As FEPAC shuts down, Pierre Fillion discusses what’s next
Founded in 2008, FEPAC closed its doors at the end of December 2016. But that's not the end of the story.
Part of being successful is knowing when to call it a day. Which is why the Federation of Plastics and Alliances Composites (FEPAC) decided to shut down on the last day of 2016, after eight years in business.
The Boucherville, Que.-based association was founded just before the beginning of the Great Recession, and having helped guide its member companies through the downturn and beyond, FEPAC president and CEO Pierre Fillion and the other members of the FEPAC board have now decided that the organization has fulfilled its mandate. “In starting FEPAC, we wanted to create an association that would tackle the challenges facing Quebec’s plastics processors, as opposed to other organizations that tended to focus on the needs of the material suppliers,” Fillion said. “Our big goal was to help processors develop more sustainable operations.” To that end, FEPAC created its two signature initiatives: the Plant-School program, which provided learning plans for new employees of member companies, as well as a skills enhancement plan for current employees; and the ECOresponsible certification program, which guided them through a process to develop more environmentally-friendly end products.
“Both programs were very successful, and we came to the conclusion that we had taken them as far as we could in Quebec, which meant that FEPAC was no longer necessary,” Fillion said. “The Plant-School program is being considered by most other provinces, so it’s grown beyond FEPAC; and the ECOresponsible program is going to be carried on by the Vinyl Institute of Canada, which is licensed to deploy it on a national scale.”
As it turns out, however, shutting FEPAC down is really just the next step in the organization’s evolution. “The board members of FEPAC and I want to move to a new business model – a business-to-business web platform that we hope to have up and running by the end of 2017,” Fillion said. “And whereas FEPAC was not-for-profit, this will be a for-profit venture. We see this as the new paradigm for industry associations.”
And in addition to Fillion’s involvement in the new web platform venture, he has also started up his own private sector company. “My firm is the worldwide distributor for a carbon nanopearl manufacturer,” he said. “We’ll be competing directly against the carbon nanotubes industry, with what we believe is a better performing, more affordable nanopolymer.” Fillion is also serving as the president and CEO of Saint-Martin, Que.-based Council of Sustainable Industries, which is working alongside the Vinyl Institute of Canada to nationalize the ECOresponsible program.
So for FEPAC and its staff, it’s not goodbye; it’s see you again soon.