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Altruism. It is all about altruism! Let’s face it, there are those among us who are altruists at heart. We look at every opportunity to participate in such an endeavor with an eye on the betterment of society, or in our case, the industry at large.

Yes, the overarching goal of the Mold Technologies Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers is working towards the betterment of our industry. We are interested in passing the baton to the next generation of mold making/mold design and mold repair technicians with excellence in:

  • Training Systems
  • Training Materials
  • Clear Career Paths
  • Pride in a Craft that touches quite literally everything in the marketplace before it reaches the marketplace

The bottom line is that for the altruist at heart, leaving the place better than you found it is rewarding enough and answers the nagging question “What’s in it for me?” However, we aren’t all altruistic? So, the question begs on and on and on.

We pull together as leaders encouraging one another daily to reach the next goal, develop the next big thing, and work alongside other leaders to better the industry.

Industry Notoriety 

Some of us have a healthy ego, and we see board participation as a means to feed that ego. Yes, the beast that lives within does need to be fed, and yes, this may be a method to provide the needed foodstuffs.

How? Well, let us think about it for a few minutes. As a member of Division Leadership, your ideas, and insights matter. That’s not to say that as a member at large, they don’t. Think about it. Where can your input have a greater influence regularly? Where can you gain recognition from your peers regularly–the board of directors.  Where can you climb through the ranks to become the Chair of the Board and set the leadership agenda for a 1- or 2-year term? That’s right, the board of directors. And what feeds an ego better than all that recognition? NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING!!!

Just imagine how fat your ego can get on a healthy diet of warm fuzzies that will carry you forward for a lifetime. (I know, I get ego strokes often, and my ego likes them.)

Immediate Recognition as an Industry Leader

Well, if you see my e-mail signature, you will notice that I place my membership on this board as a “Valued Item.” Why? Well, your e-mail goes out to people of all walks and stripes—from molders to product Engineers to sourcing directors to vice presidents of corporations and everyone in between.  Also, when you place your membership on a Board of Directors front and center, guess what? It gets noticed in a BIG WAY.  Your membership and display of membership give you newfound credibility. That is instant recognition as being someone who can speak to the issues – someone who has developed the technical skills to do the job and the network of professional associates to provide technical resources when you reach your depth and need help.

Leadership Training

Then there is the leadership thing – employers look at leadership as a key metric when assessing team members for future development. Can Henry effectively lead a cross-functional team? How is Sally driving a team to proper root cause analysis and corrective actions? Those activities require strong leadership, and folks, that is something we give away as our members move through the various roles. What an experience…

We look for members with any leadership experience. For those with little to no leadership experience, we put them on a course of leadership. We pull together as leaders encouraging one another daily to reach the next goal, develop the next big thing, and work alongside other leaders to better the industry.

That, my friends, is the kind of relational resource you build by participation on a board of directors.

Did I Mention Resources?

Besides the altruistic response, industry recognition, immediate public recognition, and leadership training, what could be better than a new network of industry resources?

Sure, we all have access to the Membership Directory of the Society of Plastics Engineers. BUT and that IS A BIG BUT! Can you, out of the blue, reach out to the membership (any part of the membership) on a personal basis for technical assistance and KNOW that they will respond?

We all have our circle of associates. We all know people, and they all want to help, but if your circle is anything like mine, I will lay odds that most folks in it have similar experiences to yours in business.

Here is a short story to illustrate the depth of relationships developed over time and enhanced by serving on our board of directors.

Recently I took a position as the Tooling Manager for a company that produces plastic parts. That is not so uncommon; you might be thinking. After all, I have been in the plastics industry for 45 years. This position is a bit different on a couple of fronts:

  1. The products are larger than any I have worked with in the past. I mean 1-to-2-pound shots on single cavity consumer products large.
  2. The molding resin is different than most that I have had experience running, and it doesn’t like to be pushed over long flow lengths without a lot of gate blush. Plus, the stuff sticks to everything, including the sprue bushing, cavity steel, core steel, and well, you get the idea.

So here is the best part, there aren’t a lot of molders (or mold makers) that have deep experience with this resin, so we are all “trail blazers” of sorts. We are endeavoring to go where no person has gone before with this material. Let me tell you, the journey is tough!

On this particular day, we are in the molding room pushing and prodding the press, almost begging, for just one good part—one run of five consecutive shots on which we can build a process and move to production. But we are getting nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE FAST! That is when I remember that I have a relationship with a Materials Engineer from years gone by. We had worked together on the Student Activities Committee for an ANTEC, and he knows this material. What do I do? What any Tooling Manager at the end of his or her rope does, I spun him up on the telephone and asked for HELP!!!

Guess what, there we were, five engineers in a conference room huddled around my cellphone, asking questions and getting guidance. It wasn’t just theoretical guidance; it was REAL-WORLD EXPERIENTIAL GUIDANCE.  It was the kind of guidance that you know comes from having been there and done that. And it paid off!

That, my friends, is the kind of relational resource you build by participation on a board of directors. By the way, today the molds are running production, and we, all 5 of us. We have a new friend and resource that we didn’t have two months ago.

You, too, can be developing resource relations with other like-minded leaders/practitioners of our industry. The folks that work on our board share your desire as leaders to better the industry. They have a wealth of experiences from which to draw information – technical in the trenches information. They are willing, no desiring, to share it openly and freely.


And with the complexion of today’s board, I am making new friends and re-kindling old relations—and I know that as I sit here, they will do the same for me as I am willing to do for them. Be a FRIEND.


Ah Yes, The Friendships

I may have mentioned in passing that in many cases, board membership turns into friendship. Let me make it clear, we are not talking about acquaintances but lifelong comrades in arms. People you may have spent years working with side by side. People with whom you share a common goal. Yes, here is that goal again: to better the industry for the future generation of practitioners—whether they are tooling engineers, mold designers, moldmakers, CNC operators, EDM specialists, or shop owners. We are all working together and building those friendships for today and years, if not decades to come.

I am going to speak from experience here. I joined the board of directors in 1994. You might well imagine that people have come, and people have gone. That is true! But what is often overlooked are the people that are still there. Folks like Glenn Beall, Glenn Starkey, Barbara Ferot-Arnold, Phil Mitchell, Fred Steil (recently deceased but fondly remembered), and Jerry Fischer (also deceased but fondly remembered). These industry stalwarts I count as my friends. People I can call in a pinch and know that they will understand where I am coming from and are willing to provide a listening ear–some thoughtful guidance–or a quick kick in the pants (if that is what is needed.) There are others that I am sure I have forgotten–not intentionally–but forgotten nonetheless.

And with the complexion of today’s board, I am making new friends and re-kindling old relations—and I know that as I sit here, they will do the same for me as I am willing to do for them. Be a FRIEND.

That Is Just a Taste

Here is a quick recap of what Board participation offers, opportunities to:

  • Meet altruistic desires
  • Provide Industry Notoriety
  • Feed your Professional Ego
  • Provide INSTANT recognition as an Industry Leader
  • Provide Leadership Training – Mentorship
  • Provide close association resources
  • Build Lifelong Friendships

I hope with all sincerity that it has aroused your curiosity and that we can count you in as a “Plus One” on our division leaders’ roster.


About the Author

Scott L. Peters is president and founder of Molded Marketing LLC,  a marketing company dedicated to the art and craft of moldmaking and design. He has served on this board in all roles from Assistant Newsletter Sponsorship to Division Chair and Division Councilor to International. In 2008, he lead the Student Activities Committee of ANTEC Milwaukee to do great things for student authors and future leaders of the industry. He can be reached at or 330-201-3751