On Being a Plastic Hall of Famer

Written by: Glenn L. Beall

Published on: January 1, 1997

Membership in the Plastics Hall of Fame (PHF) is the highest honor the Plastics Industry bestows on an individual. The final selection is made by the members of the PHF who assure and maintain the high membership qualifications. One only has to review the list of members to realize that PHF’ers are high achieving and major contributing people of distinction within the industry. Of the around 950,000 people in the Plastics Industry only 168 have been inducted into the PHF.

The Plastics Hall of Fame Awards are presented at a formal ceremony held during the Industries Tri-Annual National Plastic Exposition. Those being inducted cannot help but feel honored and somehow set apart from his or her peers. This feeling of importance is a part of all major award presentations. This sense of euphoria quickly fades and the award is forgotten until the following year when another recipient will be treated to a moment in the spotlight. By then, the previous year’s recipient is long since forgotten.

The Plastics Hall of Fame is different. It is a living award that stays with the recipient for life and beyond. The names of all PHF Members is printed in the program for each induction ceremony. All members of the PHF who are present are invited to take an active part in that ceremony. Plastics News Magazine publishes a picture and a biography of each new PHF member in their daily newspaper coverage of the Plastics Exposition. As the new PHF member walks the Exposition, friends will offer congratulations and say nice things. Some will ask for a selfie with their booth in the background.

Total strangers will smile and nod, others will ask if they can introduce you to their son or daughter. The kids will be proud of their dad because he knows a member of the PHF whose picture was on the cover of yesterdays Plastics News. After a while the new PHFer no longer walks the Exposition but is floating alone a few inches above the floor.

Over the next month or two other trade magazines will publish something about the new PHF’ers. Friends and business associates will send congratulations.

The induction ceremony and the National Plastics Exposition will be a very enjoyable ego trip, but it doesn’t end there. Every third year there will be another Plastics Exposition and another induction ceremony. The PHF’ers will be asked to wear their gold medal with its red, white, and blue ribbon and take part in the induction ceremony. A lot of people will be reminded of those few special people with the gold medals.

Plastic Hall of Famers also wear their medals to the Society of Plastics Engineers ANTEC Annual Banquet where they are asked to stand while their names are read and people clap.

The same introduction, standing, and applause takes place twice a year at meetings of the Plastics Pioneers Association.

The names of the PHF’ers are also recorded in a PHAF Exhibit at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

It takes many years to accumulate the required qualifications. Most members of the PHF are closer to the end of their careers than to the beginning. People are conditioned to and reluctantly accept the fact that they will not live forever. A select few take comfort in the realization that as long as there is a PHF they will not be completely forgotten.

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