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Educational Sessions


IT is About the Money...Keeping It!
Presented by Rob Novak

  • Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014, 8:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Heard enough about features and benefits of the latest whiz-bang software suite? Been dazzled into buying servers, backup servers and redundancy servers? You’re not alone.

In this session, learn how business owners are taking advantage of the latest trends in technology to spend less on hardware, software, electricity, IT salaries and more. Rob Novak will demystify the topics of virtualization, software as a service, cloud computing, voice over IP and other emerging trends in IT that will help decrease your IT footprint while increasing your bottom line.

Who Should Attend: Business owners, branch managers and anyone responsible for the smooth running of their operation’s IT systems will want to attend this session.

Or, if you’re just curious about this geeky stuff, this is a great opportunity to learn more and get your questions answered.

About Rob Novak
Rob Novak is president and CEO of SNAPPS, a consulting firm focused on collaboration strategy and technology since 1997. The firm specializes in team collaboration enablement and business process improvement using technology from IBM, Apple and Intuit. Rob has co-authored or edited five books on IBM technology, spoken more than 400 times at industry conferences and written numerous articles and essays on collaboration in his 25 years in the industry.

He has been named an IBM Champion for four years running, one of fewer than 40 people worldwide. He holds two masters degrees, completed his doctoral course work and has produced 12 educational conferences. Rob likes his martinis served in a plastic cup.


Building a Better Workplace: Understanding Gender Roles

Presented by Dr. Helen Eckmann

  • Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

During this session, we will discuss ways that women and men, and those who are visibly different, can work together better. Tips, tools and data will be offered for both women and men to make the work place fairer, including:

  • Roles women are often assigned
  • Perceptions of women and men
  • Career and self-development
  • Five stages of power
  • How to build your brand
  • SMART goals

We will review the findings of a survey taken at a Diversity Summit for the Institute for Supply Chain Management, which indicated that women and men would rather work for a man, and will discuss how women can identify their competencies and recognize behaviors that may work against them.

Attendees of this session will:

  • Analyze how women and men lead in somewhat different ways.
  • Analyze the data from a survey showing that both women and men would rather work for men and the implications of that data to women in general and society at large.
  • Learn ways that women and men can gain power and authority.

Watch this quick video and hear from Helen about what to expect in this session.

Who Should Attend:
This session is open to all full convention delegates.

About Dr. Helen Eckmann
Helen holds a doctorate from the University of San Diego (2003) in the Science of Leadership and Education. She has a (2013) certificate in Evidence Based Coaching from Fielding Graduate University. She is full-time faculty in the Business School at Brandman University and is in charge of innovation, supply chain, strategy and sustainability.

Helen has run her own consulting business for the past decade working as an executive coach and innovation specialist in the biotech, defense, finance, technology, grocery, oil and gas industries.


Taking the Mystery Out of Plastic Piping
Presented by Dick Birch

  • Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

The plastic piping industry, and the piping industry in general, has a number of technical terms, definitions, jargon and so on that are often confused, misunderstood and, too frequently, misused.

This session will address a number of these terms by defining and simplifying them for use by technical, customer service and sales and marketing personnel. Among the terms discussed will be:

  • Water hammer
  • Pressure drop
  • Thermal expansion
  • Specific gravity
  • Basket strainer sizing
  • A few others

A portion of this session will consist of application of the terms to actual problem solving situations and a “friendly” competition with team participation.

Attendees of this session will come away with a better understanding of some of the more common technical terms of the plastic piping industry and a higher comfort level when working with and assisting customers with technical problems.

Watch this quick video from Dick Birch to find out more about his session.

Who Should Attend:
Technical, customer service and sales and marketing personnel will benefit from this session.

About Dick Birch
Dick Birch has more than 40 years of experience in technical service, sales and marketing of chemical process equipment and has been involved with exotic metals, ceramics, glass and a wide variety of plastics as they relate to resistance to corrosive chemicals. Most recently, Dick was Director of Sales and Marketing for the Flow Control Division of Hayward Industries and has taught various marketing courses at High Point University and the University of North Carolina. He has a B.S. degree in chemistry and an M.B.A from the University of Detroit.


From Blight to Bright: Giving Plastics Waste a New Future
Presented by Mike Biddle

  • Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

The world consumes more than 500 BILLION pounds of plastics each year, which amounts to more material, on a volume basis, than that amount of steel consumed worldwide each year! And while plastics on average are many times more valuable than steel, the overall recycling rate, particularly in the United States, is only a fraction of steel (less than 10 percent for plastics versus more than 90 percent for steel).

This session will provide an overview of the global impact of plastics in our waste streams, the reaction of end-users and policy makers and the challenges associated with recovering plastics from waste streams. It will also cover how and why the supply of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics is increasing dramatically and why a growing number of manufacturers and converters are tapping into this new source of raw material to:

  • Increase the long-term security and reduce the price fluctuations of their supply chains
  • Offer more sustainable products to their customers
  • Meet PCR content requirements in environmental procurement standards being adopted by a growing number of large purchasers, such as the U.S. government

Attendees of this session will come away with a much better understanding of the multi-dimensional global challenges associated with plastics in the waste stream and the many opportunities and challenges associated with incorporating more PCR plastics in their products. You’ll see numerous eye-opening examples designed to inspire you to find ways to make PCR plastics work for you. Plus, leave with ideas and opportunities to incorporate into your own programs.

Watch this quick video from Mike Biddle to find out more about his session.

Click here to see Biddle’s TED Talk
and here to see him on The BIG SHFT.

Who Should Attend:
Technical, customer service, sales and marketing, business development and government and public relations personnel as well as strategic decision makers will want to attend this session.

About Mike Biddle
Dr. Biddle is a world-leading expert on plastics recycling technology and business. He started MBA Polymers more than 20 years ago – literally from his garage – and grew it to the world’s leading multi-national company recovering plastics from end-of-life durable goods, such as computers, electronics, automobiles and now household waste. MBA has more than 300 million pounds per year of processing capacity in Europe and China.



Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars
Presented by Barbara Rozgonyi

  • Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.

In this session, you will take a look at the top personal branding and business development strategies LinkedIn superstars use to attract targeted attention and leads on LinkedIn, including:

  • What you need to do to raise your visibility and influence
  • Why you need a social media strategy that supports your business
  • How to maximize your efforts and minimize your social networking time
  • Where to find connections that get you closer to your goals

Who Should Attend:
All full convention delegates are welcome to attend.

About Barbara Rozgonyi
Barbara Rozgonyi leads CoryWest Media, a strategic marketing consultancy that attracts attention, builds brands and connects communities in 3d: digitally, directly and dynamically. A founder of Social Media Club Chicago, Barbara is a recognized social media industry thought leader and an in demand speaker/trainer. As publisher of, a top 50 PR blog, Rozgonyi’s work is often a catalyst for innovative and creative marketers. An author, Barbara contributed the LinkedIn chapter to the best-seller Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars.



The Power of Negotiating: Get the Deal You Want
Presented by Chuck Holmes

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014, 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Unfortunately, most distribution salespeople are not trained in negotiations. More unfortunately, many of the people they’re selling to are. The good thing is successful negotiating is not as complex as many people think. In fact, research indicates that the single biggest factor of being a successful negotiator is expectations. Another factor is creating points of power and using them.

This session is designed to provide key skills for any negotiation that the participant is involved — beginning with creating the type of negotiations that best suits their purpose.

In this session, participants will:

  • Learn to identify what kind of negotiations they’re involved in.
  • Learn how to change the type of negotiation so that they aren’t negotiating at a disadvantage.
  • Be able to identify and use their own power in a negotiation.
  • Be able to identify and deal with the power used by their opposer.

Watch this quick video clip to see what you will learn in The Power of Negotiating: Get the Deal You Want educational session

Who Should Attend:
Inside salespeople, outside salespeople and distributor management who deal with customers and salespeople will want to attend.

About Chuck Holmes
Chuck Holmes has worked with IAPD for more than 20 years and developed the Excellence in Sales Certificate Program in part with the IAPD Education Committee.

He founded Corporate Strategies, Inc. in 1984 to assist manufacturers and distributors in meeting their markets more effectively, providing training and consulting in customer service, sales, sales management and marketing as well as various types of quantitative and qualitative market, customer and employee research.

Holmes has spoken and written extensively about customer service, sales and marketing in distribution including: A New View of the Selling System; New Directions in Inside Sales; Building Business through Better Branding; The Myth of Sales Training; Problem Solving for Managers and Effective Compensation Design.


Specifying Plastic Glazing in Construction — Coping with Building Codes
Presented by Tom Niziolek, Hector Cabrera and D’Lane Wisner

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

  • This session will provide participants a brief overview of building and energy codes and the opportunity and challenges facing plastic glazing. A new industry group of plastic sheet producers and value chain partners that is developing plans to take action on this critical initiative will be introduced. We hope to gain strength by further unifying the industry, with common objectives of driving change in the model building codes and creating necessary product standards. If successful with this initiative, the industry would benefit from increased demand of plastic materials used for glazing.

    Who Should Attend: Plastics distributors and manufacturers, as well as anyone interested in promoting the use of plastics in the building and construction industry.


    Free Marketing: How to Get an Editor’s Attention
    Presented by Norbert Sparrow

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

  • You can pay beaucoup bucks to put your company’s message in front of potential customers through online and print advertisements, or you can spend a lot less money — and get credibility to boot — by getting editorial coverage. The downside, of course, is that you have to engage with an editor.

    Yes, editors can be a prickly bunch, and they have an independent streak. In their hands, that carefully worded press release your team labored over becomes raw material for a completely different article that will “really benefit our readers.” You give up control, but you gain an editorial halo that no amount of ad dollars can buy.

    In this session, PlasticsToday Senior Editor Norbert Sparrow will explain:

    • How to write a press release that will attract editorial eyeballs
    • Why some — but not all — pictures really are worth a thousand words
    • Why less is more in marketing strategies
    • How to avoid irritating editors
    • Why the distribution of a press release is the beginning, not the end, of a public relations campaign

    Who Should Attend: Anyone involved in marketing and media relations.

    About Norbert Sparrow
    Norbert Sparrow has been a professional journalist and editor for more than 30 years. He joined Canon Communications (now UBM Canon) in 1996, where he has overseen the editorial operations of numerous international B2B publications and websites, primarily in the medical manufacturing space. Prior to that, Sparrow worked as an editor in consumer publications and at a large metropolitan daily. He joined the PlasticsToday editorial team in November 2013.