Canplast: The Awards Go To…
If you’ve spent any time at a plastics trade show in canada, chances are you know sally damstra, director of international trade and shows at the cpia.
What you may not know is that sally’s road to plastics was anything but direct: iranian-born of british parents, and trained for the theatre at the guildhall school of music and drama, university of london.
Sally moved to canada in 1967, and worked in marketing, advertising, and public relations for a variety of organizations. She managed the arthritis society’s research and education program for several years, and liaised with medical departments at canadian universities to provide peer-reviewed sub-specialty training and research programs. Following that, sally and husband bill ran a group of five international import companies servicing the shoe, leather goods, and clothing industries.
Sally joined spi canada — now the cpia — in 1993. In 1994 she was appointed show director of the plast-ex and expoplast trade shows, and had responsibilities for office management, machinery council, and international trade. “When the federal government withdrew from the provision of canadian pavilions at international trade shows in 1994, i made a commitment to provide pavilions at events targeted as most important by the industry,” she said. “Now, in 2009, the trade promotion unit has innovated rotating exhibit areas and organized information desks, mini- and full-sized pavilions, plus missions at over 40 events around the world, each providing opportunities for a large number of canadian companies to expand their export horizons and broaden customer bases.”
Currently the corporate vice president at toronto-based mono- and multi-layer film supplier haremar plastic manufacturing, mark lichtblau studied plastics at the feet of two industry members eminently qualified to instruct him: his parents. Saul and fela lichtblau started the company in the mid-1960s with two extruders, and mark felt the pull at an early age: during his school years, he worked part-time in the company’s warehouse, on the production line, and in the office.
Following his graduation from ryerson polytechnical institute with a degree in accounting and finance, mark spent two years as a category manager at loblaw — an experience that proved surprisingly relevant to his later career. “The parallels between coffee-handling at loblaw and resin-handling are very close,” he said. “Both have basic and specialty grades, and both are transported by vacuum loading systems. Loblaw turned out to be my pre-education on resins.”
After obtaining an mba from clarkson university in new york state, mark began at haremar in 1997 — a time that coincided with his father’s failing health. “My father died of cancer after my first year at haremar, and this resulted in a very demanding 12 months,” he said. “Knowing that he was sick, he had the desire to teach me all that he could in a limited time, and i had the desire to learn as much as i could from him.”
In addition to his duties at the 100 employee-strong haremar, mark has served on the cpia’s board of directors, and is a past chairman of the pfmac.
“It’s an honour and privilege to be a recipient of the canplast award, but i’m only doing what my parents have taught me,” he said.
The publisher of canadian plastics magazine, judith’s involvement in the industry stretches back three decades — long enough to remember events in which the moderator would acknowledge her presence by saying “welcome, lady and gentlemen…”
Armed with an honours ba in urban studies, judith was hired by spi canada in 1979 as division manager for the group’s plastic film manufacturers association, and also worked as staff manager for the commercial bottle division.
Judith came to Canadian Plastics magazine as associate editor in 1981. “I had never worked in journalism before — other than working on my high school yearbook — but the group publisher, art painter, took a chance on me.” Promoted to publisher six years later, judith has been responsible for such achievements as the 1999 startup of plastiques et moules, the first french language plastics magazine published for quebec; and for the revival of the canadian plastics resin outlook conference, which had been discontinued for a number of years in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Currently, she’s involved in organizing an upcoming webinar with the cpia and export development canada, designed to present ontario plastics manufacturers with financial assistance information.
Other industry activities include participation in a number of plast-ex and expoplast trade show advisory committees, serving on the award selection committees for spi canada product design events, and a stint on the spe ontario board of directors.
“Looking back, i’m fortunate to have had wonderful mentors like art painter,” she said. “I still love the plastics business, and enjoy getting to know a whole new generation of manufacturers.”
Joe giglio is president of flexible packager tempo plastics limited, in innisfil, ont. Canadian plastics was unable to contact mr. Giglio by press time.