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GPEC 2011: Technical Program Report

by Dr. Adrian Merrington, Technical Chair

Wow, is it over already? It seemed like a long time coming but this years GPEC, which saw us move from Orlando in Spring to Atlanta in the fall, has come and gone. And with it, an amazing collection of papers, plenary presentations , student posters and industrial tours. There were even a couple of seminars thrown in. A delayed start due to IT hiccoughs and the somewhat restricted viewing of some seats in the luncheon ballroom did not curtail the interest of those that attended the conference. 

Our conference saw 16 papers in the Biobased and Biodegradable Materials track, 13 papers in the Recycling track and 12 papers in the Reclamation and Supply track. In addition, there were 17 student poster presentations, 2 introductory seminars and 3 plenary speakers. All of the presenters combined to provide attendees a snapshot of our industries current capabilities and what to expect for the future. One last minute substitution that saw us adding a second paper from Tom Rosenmayer of Lehigh Technologies ensured that we had a full program after a paper was pulled at the last minute. This substitution, combined with some last minute reorganization of the conference schedule and the addition of some excellent reserve papers, ensured that we had the type of conference we managed to put on. There was a little more scrambling than usual but I hope that those that attended the conference appreciated the product. We ensured that every time-slot was filled and, thanks to the dedication of the presenters, we managed to deliver a full and relevant program. The quality of papers that we saw, the discussions in which we participated and the opportunities to make the connections we needed to make can be attributed to the efforts of the presenters, moderators and organizers. 

The tours this year were of exceptional quality (I heard one attendee say that "this was the best tour I've ever been on") and the willngness of the hosts to open their doors and share their technologies is greatly appreciated. Tandus Flooring, Inc. of Dalton, GA and Lehigh Technologies of Tucker, GA saw many attendees take advantage of their hospitality. 

As always, I want to thank the presenters for the papers they produced and their willingness to share their technology. This year especially, given that we required that all of the papers submitted followed a uniform  template required a little more effort on the part of some of the presenters. But that effort now presents us with the opportunity to use that work to potentially produce a collected works. Further, a CD with all the papers will be sent out to all attendees soon (you can also buy a copy from the section if you couldn't make the conference).

I would also like to thank those people that helped with the management of the technical program and ensured that we were all where we were supposed to be and when we were supposed to be there; the session moderators (Richard Bopp, Dennis Denton, Andy Hopkins, Larry Koester, Sue Kozora, Susan Landry, Mike Montpetit and Subu Subramanian) and the staff that manned the registration booth.

And finally, on a personal note, I'd like to thank all those that voted that I would be the recipient of the Society of Plastics Engineers Plastics Environmental Division Dennis Denton Outstanding Member award. I am honored by the company of those members that have been winners of this award in the past. This is a great group of people to work with and all new volunteers are always made to feel very welcome. If you have interest in volunteering with the Division, please contact Mike Montpetit or Sue Kozora.

Contact and More Info on Dr. Adrian Merrington