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NPE: The Plastics Hall of Fame Inductees -- June 2000

May 1, 2000

7 Min Read
NPE:  The Plastics Hall of Fame Inductees -- June 2000

The Plastics Hall of Fame will induct eight new members during a ceremony and banquet on June 22 during NPE week. Those elected to the Hall have shown "consistent dedication and extraordinary accomplishments, which have contributed to the growth of the industry and without which the industry would not have reached its present level of preeminence." As of this year, total membership in the Hall is 120, with 34 living members. Following are this year’s inductees:

Eric Baer is founder and first chairman of the Department of Macromolecular Science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University earning a masters in chemistry and a doctorate in engineering, and worked as research engineer at DuPont. His career as an educator began in 1960 and eventually he was promoted to dean of science and engineering at the Case Institute of Technology. He was an early editor of The Journal of Applied Polymer Science and is the current editor of Polymer Engineering and Science. Baer has published 350 research papers, edited five books, and is considered one of the founders of the biomimetics field. Recently his research has centered on the hierarchical superstructure of polymers, emphasizing polymer morphology and mechanical behavior. He is currently director of the Center on Hierarchical Structures and the H.H. Dow Professor of Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve.Rudolph D. Deanin began his 55-year career in plastics as an investigator in the World War II Synthetic Rubber program at the University of Illinois. He worked for 20 years in the industry as group leader and director at the former Allied Chemical and at DeBell & Richardson Corp. before founding the graduate program in plastics engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He supervised theses of more than 225 graduate students while developing and teaching courses to more than 4000 plastics engineering students. Deanin wrote what is considered to be a pioneering text on the relationships between polymer structure, practical properties, and applications—particularly in plastics. He has published more than 100 scientific papers and holds 36 U.S. and international patents. Harold A. Holz has worked in the plastics industry for 52 years, convincing processors to develop the first applications for polyethylene—which eventually would become the world’s largest volume resin family. Holz worked at Union Carbide for 29 years, developing relationships that led to Tupperware, squeeze bottles, blown film, and Columbia Records’ vinyl resin LP record system. He also was a key participant in the industry’s conversion from conventional LDPE to LLDPE. Holz has been an industry activist as president of both SPE and Plastics Pioneers. He is director of The Plastics Academy, trustee of the Plastics Institute of America, and governor of the National Plastics Center & Museum. Holz has been a consultant for Marval Industries for more than 13 years.Gordon B. Lankton is the first person to buy a small injection molding company, turn it into a global, half-billion-dollar enterprise, and then offer stock ownership to the employees. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, Lankton traveled through Europe and Asia on a motorcycle, visualizing his global corporation. That company would eventually become Nypro Inc., and would grow to include more than a dozen facilities across the U.S. and plants throughout Europe and Asia. Lankton established the first state-accredited school within his company to ensure the continued plastics technology education of employees and the public. Among the first to offer personal and corporate funding for the National Plastics Center & Museum, he enlisted others to do the same. He has been honored as Processor of the Year, twice as International Businessperson of the Year, and is a featured speaker for many educational programs.Guy A. Martinelli began his career as an administrative assistant at Sylvan Plastics Inc. and eventually rose to become president of the company. As president of the New York section of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Martinelli chaired the annual technical conference, establishing standards that remain today. At the national level, he founded and chaired the Polymer Modifiers & Additives Div., was elected vp of engineering, and eventually SPE president in 1964. As chairman of the board for the Plastics Institute of America Inc., Martinelli spearheaded the formation of the Maximizing the Life Cycle of Plastics program, which led to the recycling movement in the industry today. As president of the nonprofit Chemical & Specialties Management Council, he addressed common industry issues including personnel, employee benefits, fundraising, and regulatory concerns. As president of the Plastics Pioneers, Martinelli helped create an educational fund for students pursuing careers in the industry. He founded his own firm, Accolade Plastics & Chemical Assoc., consulting in mergers and acquisitions. His peers named him Man of the Year in 1993.Frank R. Nissel took extrusion from a mysterious process to a highly predictable science. He developed vented extrusion, built the first commercial sheet coextrusion line, and invented the Autoflex die. He began his career at Union Carbide in 1946 where he developed a high-speed milling test for dynamic evaluation of PVC heat stability, now an industry standard. As cofounder and vp of Prodex Corp., his developments led to other standard practices in high-intensity mixers and valved extrusion while building the first sheet extrusion line in the world with beta gauging equipment and automatic yield control. As president of Welex Inc., Nissel opened up key markets in more than 70 countries, designing processes for dairy containers, berry boxes, and food trays for the airline industry. He founded SPE’s Extrusion Div., earning him a Distinguished Service Award in 1992 and a 1995 International Business award. Nissel holds patents in 14 countries. Don L. Peters, known throughout the industry as "Mr. Blowmolding," began his career in R&D at Phillips Petroleum Co. and 47 years later remains there as a principal engineer in blowmolding. His early developments include an insulated runner system for injection molding, but since 1964 he has worked exclusively as a blowmolding engineer. One of his most significant developments is part and mold design using moving sections to make one-piece, highly irregular shaped parts, otherwise not blowmoldable. He was a member of the team that developed the first commercial blowmolded automotive fuel tank and helped develop basic die shaping technology to improve wall thickness and an internal cooling method for blowmolded parts. Peters has presented more than 200 technical seminars, authored papers, and has written for blowmolding books. A member of SPE for 41 years, he was on the Blowmolding Div. board of directors for 15 years. His awards include SPE Fellow, Outstanding Service, Lifetime Outstanding Achievement, and a Phillips Petroleum Lifetime Achievement.L.C. ‘Bud’ Rubens, recognized as the "Father of Polymeric Foams," began his career in the 1940s as a member of the legendary Dow Physics Lab, which made prolific contributions to Dow’s commercial success and to the plastics industry. The basic science in the foaming mechanism for high polymers that he developed has been applied to the production of almost all foam products. He invented Ethafoam and his work on organic blowing agents has been applied to almost all polymeric foam products including Styrofoam. Rubens holds 58 U.S. patents, 35 of which are in foam technology and high-impact polystyrene, and has written more than 20 technical papers. He received the Fachverband Schaumkunststoffe Gold Medal from the German plastic foam industry, was the first H.H. Dow Gold Medalist, and was only the sixth person to be promoted to Dow research fellow. Since his retirement in 1986 he invented a breathing and lung exercise device based on scientific similarities of the human lung cellulosic functions to the viscoelastic properties of open and closed cell foams. Rubens continues to work as a Dow consultant.Editor’s note: Election into the Plastics Hall of Fame is for those who have contributed to the development of plastics and the industry in the U.S. Criteria to qualify for nomination to the Hall include one or more of the following: a significant scientific, engineering, or equipment invention or breakthrough; development of an outstanding product, market, end-use niche, or business endeavor; long and valuable service to a segment, constituency, discipline, or association of the plastics industry; and a record of constructive, collaborative action with government, regulatory, academic, consumer, environmental, health, trade, and/or other industry-related groups. Up to nine living persons and five posthumous may be inducted every three years.If you’d like to attend . . .The 2000 induction ceremony and banquet, to be held Thursday, June 22 in the Grand Ballroom at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, will feature keynote speaker Frank Popoff, chairman of Dow Chemical Co., Midland, MI. A reception at 6:30 p.m. is followed by dinner at 7:30. Tickets are $125, or $1100 for a table of 10. Checks should be made payable to The Plastics Academy and sent to the attention of Michelle O’Donnell, SPE, 14 Fairfield Dr., Brookfield Center, CT 06805. For more information call (203) 740-5452.

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