Working together for success

by Deborah Ragsdale, Polymer Industries
IAPD President

s 2022 winds down, I’ve found myself reflecting on the events of the past year and starting to get excited about the year to come. This year has been characterized by a great deal of change in the association leadership and the performance plastics industry, but I can see us being stronger than ever, thanks to our relationships within the industry. These relationships are due, in part, to the dedication and commitment of members like you, the committee volunteers who do so much for the association and those who have stepped up to become members of the IAPD Board of Directors.

This upheaval means that, rather than stepping down as president at the convention in Tampa, I have been asked to serve a second term and will hand the proverbial baton to Peter DelGado, Curbell Plastics, Inc., at the convention in San Diego, CA, USA, in October 2023. I am looking forward to another year as president and feel that we can do anything if we all work together as a team. My speech at the convention in Tampa was titled “United We Stand,” and I truly believe that if we work together, we can overcome the many great challenges to the industry. Having strong relationships and trust in each other goes a long way toward allowing us to be united when faced with the issues so many of us contend with every day, such as labor challenges, industry reputation, legislative threats, the list goes on.

One challenge that we weathered as an association this year was a change in leadership. You might not realize this, but there are many new faces on the board. Thanks to a governance process developed several years ago, there is a transparent, documented way to bring new members on to the board. Following that process, the Nominating Committee collected nominations, reviewed candidates, looked at the open positions and proposed a slate of candidates to the board. The board ratified the nominations and a voice vote at the opening session of the convention approved them.

Next-level networking
When new board members and officers are elected, they visit the IAPD headquarters office in Overland Park, KS, USA, for two days of onboarding. During this time, they learn about all that IAPD does and how it operates. I have to say, it’s an eye-opening experience for them. As IAPD President, I’ve had the honor and privilege of joining several new board members for this experience, and I love the conversations we have, whether during the orientation itself, while meeting with staff or at dinners together.

Just about everyone who has been through board orientation will say, at some point, “I thought I knew what IAPD does, but I only knew part of it.” They also leave having created new relationships with the other new board members or deepened existing ones.

Serving on the IAPD Board of Directors is, in many ways, the ultimate relationship-building experience. You may be familiar with the other leaders in the industry but working side-by-side with them at the board level is, well, at an entirely other level. I encourage you to think about serving on the board at some point in your career.

This team works for you

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is SUCCESS.” In other words, let’s build and grow our relationships with others in the industry. Let’s be united in the face of threats to the industry. Because, if we stand united, we will overcome the issues we face today, tomorrow, and in the future.

I am optimistic about our ability to face the challenges of the industry because we have a solid team in place on the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, vibrant committees and a dedicated staff. It is gratifying to see the outcome of decisions made by the board turn into valuable resources to benefit all IAPD members. I hope you take a moment to visit the IAPD website and see all that is waiting for you there.

a list of the IAPD Board of Directors with accompanying headshots