Opening General Session

The Opening General Session brings together all convention delegates to hear from association leaders and conduct IAPD business.

On Wednesday, October 3, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., join us to:

  • Receive an update about the state of the association from outgoing IAPD President Rick Gough
  • Hear from incoming IAPD President Wayne Gono
  • Recognize IAPD members (individuals and companies) with Awards of Excellence
  • See keynote presentation from: former Amazon Executive John Rossman and NFL Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick 

This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about IAPD, the performance plastics distribution industry and our members.

Keynote Sessions



John Rossman
The Amazon Way

The Amazon Way

Presented by John Rossman

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 (During the Opening General Session) currently sells more online than its next 12 competitors combined. It has grown from an online bookseller to conquering the online shopping world. Many of the shopping expectations and tastes that consumers have today can be traced back to the Amazon Way. In John Rossman’s signature leadership keynote he will reveal and unpack the secrets of Amazon’s unparalleled growth and how the company’s culture has driven innovation and growth. Rossman will show how these principles can help any business seize this advantage.

The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World's Most Disruptive Company
Click on the book to purchase your copy here or you can snag a copy during the registration process.

About John Rossman

John Rossman is most known for launching and scaling the Amazon Marketplace business which now accounts for more than 50 percent of all Amazon units sold and shipped. While at Amazon he also served as director of enterprise services at, where he managed worldwide services to enterprise clients such as, Toys R Us, Sears, Marks and Spencer and the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Since leaving Amazon he has advised clients across most industry verticals on digital strategy, operations and culture. He is now managing partner at Rossman Partners. 
John Rossman is the author of The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company and is an expert in digital innovation and helping his clients build and execute innovative business models. His book, The Amazon Way on IoT: 10 Lessons Every Leader Should Learn from Amazon’s Internet of Things Strategy came out in October 2016.



Brian Billick
Competitive Leadership: Twelve Principles for Success

Competitive Leadership: Twelve Principles for Success
Presented by Brian Billick

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 (During the Opening General Session)

Can successful leadership be learned? Legendary professional football coach Brian Billick thinks so. He knows that leadership isn’t some abstract concept, but something that can be learned and understood. In this presentation, based on his book of the same name, Billick shares key principles of effective leadership that can be applied to any competitive situation, showing audiences how to overcome adversity and succeed. In a powerful and engaging presentation, he discusses:

  • The value of creative thinking
  • How to create your own opportunities
  • How to inspire confidence in yourself and others

About Brian Billick

Brian Billick is a Super Bowl-winning coach who led the Ravens to the Lombardi Trophy in 2000. He spent nine seasons as Baltimore's head coach (1999-2007) after previously working as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator (1994-98). In addition to writing for, Billick is an analyst on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" and other shows.

An expert motivator, NFL coach and strategist, for more than 30 years Brian Billick has demonstrated an exceptional ability to take individual players to their highest potential, while keeping his teams unified and focused.

Educational Speakers

Ben Varquez
Attract and Retain the Next Generation Workforce

Attract and Retain the Next Generation Workforce

Presented by Ben Varquez

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 (3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.)

Many performance plastics companies offer excellent career opportunities to the emerging workforce, yet struggle to find candidates to fill their job openings. Low unemployment, while a great sign for the economy, compounds this issue. In this session, you will take an all-encompassing look at developing, recruiting and retaining your future workforce. You'll learn best practices by reviewing multiple research studies, engaging with experts and analyzing real-life examples of what Millennials and Gen-Z are looking for in a career and employer. 

About Ben Varquez

Ben Varquez is a partner at Whistle Work, an employer and industry branding, recruiting and retention solution. He's also the managing director of Youth Marketing Connection, the largest student-focused marketing agency in the United States. Throughout his career, he has worked closely with industry leaders such as Google, Capital One and Spotify and leading trade and professional associations such as the American Institute of CPAs and the Center for Audit Quality. Varquez is a graduate of The George Washington University's School of Business, an outdoor enthusiast and a lifelong learner. He enjoys cooking, building furniture and playing ultimate frisbee.

Justin Hall
Freight, Transportation and Logistics Challenges: Is This the New Norm?

Freight, Transportation and Logistics Challenges: Is This the New Norm?
Presented by Justin Hall

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 (1:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.)

The shipping industry is experiencing a perfect storm. Every industry is feeling the pain.

The new electronic data log (EDL) regulations, reduced hours for drivers and driver shortages are causing disruptions and increased costs. The practice of logging driving time using paper and pencil are gone. Electronic tracking devices are now mandatory on all trucks, which are recording the time more accurately. In addition, many tasks such as loading/unloading freight and safety checks that have, in the past, not been included in the shift time are now being counted as part of the 10-hour shift.

The result is that shipping companies are being more selective about what they ship and where they go, seeking to maximize the space for freight and shipping lanes. During this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop relationships with your freight shippers
  • Make your freight more attractive for your shippers
  • Rethink what you ship – and how to ship it – to ensure that it gets to where it needs to go on time 

About Justin Hall

As chief customer officer of YRCW, Justin Hall is responsible for designing and deploying technology, transport and supply-chain solutions that will improve the customer experience. He also leads strategic shared-service teams tasked with driving enterprise revenue synergies, market competitiveness and shareholder value. YRCW companies have one of the largest, most comprehensive less-than-truckload (LTL) networks in North America with local, regional, national and international capabilities. Prior to joining YRCW, Hall was president and visionary of Logistics Planning Services (LPS) in St. Paul, MN, USA. LPS is a successful and fast growing 3PL/4PL company. Under his leadership, LPS was named to the Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing companies five times and to the Minnesota Fast 50 and 100 Best Places to Work. 

Hall graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, USA with a B.A. in Entrepreneurship. He is a recent EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and is Scrum Master Certified (CSM). Since 2015, Hall has been a member of the Children’s Masonic Hospital Business Advisory Board and the board of directors of UST Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. He maintains strong community ties, volunteering with several local and global charities with a heavy focus on military families and veterans’ health affairs. 

Dr. Bjørn Stillion Southard
Develop Your Executive Presence

Develop Your Executive Presence
Presented by Dr. Bjørn Stillion Southard

Hosted by the Manufacturers' Representatives CIG

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 (3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Whether you’re in the boardroom, on the sales floor, around the proverbial “water cooler,” at a conference, on the phone or anywhere else, your ability to speak with confidence will drive your career forward — just as a lack of confidence will frustratingly hold you back.

In Develop Your Executive Presence, you will get a set of powerful insights and practical strategies that will rapidly enhance your poise and polish. Get ready for an interactive, experiential session that will raise your awareness and develop your speaking skills in a way that will transform your career — and even change your life!

Bonus: Develop Your Elevator Pitch
Get one-on-one advice from Dr. Southard on Thursday, October 4 during the Plastics Showcase. Dr. Southard will be available to give you personalized presentation tips and help you fine-tune your elevator pitch.  

About Dr. Bjørn Stillion Southard
Dr. Bjørn Stillion Southard is the co-author of Presenting at Work: A Guide to Public Speaking in Professional Context as well as a workshop facilitator and expert coach at Spoken with Authority, a Washington, D.C.-based presentation skills consultancy that helps professionals build the confidence to connect and the capacity to lead. He is inspired by helping clients realize that they have something compelling to share with an audience.

Dr. Southard has more than 15 years of experience delivering public speaking instruction and seminars across the country and is a national award-winning debate coach. He is also an assistant professor of communication studies and the director of the public speaking program at the University of Georgia. He has a doctorate and master’s degree in communication from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and media studies from Willamette University.

Dr. Chris Butts
8 Strategies to Identify and Navigate Unconscious Bias

8 Strategies to Identify and Navigate Unconscious Bias
Presented by Dr. Chris Butts

Hosted by Women in Plastics

Thursday, October 4, 2018 (8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.)

Diversity is a natural part of the workforce and your ability to lead this diversity will position you to win the race in recruiting and retaining the best qualified talent. The reality is that we all have bias, and our unconscious mind is more powerful than you think. The good news is that there are simple ways of mitigating the effects of implicit bias. During this presentation, you’ll learn the cognitive knowledge and skills necessary to effectively interact with and serve diverse populations. 

The session provides an understanding of how bias is formed in our unconscious and focuses on:

  • Various types of implicit bias
  • Equality vs. Equity
  • Creation of Perceptual Lens
  • Perception, roles and group identity
  • The impact of unconscious bias at work
  • Mitigating the effects of bias

About Dr. Christopher Butts

Dr. Christopher Butts is a trusted advisor to executive management on complex human resource and employee relations issues. He has facilitated more than 10,000 hours of training on leadership, diversity and inclusion, recruitment, strategic planning and many other topics. As partner and vice president of Careerstone Group, LLC, Dr. Butts brings his clients a wealth of expertise and first‐hand knowledge on leadership excellence, change management, and commitment to engagement. 

Dr. Butts received a Master of Education in Higher Education degree and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education and Policy Studies degree from the University of Central Florida. His published work includes a recent article in the journal Industrial and Organizational Psychology Perspectives on Science and Practice, Diversity Executive Magazine, a book chapter in Understanding and Managing Diversity and another in Cross-Cultural Competence for a Twenty-First-Century Military

Carol Brophy
Prop 65 and the Performance Plastics Industry

Prop 65 and the Performance Plastics Industry
Presented by Carol Brophy

Thursday, October 4, 2018 (10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.)

Proposition 65 is a state-level law, so it can’t have that much impact on you, right? Wrong! If you are doing business in the State of California, you must be in compliance with this law or face stiff penalties. Worse yet, there’s a very low bar for so-called “bounty hunters” to purchase material, get it tested and bring charges against the companies that didn’t have the proper product labeling. In this valuable session, you’ll hear from Prop 65 expert Attorney Carol Brophy.
In this session you’ll learn:

  • What Prop 65 is all about
  • What the new amendments to Prop 65 mean
  • Proper labeling
  • How to find out if your materials will be impacted by the law
  • Strategies for avoiding warnings
  • And much more

About Carol Brophy
Carol Brophy is a seasoned litigator representing clients in environmental law, administrative law and state and federal litigation. She represents a wide range of companies in matters involving federal and California laws including Proposition 65, California Unfair Trade Practice (UCL), the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the California Clean Air Act, the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, the California Environmental Quality Act and other state and local regulations. 

Brophy’s background as both an engineer and an environmental assessor enables her to apply these skills to not only the legal aspects of compliance, but the scientific and technical aspects as well. She has extensive experience developing cost-effective compliance solutions for manufacturers and chemical processors, working both with clients’ in-house technical staff and consulting scientists. Brophy also assists multinational companies in meeting the complex product importation, labeling and formulation requirements imposed by U.S. and international law. She provides assistance to clients in negotiating permit limits and defending compliance orders. 

Bonus: Meet one-on-one with Carol Brophy at the IAPD Plastics Showcase on Thursday afternoon.

Carol Brophy will be available for one-on-one question and answers on Thursday, October 4 during the Plastics Showcase. 

Dr. Keith Hechtel, DBA
The Future of Leadership in the Performance Plastics Industry: Moving Toward a Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Leading Plastics Organizations 

The Future of Leadership in the Performance Plastics Industry: Moving Toward a Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Leading Plastics Organizations
Presented by Dr. Keith Hechtel, DBA,

Thursday, October 4, 2018 (11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

In the early days of the plastics industry, leaders were in many cases expected to focus solely on maximizing financial results without fully considering the effects of their decisions on their employees, suppliers and communities. Today, due to changes in the business environment, performance plastics industry professionals are increasingly becoming aware that this narrow focus is inadequate for achieving long-term sustainable performance and that a broader perspective is required. This presentation will discuss changes to the business environment that necessitate a multi-stakeholder approach to leading plastics organizations. This approach requires that leaders simultaneously focus on:

  • Generating superior financial returns for investors
  • Creating great buying experiences for customers
  • Ensuring that suppliers benefit as a result of doing business with their organizations
  • Being responsible stewards of the environment
  • Supporting healthy communities
  • Creating great career experiences for their employees
The presenter will offer that in order to do this effectively, plastics organizations will have to recruit and train leaders with different perspectives and competencies. This will require different thinking about what it means to "be the boss" in a performance plastics company.

About Dr. Keith Hechtel, DBA
Dr. Keith Hechtel is Senior Director of Business Development for Curbell Plastics, Inc., located in Orchard Park, NY, USA. He has a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Saint Ambrose University, a Master of Science degree in Industrial Technology from Illinois State University and nearly 30 years of plastics industry experience. His doctoral research involved studying how social capital contributes to the career success of salespeople working in the plastics industry.