seven spent as an engineer in the food processing industry," Cook said. "He has a shop-floor understanding of manufacturing systems that will play a valuable role in the support he provides to our customers."

Shannon Abts entered the plastics industry in 1996 as an injection molding technician for CertainTeed Corp.. Subsequently he worked for Blitz USA, first as an extrusion blow molding process engineer, then as a product delivery team leader overseeing maintenance and metal personnel. He comes to Nordson Xaloy from Mars Petcare US, where he was a process improvement engineer. Abts holds a BSc degree in plastics engineering from Pittsburg State University in Kansas.

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