Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
It is fortunate that Jon Huntsman, Jr. was able to accept SPI’s invitation to deliver the keynote address at the Opening Gala of the NPE2012 international plastics expo on April 1st in Orlando, FL. Rarely does a person suit his assignment so well, his roots in the plastics business being but one among many reasons to say that. (The Washington Post enjoyed SPI’s choice of Huntsman as well!)
He has been active since 1981 in the chemicals and plastics business of Huntsman Corporation, the company founded by his father, Jon Huntsman, Sr., in 1970. He held the post of CEO for some time and currently is a member of the board of directors.
Huntsman is a plastics industry insider then, but he also is much more. His skills and experience span global commerce, international trade alliances, mission critical diplomacy, and political governance. What is most interesting is that every aspect of his multifaceted career in some way touches the daily lives of the plastics industry professionals that will form his audience that evening.
His most recent diplomatic posting as U.S. ambassador to China is vitally relevant, of course. Previous to his Beijing posting he also served as ambassador to Singapore and held appointments of increasing responsibility from four U.S. presidents. During his tenure as U.S. Trade Ambassador, one of several U.S. Dept. of Commerce posts, he negotiated or brokered dozens of trade agreements, including those with China, Taiwan, and India.
Huntsman’s role in the 2001 global trade negotiations in Doha, Qatar was a critical one, guiding the entry of both Taiwan and China into the World Trade Organization. With Chinese and Taiwanese leaders in the same room, the highest level of diplomacy was essential. Surely it helped that Huntsman had lived in Asia several times in his life and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
He is often addressed as Governor Huntsman, an honor given to him twice by the citizens of Utah. He was a founder of the Pacific Council on International Policy and held senior positions at the Brookings Institute, Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum, Asia Society, and National Bureau of Asian Research.
All that is more than enough reason to expect an outstanding keynote address, but Gov. Huntsman has another very particular reason to inspire the audience in Orlando.
The Opening Gala is a formal event that, besides the keynote address, includes a reception, banquet, and the induction ceremony honoring ten new members of the Plastics Hall of Fame. Jon Huntsman, Sr. was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame during NPE 1994. I don’t know for certain that Jon Huntsman, Sr. will be in the audience, but I will call it likely. Father and son have good cause to celebrate each other’s achievements.
More reasons to celebrate: SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and the Plastics Hall of Fame is celebrating its 40th anniversary. See you in Orlando!
P.S. A complete schedule of NPE2012 events can be found at www.npe.org. The opening gala takes place at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel near the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, from 6:00 to 9:45 p.m. on April 1, 2012. For individual or group ticket sales and sponsorships, contact Tiffany Freud at email@example.com or 1-202-416-4653.