SPE Foundation Board Focuses on Positive Plastics Education™ Initiatives

SPE Foundation Board

The SPE Foundation has recently made significant changes to its Board structure through the introduction of specialized Councils to enhance its focus and effectiveness in advancing the Foundation’s Positive Plastics Education™ initiatives. 

In 2022, the SPE Foundation Board developed a comprehensive plan outlining expectations for Board members, aligning their efforts with the Foundation’s needs, programs, and activities.  

New Operational Framework 

To complement these expectations and ensure the effective utilization of volunteer Board Members’ time, the SPE Foundation has established a new operational framework for the Board. The Board will continue to be led by a Chair, elected by the Board, a Vice Chair (most recent past President of SPE), an appointed Secretary, SPE CEO, SPE Foundation Chief Executive, and at-large, elected volunteers to the Board. 

“With expectations being set for the Foundation Board members to be Donor-centric, Ambassadors for Positive Plastics Education, and Spirited with Creativity & Drive, it was important to create a culture within the Board where those expectations could be facilitated and accomplished by each Board member based on the diverse skills and interest of our members,” said Matthew Harthcock, SPE Foundation Chair. “We’ve created four new Councils and brought one from SPE into a fifth Council – the DEI Council – to the Board structure.”  

Each Council will be chaired by a voting member of the SPE Foundation Board. These Councils will play a vital role in developing, executing, and modifying strategic goals to achieve both Council-specific and Foundation-wide objectives. 

  • Donor Development Council
    The Donor Development Council will leverage networks and leads to engage prospects, both corporate and personal, in the work of the Foundation with the goal of raising significant funding for the Foundation’s Positive Plastics Education programming. 
  • Stewardship Council
    The Stewardship Council will ensure that donors are recognized according to Foundation protocols (e.g., letters, press releases, public recognition ceremonies, donor levels reached). This Council develops recognition protocols to appreciate and inspire donors. 
  • Education Council
    The Education Council will provide input and actions to the Foundation’s staff for managing the details of the Foundations initiatives – e.g., PlastiVan®, scholarships, grants, and special initiatives like the patch program for Girl Scouts.  
  • Strategy Council
    The Strategy Council will assess and improve the Foundation’s strategic vision and roadmap in the plastics industry’s dynamic environment. 
  • DEI Council
    The DEI Council will assess and guide the Foundation in its vision, priorities, and goals as they relate to SPE’s mission to create an environment in which everyone is respected, valued, and has equal opportunities to develop, advance, and be heard. 

Expectations for Foundation Board members include:  

Taking a Donor-Centric Approach 

  • Engaging potential donors/sponsors with Positive Plastics Education 
  • Aiming for 100% board participation in giving 

Being Ambassadors for Positive Plastics Education 

  • Utilizing Positive Plastics Education messaging to form partnerships 
  • Connecting students for scholarships and PlastiVan programming 
  • Leveraging professional networks to share the Foundation’s work 

Spirited with Creativity & Drive 

  • Bringing fresh ideas for excellence and growth 
  • Dedicating efforts to advancing Foundation goal 

“The Councils play a crucial role in advancing the goals of Positive Plastics Education™ by actively engaging Board members in our vital mission. To truly fulfill our mission, our focus must revolve around acquiring and nurturing donors who are deeply committed to being a perpetual source of inspiration for our cause,” stated Harthcock. 

The newly structured board all met in person at ANTEC® 2024 this past March in St. Louis for the first time since 2017, furthering their commitment to supporting the Foundation’s mission. 

“Meeting in person helped us feel each other’s passion and dedication, which is vital inspiration to continue our work,” said Allison Larocque, SPE Foundation Board Member, and Process Development Specialist at Kuriyama Canada. 


Gregory A. Adams 

Gregory A. Adams, the founder of Adams Growth Advisory LLC, boasts over 36 years of international leadership at General Electric and SABIC. As the former VP of the Americas region for SABIC, he played a pivotal role in developing Ceer™, the first Saudi Arabian electric vehicle brand. Adams has held executive positions in global industry marketing and strategy, contributing significantly to the automotive sector. Beyond his corporate roles, he actively participates in engineering advisory boards and serves as an honorary director of STRIDE, an adaptive sports organization for individuals with disabilities. 

Lilian Agyemang-Yeboah 

Lilian Judy, a Ghanaian Plastics Engineering graduate from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, has a diverse background spanning packaging, films, specialty chemicals, and biotech/pharma. Currently a Life Science Applications Engineer at Entegris, Lilian advocates for women in STEM through her nonprofit organization, WEMO. She is a speaker, STEM content creator, and storyteller, using social media to inspire and empower young women in STEM. 

Doreen Becker 

Doreen Becker, Global Director of Sustainability at Ampacet, leads global sustainability initiatives and serves as Ampacet’s Sustainability Ambassador. With over 20 years of experience in plastics coloration, she holds a B.S. in Analytical Chemistry and an M.F.A. from New School University-Parsons. Doreen is a published author, holds more than ten international patents, and has been actively involved in the SPE board for over 10 years. 

Patrick (Pat) Farrey 

Patrick Farrey, CEO of SPE since June 2017, is a seasoned association executive with a background in global association management. He specializes in strategic planning, marketing, global expansion, membership development, and more. A Certified Association Executive (CAE), Farrey has played key roles in various association management firms and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. 

Brian L. Gibson 

Brian L. Gibson, with expertise in product development and management, has a diverse background in plastics, chemical, converting, and injection molding. A Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, he holds an Edison Patent Award and has core competencies in Design of Experiments, Intellectual Property Management, Quality Functional Development Analysis, and more. 

Matthew Harthcock, Ph.D. 

Dr. Matthew Harthcock, Founder and CEO of Solutions by Harthcock Associates LLC, brings over 32 years of leadership experience in the plastics industry. With a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, he has contributed significantly to research, development, and strategic planning. Dr. Harthcock is actively involved in various professional organizations, serving on advisory boards, and contributing to the advancement of the industry. 

Raj Krishnaswamy, Ph.D. 

Dr. Raj Krishnaswamy, Vice-President of Polymers R&D and New Business Development at CJ Biomaterials, brings over 20 years of polymers R&D experience. Recognized as a Fellow of SPE, he holds numerous patents, publications, and awards, contributing significantly to the field. 

Allison LaRocque 

Allison LaRocque, a Process and Development Specialist at Kuriyama Canada, is dedicated to exploring new applications and guiding process improvement initiatives for hose and tubing. With a background in chemical engineering, Allison is passionate about making workplaces more inclusive for everyone. 

John Paul Massi 

John Paul Massi, Employee Experience Specialist at M. Holland Company, focuses on organizational development, employee engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Actively involved in various committees and boards, he brings over 10 years of experience in nonprofit development and governance. 

Albert McGovern 

Albert McGovern, a retired Mechanical Engineer, and Director, boasts 44 years of experience in product and part design across various industries. Actively involved in charitable and non-profit organizations, he is dedicated to supporting future designers and engineers. 

Lynzie Nebel 

Lynzie Nebel, Upstream Quote Engineer for Cytiva, manages product costing for custom upstream hardware equipment. With a background in Plastics Engineering Technology, she has been actively involved in SPE and various leadership roles, advocating for diversity and inclusion. 

Leslie O’Leary, Ph.D. 

Dr. Leslie O’Leary holds dual roles as Senior R&D Leader for High Pressure Copolymer Product R&D and Strategy Leader at Dow’s Packaging and Specialty Plastics and Hydrocarbons R&D organization. With a Ph.D. in Chemistry, she has been recognized for her leadership, innovation, and contributions to inclusion and diversity programs. 

Sherrika Sanders, Ph.D. 

Dr. Sherrika Sanders, Technical Services Manager for Manner Polymers, brings over 25 years of experience in the polymer field. Recognized as a “Hidden Figure of Dallas” for her contributions, she actively contributes to the plastics industry. 

Saurav S. Sengupta, Ph.D. 

Dr. Saurav S. Sengupta at Dow focuses on new product innovation and process development for formulated polymers. With 17 granted patents and extensive industry contributions, he plays a key role in advancing Dow’s research and development. 

Laura Shereda, Ph.D. 

Dr. Laura Shereda, Senior Polymer Scientist at Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, leads product development and R&D efforts. With a strong commitment to SPE and active involvement in the Detroit Section Board of Directors, she contributes significantly to the plastics industry. 

Matt Urfali 

Matt Urfali, global VP of Sales & Marketing at DuPont’s Tedlar® business unit, is recognized as one of the Top 100 Global Sales Leaders. Committed to continuous learning and excellence, he brings extensive experience in sales, marketing, and mentoring. 

Eve Vitale 

Eve Vitale, Chief Executive at the SPE Foundation, leads initiatives supporting the development of plastics professionals through educational programs, grants, and scholarships. With a background in mechanical engineering, she actively contributes to STEM education and the PlastiVan® program. 

Keisha Bishop Walters, Ph.D. 

Dr. Keisha Bishop Walters, Department Head and Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, brings over 25 years of experience in the polymer field. Committed to research, education, and outreach, she serves on advisory boards and is a Fellow of SPE. 

Stephen Zamprelli 

Stephen Zamprelli, VP of Engineering & Product Development at Formed Plastics, has over 20 years of experience in designing and manufacturing plastic products. Actively involved in the SPE Thermoforming Division, he is dedicated to promoting and educating the next generation in plastics through the SPE Foundation. 

By Plastics Engineering | May 23, 2024

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