Byron Nelson Memorial
"Golf Outing for Education"
by Bob Rajkovich

As an older member of the Golf Committee, it is my pleasure to tell you a little about the man we named our Golf Outing after. Byron Nelson always got a tee time at NCR Country Club. “I would pick-up the phone, this is Byron Nelson I need a tee time. I would show-up, people would look around and say where is he? I would pull out my NCR Retiree ID card and play golf”. He got the biggest kick out of that story.

Byron worked for NCR starting in the late 1930’s. He worked in the Research and Development Lab. They had all kinds of projects then, and with the war coming, more than they would know what to do with for several years to come. Plastics were fairly new. The people at different companies in town used to meet at the Engineers Club* in Dayton. They may be working on a project and asked to use some plastic to solve a problem. One guy would ask the next and eventually you would get an answer you could use to work on your problem.

Byron and several members of the Engineers Club decided to pool their knowledge and help each other out with problems, by meeting together and discussing materials with the salesmen. The Miami Valley Plastics Engineers was to have a first meeting at a Dayton Hotel in 1943.

People from many tooling and mold building companies, material sales people and Byron from NCR met to discuss how to get things going for this new plastics group. Their first “official” meeting was to be held at the Engineers Club, in Dayton. At this meeting they decided to add the Cincinnati area and “alternate monthly meetings” as part of the Charter. This would insure a good draw from each area.

Byron retired from NCR in 1972, and played golf, and took care of his wife, and went to SPE meetings. In 1980 when I met him, he didn’t like to drive at night all the way to Cincinnati, so I would pick him up and we would go to the Board Meetings and meeting, and drive home. The meetings in Dayton were two miles from his house, and until about 1985, he would drive that far, but that got to be too far at night, so I would pick him up for these meetings too.

I asked Byron what he had invented while at NCR. He said the “Old Man was patenting 100 items a week. We had a whole department to just file patents. I took up one of the keys from the cash register we were now going to make out of plastic. The painted letters were wearing off, so I came up with a two color two shot way of making the number and letter and molding the key around it. The guy in the patent office asked if this was something other people could do? I said yes once they see my technique. He said we don’t have time to patent it”. So they didn’t.

Byron was all about education. That is why I asked that we name the “Golf Outing for Education” after him.


SPE outlines its dramatic transformation"
By Clare Goldsberry of Modern Plastics Weekly (

Milwaukee, WI—Susan Oderwald, executive director for the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE; Brookfield, CT), in a press presentation at the 2008 ANTEC (May 5-8; Milwaukee, WI), noted that as SPE has experienced a “dramatic transformation” over the past few years—one that continues as the competitive environment for professional societies also changes—the SPE has made some changes in its business.
First, Oderwald said, the expanded use of partnerships and outsourcing will help SPE make better use of its limited resources. She noted, “SPE is a small, $6-million business operating on a global scale. It has neither the deep pockets nor unlimited expertise. In the past, professional societies focused staff and operations on activities such as publishing, events, and board management, while depending solely on volunteer resources for technical content. To a large degree, (in the past) professional societies competed with each other and not with major for-profit corporations. Today’s reality is different.”

Oderwald said that now SPE contends far more with global publishing houses and other online information providers, many of which have superior resources and global infrastructures. This is especially true in publishing and large-event management activities like ANTEC, the SPE’s annual technical conference. The partnership with Crain’s Plastics News to co-locate ANTEC with its PlasticsEncounter the past two years, and the plan to co-locate ANTEC 2009 in Chicago with the Society of the Plastics Industry’s NPE event, have and will continue “to produce positive and more consistent financial results for the SPE”, and “provide greater participation in SPE by a broader technical audience.”

With respect to publishing, SPE’s Plastics Engineering magazine now will be co-published by Wiley InterScience, which has co-published SPE’s journals for the past five years. “Under that arrangement, the profitability of the journals has increased by more than 300%,” said Oderwald. Additionally, readership, online availability, and the citing of SPE’s journals by other scholars have all seen substantial increases. SPE’s staff has been reduced by almost half, from 42 employees in 2001 to roughly 25 by the end of 2008, with the use of partnerships and outsourcing increasing by a factor of five.

Oderwald also said that the SPE plans new and different benefits for members, with the website, online technical library, online access to SPE’s technical journals, and online member directory being the most valued benefits implemented recently. In 2008-2009, SPE will be adding more technical benefits and content online, in response to member requests. For the first time, SPE’s entire library of journal articles from Polymer Engineering & Science and Polymer Composites, some of which date back almost 50 years, will be available to SPE members for free from Wiley InterScience.

SPE will also be adding a variety of online collaboration and publishing tools through which members can meet, confer, and collaborate with one another. Scientists and engineers around the world are experimenting with how these technologies can best serve the scientific community and the public, and standard protocols for how preliminary scientific findings are posted, shared and consumed on the web are very much in the developmental phase.

“SPE plays a central role in reviewing, publishing, and distributing scientific and engineering innovations throughout the global plastics industry,” said Oderwald. “Without more fervent support from companies and individuals for such activities, the industry runs the risk of losing public credibility. Activities such as ANTEC help maintain and improve our credibility by creating a more transparent opportunity for the vetting and distribution of new technologies within a system that works to protect the ownership of such advances.”

Josh Ullrich

Continuing the message for the 2007-2008 MVSPE year, I said we would provide more of what you joined the SPE for: Plant Tours, Networking, and Technical Content. Here’s how we’re doing so far:

More Plant Tours. We maxed out our attendance for the International Truck & Engine plant in Springfield, Ohio as part of the very first Composites on the Move Conference. The plant consists of 3 facilities, CAS (Cab assembly stamping), Paint facility, and Final Assembly. The plant produces medium duty platform trucks and utilizes various composite applications, including exterior panels, underhood and interior components. Thanks to Ed Zenk at Navistar/International for setting up this tour.

More Networking. We had over 30 people at our February meeting at our new home, Chantrells in Springboro, Ohio. The topic was a materials overview by William Trepka of BASF and we had an excellent turnout of molders, tool makers, and students and faculty from Shawnee State University! Also, many people from our Section will be making the trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for ANTEC 2008 from May 4-7. I encourage anyone looking for great new technical content to attend. Also, for the first time in several years, the MVSPE is proud to be sponsoring the attendance of two students from our section to attend ANTEC, Aaron Jones and Justin Crawford from Shawnee State University.

More Technical Content. The Composites on the Move Conference was held March 25th at the National Composites Center in Dayton. This marked the first collaboration between the NCC, the Composites Division of the SPE and the MVSPE. The conference was a huge success with higher than expected levels of sponsorship and attendance. The technical content was outstanding with speakers covering a wide range of topics relating to innovations in composite materials. If you missed it, please contact Teri Chouinard at or 810.797.7242 for conference literature and information.

Also, I’d like to ask the membership to help out the section with a couple of items:

  • Our Board of Directors is always looking for more volunteers. We have a few leadership positions available as well. Please let me know if you have an interest in serving your professional society in this way. It can be very informative and rewarding to be ‘on the inside’ of a group as diverse as the MVSPE. Contact any of our board members if you have interest in volunteering.
  • We are always in need of technical content and plant tours for our monthly meetings. If you have a new process or material or plant you’d like to show off, let us know! Please contact Tony Hoog, our program chair, at for more information.
  • The MVSPE once again participated in the Detroit Section’s annual Material Auction at the MGM Grand Casino on Friday, January 25th, 2008. Thanks to donations from Total Petrochemicals and JM Polymers, the MVSPE raised over $10,000 to benefit our Education Fund. We will be participating in this event in the future, so please begin to consider a donation for next year’s event. The MVSPE has a very high number of students and student chapters to support relative to our size, so any donation will make a difference. Please contact me for more information or to make a donation.

Lastly, I’d like to congratulate Bob Rajkovich for accepting the position as next year’s President for the MVSPE. This will be Bob’s second tour of duty. The last time Bob was President, Ronald Reagan was in the White House!

As always, please e-mail me at with any questions or comments. Thank you!