Let’s Disrupt The Status Quo

This article is Peter DelGado’s incoming president’s speech, delivered at the 67th IAPD Annual Convention in San Diego, CA USA, October 23 – 26, 2023.

by Peter DelGado, Curbell Plastics, Inc.
Incoming IAPD President 2023 – 2024


’m Peter DelGado, Senior Director of Sales and Customer Service at Curbell Plastics, and your current IAPD Vice President.

I’d like to take a just a minute to let you know a little about me.

I’ve been with Curbell for 37 years and have held many different roles. Those experiences have allowed me to wear a lot of different hats now and, as Keith Hechtel referenced yesterday, become the “Director of Getting ‘Stuff’ Done.”

It has also allowed me to work with so many awesome people at Curbell, especially our Senior Management Team, most of who are here this week. Thank you for being such a great team, and some of my best friends.

I’ve also been privileged to work with so many of you in this room over the years, both in business and with IAPD, and have developed some great friendships. I’ve learned a lot from so many of you. Thank you for all of your support.

headshot of Peter DelGado
I started when our industry was still the “wild, wild west”, as many of you may remember, and have seen so many changes over the years … and I know there’s many more coming.

On the personal side, I’m happily married for 31 years to my amazing wife Melanie. Those who know me well understand why she probably deserves an award for that.

We have three children in their 20s who are all out of college and actually contributing to society now. They were all Division 1 college swimmers, so Melanie and I spent many years heavily involved with various swimming pools and organizations, and smelling like chlorine.

When we’re not visiting them in New York City or South Carolina, we enjoy traveling , especially if it’s combined with seeing live music. I’m always happy to talk about concerts with you.

In my years as a member of IAPD I have served in many different volunteer roles. I served previously on the IAPD Board of Directors, have been the chair of the Membership Committee for a number of years, and have been a part of many other committees, task forces and working groups. Every one of them has benefited me, and I hope I’ve been able to benefit IAPD.

Tomorrow after midnight, I will be your president of IAPD. Thanks to all of you who offered congratulations and wished me luck over the past few days. Some of you have said “you’ll do a great job,” but I can’t do anything without all of the people in this room. I feel I’m pretty good at energizing a group of people, and I hope I’m able to do that over the next year to work on some of what I’m going to talk about this morning.

I’ve learned that IAPD, like the performance plastics industry, is constantly changing, and that is a good thing. Our industry trade association should be reflective of the market it serves and focus on those things that are most important to you, our member companies.

IAPD delivers value to its members through its member programs, products, and services – its key initiatives.

The board determines those key initiatives by its strategic plan – the Three Pillar Strategy.

The current Three Pillar Strategy was developed in 2016, and in yesterday’s Opening General Session Video, as well as at the IAPD program and committee table tops outside of the trade show, you learned about the great work accomplished by the committees, task forces, and staff. All of this comes from the current Three Pillars Strategy. Thank you for all your great work.

Now, it’s time for us to look at our strategy and make sure that it still has the most important Priorities for our members.

As the Board discussed what comes next, we decided to launch the IAPD Board Strategy Task Force earlier this summer.

Task Force members include:

  • Peter DelGado, Curbell Plastics (Chair)
  • Jim Richards, PLASKOLITE
  • Bill Barth, Piedmont Plastics
  • Drew Schwartz, Colorado Plastics
  • Chris Corona, CartierWilson LLC
  • Ken Schwartz, Covestro LLC – Specialty Films
  • Susan Avery, IAPD

Thank you to the Task Force for their work on this project so far.

When we first got together we knew that we didn’t have all the answers, so we wanted to reach out to a wider group for their input. To start, the task force conducted a study and asked current and past board members, as well as some member company leaders, the following questions:

Click to watch the Workforce Development video series:

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  • What are the top challenges and/or opportunities for your business that you feel IAPD can help with?
  • What do you believe should be the top initiatives that the IAPD Board and Committees should focus on for our members?
  • What current IAPD initiatives or programs need to be improved, and how can we improve them?
  • What else do you want to tell us?

We received an excellent response on this survey. Thank you to those of you who participated.

Here is what they told us:

First and foremost, we heard about the need for guidance and leadership in attracting, recruiting and retaining talent.

Recently, The Workforce Development Task Force worked on the three-part video project, which was launched in 2022. The first and second videos focus on career opportunities in skilled trades and professional careers in the performance plastics industry. The third video promotes applications and sustainability benefits of performance plastics.

Additionally, the task force completed the Best Practices for Attracting, Recruiting and Retaining Skilled Trades. These are all valuable resources for our member companies.

This was all a great start, but our survey tells us that you want more effort here, and we will continue to focus on this as a top priority.

The next most frequent feedback we heard is that the industry conversation needs to move beyond basic recycling and to a larger conversation on sustainability.

IAPD industry leaders shared that:

  • Their customers care about the sustainability practices of their suppliers.
  • Their employees want to work for companies with a commitment to sustainable practices.
  • Their government is going to eventually force them into circular economies or make them pay heftily for the materials they are not able to recapture that end up in landfills.

All of these are threats going forward.

Performance plastics industry leaders want, through IAPD, to:

  • Develop a sustainability strategy.
  • Build industry consensus.
  • Promote the industry’s sustainability agenda and the environmental benefits of performance plastics.
  • Correct the misconceptions about performance plastics to the public, and to our leaders in Washington, DC.
Speaking of Washington, DC, the third most important topic on the mind of our industry leaders is having a voice in Washington, D.C.

IAPD’s Government Relations and Legislative Advocacy Program has been, and continues to be, one of the top priorities for our industry.

IAPD launched its GR program in 2013. Prior to 2013, we used to rely on others to be our voice. For the last 10 years we built a program that we can be proud of, successfully navigating through and fighting off harmful legislation. We have been on the defensive for a long time.

IAPD Board Strategy Task Force

headshot of Peter DelGado

Chair Peter DelGado, Curbell Plastics

headshot of Jim Richards

Jim Richards, PLASKOLITE

headshot of Bill Barth
Bill Barth, Piedmont Plastics
headshot of Drew Schwartz

Drew Schwartz, Colorado Plastics

headshot of Peter DelGado

Chair Peter DelGado, Curbell Plastics

headshot of Jim Richards
Jim Richards, PLASKOLITE
headshot of Bill Barth
Bill Barth, Piedmont Plastics
headshot of Drew Schwartz
Drew Schwartz, Colorado Plastics
headshot of Chris Corona

Chris Corona, CartierWilson LLC

headshot of Ken Schwartz
Ken Schwartz, Covestro LLC– Specialty Films
headshot of Susan Avery

Susan Avery, IAPD

headshot of Chris Corona

Chris Corona, CartierWilson LLC

headshot of Ken Schwartz
Ken Schwartz, Covestro LLC– Specialty Films
headshot of Susan Avery

Susan Avery, IAPD

Our industry leaders feel that we have been doing a pretty good job, but we could be doing more. The IAPD leadership also agrees.
Peter DelGado speaking on stage
To our committees, task forces, councils and staff … Get ready to really rethink what we do, and what we work on.

Earlier this year, the IAPD Board and Government Relations Committee made a big change in our program, and we changed our Washington, D.C. government relations firm. Representing us now is OGR, formerly known as Ogilvy Government Relations.

With us this week, and presenting this afternoon during the educational break-out session, is Con Lass and Gordon Taylor from OGR. They will be leading the industry discussion on our legislative agenda in D.C., so please join us for the educational session this afternoon.

Our industry’s sustainability and governmental advocacy agenda are two strategic issues that are interrelated and will be worked on together.

Given the feedback from our industry leaders, the Board Strategy Task Force presented our ideas to the IAPD Board on Monday.

OGR Principals

headshot of Gordon Taylor; headshot of Conrad Lass

Gordon Taylor

Conrad “Con” Lass

I am pleased to present the draft of the updated Three Pillars Strategies and Priorities. (See the plan below.)

You’ll notice that our three pillars remain the same:

  • To Grow and Advocate for the performance plastics industry.
  • To improve the Knowledge, Performance and Capability of IAPD members.
  • And to make the Distribution Channel the path of choice.

Based on the survey feedback it seems we’ve been on the right track. What has changed a bit is the Priorities under each pillar.

Our next steps on this will be to:

  • Develop our sustainability strategy.
  • Update our Key Initiatives that support our priorities by working with our current and refreshed committees and task forces.

Some of the new Key Initiatives will be reflected in 2024 operating budget and some will be proposed later in 2024, as new task forces have time to make plans.

The success of IAPD has always been based on taking a fresh look at the issues that face our industry as we grow and change.

One more thing that we are hoping to take a fresh look at was developed in 2015 by the Distributor and Manufacturer Councils. Bill Barth did a nice job pulling together two groups with very different ideas and coming up with a list of Competencies and Expectations for both Distributors and Manufacturers. We will be taking a look at that again this year.

To our committees, task forces, councils and staff …

Get ready to really rethink what we do, and what we work on.

We should focus our efforts on those things that are most important to our member companies – those key initiatives that will advance our industry and drive member value.

Let’s disrupt the status quo. We need to change what we’re doing.

In closing, I would like thank you for your confidence in electing me as your President for the upcoming year.

We have a really strong Executive Committee and Board of Directors. I am so energized to be working with them. We also have so many amazing and engaged volunteers. Some of you are on our committees, task forces and councils. Others step up for programs, webinars, articles and so much more. I’m so privileged to work with all of you.

If you’re in the audience and have volunteered at IAPD in any of these ways, please stand up. Thank you!

If you’re standing and want to get more involved, or involved in different things, please talk to us. If you didn’t stand up, and your interested or passionate about any of the top priorities I covered today, please talk to me and we’ll find a place for you get involved.

Also, please join me once again in thanking Deborah Ragsdale one more time for her two years as our president.

And lastly, I’d like to recognize the amazing staff we have working for all of us here at IAPD. You hear us thank the staff often, but as I’ve worked closer with them over the past year I’ve seen first-hand how much great work they do and the passion and energy they have our association and our members.

Thank you!

IAPD logo

IAPD Strategic Plan

Mission Statement:
Expand the market for performance plastics through collaboration, education and a commitment to sustainability; promote distribution as the way to market.

IAPD Strategic Plan diagram