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European ThermoformingConferenceI have just returned from Italy(Mestre, a suburb of Venice), wherethe SPE European ThermoformingDivision board held its meeting toconfirm that the NH Laguna PalaceHotel in Venice Mestre will be thevenue for the next SPE EuropeanThermoforming Conference, on 26and 27 April 2012.This modern hotel (www.nh-hotels.it) is just a short distance fromVenice. A short taxi ride takes you tothe water transport center on theGrand Canal. It is an ideal place for aconference, and Venice, of course, is acity full of wonders to explore.The decision to go to Italy wasbased on our previous experience-the Thermoforming Conference inViareggio in 2004. Over 260 peopleattended then, and it introduced theSPE European ThermoformingDivision to the Italian thermoformingindustry. Since then, we have alwaysattracted a large number of supportersfrom that region.Two members of the board areItalian manufacturers-a thermo-former and a toolmaker. In fact, theboard is very diverse, with membersfrom all across Europe: UK, Sweden,Denmark, Holland, Germany, France,Belgium, Austria, Spain, Italy, and theCzech Republic. This diversity is reflected in the var-ious speakers that have been invitedto make presentations at the confer-ence. They are from France,Germany, UK, Belgium, Denmark,and Italy, and from the USA.The theme of the conference is"Back on Track"; and we believe thatthe current issues faced by all mem-bers of the plastics industry need tobe addressed. Our opening speakerwill be Mr. Wim Devoss, chief execu-tive officer of the Vitalo Group, alarge global thermoformer with plantsin Europe and Asia. We are fortunatethat Mr. Devoss has accepted and willbecome the Chair of SPE EuropeanThermoforming Division Board fromMay 2012 to May 2014.Another speaker will be Mr. PeterDavis, director general of the BritishPlastics Federation, who will speak onthe futures market in plastics that istrading at the London StockExchange. We will also have speakerson design, manufacturing techniques,recycling, and bioplastics-a verydiverse and interesting program. Theprogram will be placed on the SPEEuropean Thermoforming Divisionwebsite page shortly (www.e-t-d.org).EUROTECTI would also like to remind you aboutEUROTECT in Barcelona, 14-15November 2011. The link betweenthe SPE European ThermoformingDivision and EUROTEC is that theDivision will be holding a full day ofpresentations on thermoforming: onehalf day devoted to thin-sheet andone half day to thick-sheet.In fact, the whole of SPE has gottenbehind EUROTEC, and a large num-ber of people have submitted papers.At last count, we had over 200papers/presentations submitted,which is a tremendous achievement.There are also plenary speakersfrom SABIC, A. Schulman, Ticona,and Nokia. You can see the programby going to the linkhttps://www.4spe.org/sites/default/files/eurotec11-advprog-prelim.pdf.We will hold the fall (autumn)Council meeting in Barcelona on theweekend before the conference. Thisis a very important meeting, as therewill be the presentation and approvalof the new budget and the election ofofficers for the various positions inSPE Governance. The elections arefor President-elect, Senior VicePresident, Vice President, and Chairof the CCOW (Council Committeeof the Whole). This year I have beenChair of the NominationsCommittee, and I have seen a verystrong list of candidates; a veryimpressive group of SPE membershave put their names forward for con-sideration.Susan OderwaldI would like to speak now aboutSusan Oderwald, SPE ExecutiveDirector. As you all now know, Susanis leaving SPE after eleven years. Shejoined SPE as Deputy ExecutiveDirector in 2001 and becameExecutive Director in 2004.Susan said in her statement that theperiod of time she has spent at SPEhas been very rewarding, and ofcourse she mentioned a number ofchallenges that she encountered dur-ing that period.This is an understatement. As youall well know, SPE had a difficultKen Braney's monthly look at SPE's activitiesKen Braney, SPE Past PresidentSPEnews roundupBY KEN BRANEY46| PLASTICS ENGINEERING | OCTOBER 2011 | www.4spe.org

time when the financial position wasnot strong. Susan was instrumental inputting together plans that not onlygreatly enhanced our financial situa-tion but also enabled the sale of theheadquarters at a price that wasremarkable during a recession. Wewere able to dispose of a building thatneeded a lot of maintenance andupkeep; and thus we were able toreduce dramatically the cost of officespace. Since moving to our new head-quarters building in Newtown,Connecticut, USA, we have been ableto bank the money received from thesale of the old building and leave it ondeposit to accrue interest for long-term stability.Susan also was instrumental in set-ting up the SPE European Groupwith Karen Winkler, Tim Womer,andme, and if she does not mind admit-ting, she, in conjunction with Timand Karen, also got me on board toserve in SPE Governance. As areminder of the start-up of SPEEurope, I have added a photo here ofthe SPE European Board in January2006. The photo shows most of theoriginal members, with the exceptionof Karen Winkler and Tim Womer.Susan has made a tremendousimpression on SPE, both internallyand with all the volunteers; it hasbeen a great pleasure to work along-side her, and she will always have aspecial place in the history of SPE.She has talked about new challengesthat she looks forward to in thefuture, and based on her history, noone can doubt she will certainly meetthem successfully.Ken Braneykbraney@4spe.orgwww.4spe.org | OCTOBER 2011 | PLASTICS ENGINEERING | 47SPE Europe Board, January 2006. Front row, left to right: Alain Dirven, Susan Oderwald, Bernhard Peters, Jan Spoormaker,Yetty Pauwels. Back row, left to right: Romeo Cociancich, Peter Farren, Ken Braney, Jean-Marie Liegeois, St├ęphane Morvan.