Planned Facility Visit and Discussion

by Phil Shoemaker

For those folks unfortunate enough to be involved in an aircraft incident there is an aphorism that states that if it still looks like an airplane when the parts stop moving, you’ll probably walk away.  I was reminded of that gem when surveying the membership numbers of our once-proud organization, which has been in descent for twenty-five years.  For a while it seemed that SPE membership generally would track the growth of the polymers industry, one doubling roughly every thirteen years.  In the early 1990s registration stood at 38,000, which would yield about 136,000 today.  But things changed in the mid-1990s, when enrollment slowed, then started its steady descent, standing today at 22,000.  I’m not convinced that the parts have stopped moving yet, but it’s undeniable that we came in for a hard landing.  Unsurprisingly, the declining membership corresponds with the development of the internet and its related on-line services—the world wide web in ’93, email, (first publicly available through CompuServe in ’95), then google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Information, contacts, machinery parts or materials, all can now be accessed without leaving the office, an undeniable gain in efficiency and convenience.  No surprise there—the replacement of one form of communication with one faster and more information-intensive has been going on for centuries.  The question now becomes how SPE might best serve the interests of our membership, given the undeniable gains the internet offers.

There are things the internet cannot offer, however.  In our case they are showing up as an incessant call for new hires, all kinds of training, and the knowledge that uniquely comes from tacit feedback and personal contact.  Occasionally, we find out how someone tackled the recruitment, knowledge transfer, and employee retention challenges.  So, as we begin the new SPE year, we’ll see if we can offer something useful—a chance to tour a facility and listen to the owner of Core Technology, Geoff Foster, reveal how he has addressed those thorny problems at his company.  He has, and will continue, to offer outreach and training efforts that we can all emulate, much to everyone’s advantage.  We’ll also update you as to the ideas that drive the SPE local events, and as always, solicit your feedback.  The particulars are:

Core Technology Molding Corporation

2911 Gate City Blvd.

Greensboro, NC 27401

September 19th, at 5:00 PM

Cost is $25.00 for members and $30.00 for non-members.

Hello to all Carolinians … except a few at the outer most rim of the realm! :)

Piedmont Section and Carolina Section have joined forces once again, much like at the beginning of history – at least that of our Section – that once even included Virginia. We do this to serve our members even better, as the Interstate Highway 85 in our common area is particularly busy and many of our members will benefit from networking and learning opportunities.


Stay healthy and above water! I am sure you all have had time to get somewhat used to the special circumstances around the virus coming from a place that must not be named. So I am not going to regurgitate all the tangent information here. However, as an instrument provider, we see that businesses are again starting to invest in new machines, and ask for on-site support. As businesses are getting back into the swing of things, remember that there will be a backlog for services and parts et al. So if you foresee a need for services or parts, better get a PO to your vendors asap, to be one of the first, and not one of the last ones serviced.

Also, while your management will have published special rules how to act now, be sure you follow those rules! Not only for your own sake, but you do not want to get into a position to defend yourself, if a litigation wave follows.

Our Section will is planning a zoom conference for our members. If you have suggestions for topics to be covered, please send us a note under “contact”. Thank you … hope to see you soon again!

Report – March 2020

Dear SPE members,

Thanks to you, we are one of the strongest local groups in the USA with over 200 members! It is our diversity in background that makes it possible to widen our horizons. When we meet and introduce ourselves, we network! This not only helps to promote you and your company as a brand, but helps all the others to learn about a valuable resource available in their immediate back yard. For sales and technical personnel, it is a must to participate, to learn what others are doing, where the trends move to and what the industry as a whole is doing. We welcome you to our meetings, we invite you to participate, to be active and if you are not, to at least send me a note what we can do to make it worth your while. In order to streamline our efforts and use SPE’s HQ resources, we have moved our website over to their microsite to give it a clean, fresh look and to make sure we are all up to date with the new green logo of SPE 🙂

Best regards,

Tim Haake

SPE Presidents Message – February 2020

Welcome to our new website!! We appreciate your interest in SPE Carolinas Section.

Hi, my name is Matt Piatek and I am the current president of the SPE Carolinas Section. Over the past several years, we have seen many changes at SPE and our local chapter. We are excited to have attracted many new members, refreshed the board with new faces and nurtured our cooperation with the new Clemson University student chapter.

In 2019 we had 40+ people attend the detailed tour of the Polymer Center in Charlotte. The presentation and tour of the Polymers Center highlights how the Polymers Center is a key force for Plastic Technology Industry Transfer in our region.

If you read this, but have not received our email blasts, please send me an email to Matt Piatek <>

I also challenge each of you to bring one colleague to our meetings and turn them into SPE members! The greater the number of attendees at our events, the more benefits we will get out of our networking.

Later this year, we will again hold our annual SPE Carolinas Golf Outing. Please inquire about sponsoring opportunities!

Thank you again for your interest and support in SPE Carolinas. With your help we can continue to increase attendance and add value to the technical as well as the social aspects of your life. 

Feel free to contact me anytime with questions, interesting ideas for events, offers of support and sponsorship.

Written by Tim Haake for Matt Piatek