Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
By Steve Petrakis, President, Frigel North America Inc.
As a businessman for the past 33 years – and as a longtime plastics industry employee and member of SPI – I’ve seen the tide of public opinion turn towards and away from many products over the years. I remember when plastic was dubbed the wonder material for being lighter, cheaper, stronger and more durable than alternative materials. Today, plastics make cars lighter and more fuel-efficient, medical devices more innovative, and safety equipment more affordable. But plastic products are also at the center of many environmental conversations taking place today and nice things are not always being said about our industry.
It is important, therefore, for people in the industry to be informed of the conversations taking place, and to tell their own stories. This is why the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and SPI teamed up to develop the Plastics Ambassador Program. This new program is designed to educate and mobilize individuals within the plastics industry to discuss the benefits of plastics in their local communities.
Launched in early 2009 as a pilot program in three states (California, Illinois and Texas), the Ambassador Program features an online portal – including a social networking site, blog and other resources for active Ambassadors. Already, as a part of the program, I placed an op-ed in the Illinois Daily Herald about the benefits that plastics bring to the baseball field in celebration of Major League Baseball's opening day. I also participated in a Career Fair held by the Barrington, Illinois school district for high school students in the area. Over 2,000 high school students attended, and every one we talked to was surprised to hear that plastics is the third largest industry in the U.S.
This June, at NPE 2009, the Plastics Ambassador Program will launch nationally. The program is open to employees of SPI member companies with a passion for plastics and the drive to communicate its benefits. If you’re interested in the Plastics Ambassador Program, please visit the SPI booth at NPE, or contact Al Damico, the Ambassador Program contact at SPI.