Emeritus Director Status: A member of the Thermoforming Board of Directors who has actively served the board in the past and has supported the thermoforming industry.
Emeritus Director Status replaces current board member status and is granted for life. Emeritus Directors can be involved in all board activities including conference preparation and involvement with technical committees. Emeritus Directors continue to receive quarterly newsletters and all other Board of Director announcements and emails. Emeritus Directors are not required to attend board meetings and do not have voting responsibilities. Emeritus members are encouraged to be members of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). Qualified candidates are recommended through the Membership Committee and brought to the attention of the Executive Committee for consideration and approval.
Meet our current Emeritus Directors:
(Click to read bio)
Lola Carere has been a member of SPE since 1987. She has over twenty-five years of experience in the cut sheet custom thermoforming industry.
Lola served SPE as Secretary, Treasurer, Program Chair, President-Elect and President of the Southern Section. In 1988, she was assistant to the ANTEC General Chair. Lola served on the Thermoforming Division Board of Directors beginning in 1994 as Membership Chair, Sponsor Chair for the 1994 and 1995 SPE Thermoforming Conferences, Chair of the 1997 Conference, Chair-elect, Chair, and Prior Chair of the Board of Directors. She also served as Co-Chair of the 2012 SPE Thermoforming Conference held in Grand Rapids, MI.
In 2005, Lola was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Before retiring in 2013 to spend time with her family, Lola was the SE Account Manager for C&K.
Rich Freeman’s experience providing pressure formed products in the close tolerance, technically demanding, and highly competitive, environment of Silicon Valley has led to a number of thermoforming and design innovations. It has given him a unique perspective on production, quality, marketing, and design issues.
Over the last 40 years, Freetech’s products have won countless thermoforming and design awards. Freetech has also collaborated on the design of hundreds of products.
Rich’s articles, company, and products have been featured in Plastics Engineering, Appliance Manufacturer, Innovation, Machine Design, Plastics News, Mechanical Engineering, and International Designer magazines, to name a few. He is considered one of the founders of the “West Coast style” of thermoforming. Rich has been regularly featured on Thermoforming and IDSA Conference programs, both in the United States and in Europe, where he has addressed many issues important to designers and manufacturers over the years. His promotional efforts on behalf of the industry benefit not just Freetech, but thermoformers as a whole.
As fellow SPE Thermoforming Board Member Haydn Forward said, Rich forced us all to get better.”
Rich readily admits none of this would be possible without a dedicated and creative group of associates, several of whom have been with the company for 20-30+ years. Their enthusiastic support has allowed him to engage in a wide range of volunteer work, while keeping the company on the cutting-edge of the pressure forming industry.
In his 21 years as an SPE Thermoforming Division Board Member, Rich aided in the development of the SPE Thermoforming Conference as both a speaker and technical program organizer. Many of these conferences stressed the need for quality Improvement in the thermoforming industry.
The heater shootout and follow-on programs showed what did and didn’t work. The CAD-CAM Session in Independence, Ohio, alerted the industry to needed developments to stay competitive with other processes. His call to arms about poor quality equipment helped get us advancements in 5 Axis Routers our industry badly needed to move forward.
He developed and maintained the first three versions of the SPE Thermoforming Division website. By making critical information available online, the website gave thermoformers a vast pool of knowledge on a wide range of topics. This has helped accelerate acceptance of the thermoforming process worldwide.
He created the Thermoforming Division’s Machinery Grant program, which has placed equipment in over 25 schools. These thermoformers have been used to produce thousands of student designed parts, many of which have gone on to win national awards.
Rich started and continues to sponsor the IDSA Student Thermoformed Parts Competition, which encourages schools to use the equipment donated to them and teach design students the thermoforming process, develop future demand for our industry and its products.
Additionally, Rich has been an IDSA member since 1999 and has spoken on thermoforming at several IDSA National and Regional Conferences.
He organized the thee SPE Thermoforming Division exhibits at Industrial Designers Society of America Conferences. In 1999 at the IDSA Conference in New Orleans, the Division exhibited 60 products from 29 thermoformers. Two more major exhibits followed. This work was instrumental in getting thermoforming recognized as a viable process by the industrial design community. Rich has continued this on his own at IDSA over the last 16 years.
Although he now is concentrating on more non-industry volunteer work, Rich still serves as the Chairman of the IDSA Materials and Processes Section and is on the advisory board of the Silicon Valley Chapter of IDSA.
Steve Hasselbach has been an active member of the local NJ chapter of the Society of Plastics Engineers since 1983. Steve is president of CMI Plastics. CMI has been active in thermoforming for over 40 years. They currently have a mix of thin gauge roll fed and heavy gauge cut sheet equipment with pressure forming capabilities. Having grown up in the thermoforming industry, Steve has many years of hands-on involvement in the business. His expertise in the field has earned him several national awards for thermoformed parts.
He has lectured internationally on Thermoforming, Critical Device Packaging and GMP processes. Hasselbach has served the Thermoforming Division as Secretary, Chair Elect and Division Chair. As Past Chair he oversaw responsibility for the Appropriations Request and Review Committee. He has also chaired the Technical Program for the 1999 Thermoforming Division’s Fall Conference in Chicago.
|Donald C. Hylton||Show>|
Donald C. Hylton has been a scientist/engineer in the plastics industry since 1969.
In addition, Donald conducts research in Rheology, Extrusion, Thermoforming and Characterization at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. His efforts have led significant understanding of thermoforming. He has developed a new technique (Thermoforming Index) that measures and predicts thermoforming behavior of a sheet without the necessity of conducting a costly and time-consuming trial run. The industry is very excited about this new development.
He is a Fellow of the Society of Plastic Engineers. He has been a member since 1987 and has served on the Board of Directors. He developed the Board’s student affairs program and chaired the Division’s ANTEC technical program for many years. He is now a distinguished member emeritus on the Division Board of Directors.
Donald has published extensively on thermoforming including a book titled Understanding Plastics Testing. He also lectures annually on material behavior in thermoforming and extrusion. His most recent invited lectures were held at the 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) in Cincinnati, OH, and the 2013 Thermoplastic Polyolefin Conference in Detroit, MI. Additionally he presents at the Thermoforming Division Annual Technical Conference.
Donald’s work experience includes General Electric’s Plastics Application Center and ExxonMobil Polymer Development Center. His accomplishments include: development of polypropylene for thermoforming and blow molding, new test method development, process troubleshooting, technical service, quality systems implementation, ISO 900 Certification leadership, and management. His accomplishments resulted in new understanding of material behavior in thermoforming and characterization techniques that are widely used today.
Roger Kipp, recently retired after 45 years in foundry, tooling and plastics manufacturing, is currently providing Business Development Strategy consulting to clients nationally and internationally.
In 1994, Kipp joined McClarin Plastics in Hanover, Pennsylvania, as Vice President of Marketing & Engineering, developing the engineering-based marketing plan focused on metal to plastic conversions. With that plan, he made it a priority to be involved in the leadership of strategic and functional team initiatives that resulted in the rapid growth and success of the company. His energy was further directed in the plastics industry through his affiliation with various professional organizations.
Kipp was a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Thermoforming Division Board from 1992 through 2014. During his tenure on the Board, he served as Conference Chairman (1996), Conference Treasurer, Division Treasurer and Chairman. As a member of the Society, he currently is the Chairman of the SPE Foundation Board. The Society has honored Kipp with the 2002 Outstanding Achievement Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, the Honored Service Member Award in 2008 and the Thermoformer of the Year Award in 2010. In 2012, Kipp was inducted into the Plastics Pioneers Association, where he will continue his support of education.
With an interest in the future of manufacturing, Kipp has always had an affinity for education and has been instrumental in the development of plastics programs at vocational schools in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Kipp serves as a member of the Advisory Board and Strategic Planning Team for the Plastics Innovation and Resource Center (PIRC) at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, an affiliate of Penn State University. With his leadership support, the PIRC has successfully established the Thermoforming Center of Excellence, an industry-scale lab providing a resource for thermoform testing and innovation development projects.
Retirement has brought “re-wirement,” with a focus on business development. Kipp is serving as the Board Chairman for MANTEC, an affiliate of the federal Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP) and was appointed by Governor Rendell to the Board of the Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Centers in 2010. Business development requires a manufacturer’s alliance with education. With that vision, Kipp chairs the Society of Plastics Engineers Foundation, supporting education outreach through their PlastiVan program, scholarships and grants.
Gwen Mathis’ professional career in plastics and membership with SPE started in 1972 with Shenandoah Plastics in Rome, Georgia where she worked as Office Manager and Inside Sales. In 1974 she took a sales position at Alchem Plastics in Atlanta. After Alchem was sold to Spartech she stayed on as Account Manager until retiring in 1992. Soon thereafter she joined Primex Plastics and, after 25 years of a very successful career in sheet extrusion sales, retired for good in 1997.
During the majority of those 25 years, starting in early 1980 and beyond, Gwen was tirelessly active with the Thermoforming Division. She is distinguished as the first woman to serve on the Thermoforming Board of Directors and did so for 12 years. She was also elected Councilor and served as such for 12 years. During her reign as Membership Chair, Membership in the Division grew to 1,000. In 1985 she took over as Editor of the Quarterly and turned it into a 36 page, award winning publication until 2009. She chaired two Division Conferences: 1994 in Atlanta, which sold out, and 1998 in Nashville. She worked tirelessly as a volunteer on every conference until 2001, when she retired from the Board and assumed the role as Division Conference Coordinator through the end of 2012. Her service continues to this day as Executive Assistant to the Board.
A few hallmarks of her service to the industry include being involved in the formation of the European Thermoforming Division, being honored by SPE in 1985 as the first woman to receive the President’s Cup, and in 1999 she was presented with the Division’s highest award: the Lifetime Achievement Award.
(Click to read bio)
Art Buckel was one of the early pioneers in the Thermoforming industry. He first got into plastics manufacturing in 1950 when he began an apprenticeship in auto and bus interior trim. By 1963, following his U.S. Army service, he started his own factory in San Diego, California – SMI. Growth occurred rapidly and by 1972 SMI had transformed itself to exclusively focus on thermoforming, which included pressure forming of heavy gauge general parts and thin gauge packaging. A few of the many innovative SMI career highlights for Art include: the creation of a high tech quality assurance program that lead to awards for military contracts to build aircraft components and SMI’s ability to convert thermoformed components into ready to use parts by applying aluminum, rubber, composites, and screen printing.
Art’s health forced him to sell SMI in 1990 but his condition dramatically improved in retirement so he returned to the Thermoforming industry as a consulting engineer. Traveling around the world, Art was able to share his experiences and expertise to further advance the Thermoforming industry. After leaving such a huge impact, permanent retirement came in 2010 when his health problems returned.
Art Buckel additionally served the Thermoforming industry by his membership as a director of the SPE Thermoforming Division from 1987 to 2010. In recognition of his many accomplishments, he was selected for the Thermoformer of the Year Award in 1999. In 2011 he was honored by being elected as the first to be awarded Emeritus Director status.
Under the G.I. Bill, Stan Rosen attended University of Buffalo (NY) graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1951. After gaining working experience as a machine designer he settled in as the sole engineer at Tronomatic Corp., (New York City), a plastics machinery builder. In 1954, a client ordered a machine to heat seal a plastic blister to a card and this machine became popular in the packaging industry. The blister sealers drew the attention of various vacuum forming machinery firms to Tronomatic and they encouraged them to build steel rule die cutters. Stan designed and patented a self-contained air hydraulic intensifier power unit which provided the necessary force for steel rule die cutting of large area plastics shots. This line of sealers and die cutters nicely complemented thermoforming machines and soon Tronomatic developed their own vacuum former.
After having the experience of designing complete thermoforming systems, Stan established his own firm in 1965. It served niche portions of the thermoforming industry with machinery, molds and dies. In the late 1960s much of the custom thermoforming industry converted production from manual steel rule die cutting to inline form and trim for short to medium runs. There was an urgent need to keep tooling costs to a minimum for small quantities. Stan designed and patented a universal mold and steel rule press buildup that allowed multiple use for a wide variety of shot layouts.
Stan retired in 1992 and his son, Robert Rosen, assumed ownership of the firm Plastimach Corp. and redirected the focus to buying and selling used thermoformers.
In the early 1980s, the SPE Thermoforming Division was reactivated and Stan was invited to become a member of the Board of Directors. He was elected Chairman (1988-1990) and was Thermoformer of the Year in 1991.
Jim Armor joined SPE and the Thermoforming Division in 1960. He started his career in selling thermoplastic sheet in 1961. In 1965, He along with Milo Hanson started Alchem Plastics in California, then in Georgia, Texas, New Jersey and Missouri. He started co-extruding multilayer sheet in HIS, ABS, Polyethylene and Acrylic ABS sheet. These plants developed into a major sheet extrusion company. Alchem Plastics was sold to Spartech Plastics in 1980 and He remained as President of Alchem/Spartech until 1984. In 1985, he started Agile Enterprises (an extruder of Acrylic, Polystyrene and Propylene sheet) and was President until 1987. In 1987 he became President of Alplastic (a roll fed thermoformer and sheet Extruder) and remained there until 1991 when the company was sold. In 1991, he joined Primex Plastics as Western Regional Manager and National Marketing Manager. In June of 1998 he started Armor & Associates, selling thermoplastic sheet.
Jim was active for many years as a member of the board of directors, and served as Materials Committee Chairman several times. He delivered many talks to various SPE groups on various plastic sheet thermoforming applications. He was named Outstanding Board Member in 2003, and Emeritus Board Member in 2018.