Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
It with great sadness that I inform you today that attorney Jerome Heckman, a legend in our industry, passed away last night. SPI’s association with Jerry Heckman spans nearly 60 years. His law firm, Keller and Heckman, continues as counsel to SPI today.
Jerry Heckman had a tremendous impact on the plastics industry, and will be remembered as one of the most influential people our industry has ever known. His work with resin manufacturers, processors, regulatory agencies and legislators is responsible for much of the growth that several sectors of our industry have enjoyed over the last 50 years.
Jerry began work for SPI in1954 when Federal Communications Commission rules threatened to impact the use of radio frequency heating used in the plastics industry
at that time. In the later part of the 1950s, Heckman’s work for SPI began to involve ever more issues concerning plastics packaging materials and Food & Drug Administration regulations. He was instrumental in the formation of SPI’s Food Drug & Cosmetic Packaging Committee in 1957.
Jerry Heckman’s tremendous service to the plastics industry has not gone unrecognized. He was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1986. He received the first Bradbury award for outstanding contributions to the plastics packaging industry from the SPI Color Additives and Compounders Division in 2000. That same year, the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition awarded Jerry the Directors Special Citation Award. In 2007 he was inducted into the Packaging Industry’s Hall of Fame.
Looking to the future, Jerry had great optimism for our industry. In 2012, in a letter congratulating SPI on
our 75th anniversary, he seemed to pass the torch to all of us to continue on a path of innovation and growth for the industry he served so faithfully:
“I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to contribute since I started in 1954. It’s been a challenging trip walking through the years with you and helping where I could. Now SPI and the new generation of plasticians can take up the cause and fill the world marketplace with the results of new breakthroughs and progress. We came, we saw, and we did our very best, but now it’s your turn to make the future even brighter…”
Jerry Heckman will be missed and his service to the plastics industry should be celebrated.