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Society Governance and Organization
What is the difference between a Division, Special Interest Group, Section, and Student Chapter?
A Division is an affiliate group of the Society that is established around an area of technical interest. Each Division has a representative on Council, SPE’s governing body. A list of Divisions can be found at http://www.4spe.org/Communities/divisions.aspx?navItemNumber=664.

A Special Interest Group (SIG) is an affiliate group of the Society that is established around an emerging areas of technical interest. SPE membership is not required to join a SIG, and SIGs do not have representation on Council. A list of SIGs can be found at http://www.4spe.org/Communities/sigs.aspx?navItemNumber=5015.

A Section is an affiliate group of the Society that is established around a geographic territory. Each Section has a representative on Council. A list of Sections can be found at http://www.4spe.org/Communities/sections.aspx.

A Student Chapter is an affiliate group of the Society that is established within an educational community. Only student members may join a Student Chapter. A list of Student Chapters can be found at http://www.4spe.org/Communities/students.aspx?navItemNumber=667.
What are the governing documents of the Society and where can I find them?
The Society’s governing documents are its Bylaws & Policies.
What is the difference between the positions of SPE President and the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer?
The chief executive is a paid position hired by the Executive Committee to manage operations of the Society and its employees (i.e. Staff). The President of the Society is a volunteer, elected by the Council, and sets the strategic direction of the Society during his/her year of office. In addition, the President serves as chair of the Council and the Executive Committee. Only the President and the chief executive are empowered to speak on behalf of the Society.
What is the Executive Committee?
The Executive Committee is a 10-member body that meets monthly (mostly by teleconference) to manage the affairs of the Society. Members are elected by Council or appointed by the President. In addition the President can appoint ad hoc (i.e. non-voting) members of the Executive Committee. All Executive Committee members are members of Council. The chief executive is a non-voting member of the Executive Committee. A list of Executive Committee members can be found at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=6486&navItemNumber=6487.
What is the Operating Plan?
The Operating Plan is a document created each year by the SPE President to communicate his/her strategic plan for the year. It includes goals and objectives for each of the Society’s standing and ad hoc committees. Each Committee is listed with its Chair and leadership, a description of the committee’s purpose, and its specific goals. The current Operating Plan can be found at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=5985.
How is Society governance organized?
SPE’s governing body is Council. Council is comprised of one representative (“Councilor”) from each SPE Section and Division. TheExecutive Committee is the executive body of governance. Executive Committee is responsible for managing Society business between Council meetings.
What is "Council" and what does a Councilor do?
SPE’s Council is the governing body of the Society of Plastics Engineers. Council is comprised of one representative, or Councilor, from each Section and Division of the Society. Council generally conducts four meetings, with two meetings taking place at ANTEC®. All members of Executive Committee are part of Council.

Following are examples of Council activities:

  • Vote on changes to SPE’s governing documents (Bylaws & Policies);
  • Consider issues statements or present an issues statement for consideration for Society action or changes to governing documents;
  • Approve the annual budget and operating plan;
  • Elect officers of the Society – specifically the President-elect, Senior Vice President, and Vice President
  • Vote to Charter new Sections, Divisions, or Student Chapters; or disband inactive Sections, Divisions, or Student Chapters
Councilors are elected by the membership of the Section or Division they represent. In addition to activities in Council, Councilors perform the following duties:
  • Participate in Society-level committees to carry out objectives of the annual Operating Plan.
  • Communicate Society-level information to the Section or Division Board of Directors they represent and provide reports to the group membership.
What is a Councilor's term of service?
A Councilor serves a three-year term. Council terms begin at ANTEC® and conclude three years later at ANTEC®. A Councilor can serve two consecutive terms for a single group, but must leave that position for at least one term before being eligible again by the same group.
How is a Councilor chosen?
Councilors are elected by the members of the Section or Division they represent.
When and where is the next Council meeting?
Please contact Leadership Services at leadershipservices@4spe.org.
Where do I find documents for the next Council meeting?
Please contact Leadership Services at leadershipservices@4spe.org.
Awards & Recognition
What SPE Awards can my Section/Division/SIG apply for?
Awards programs to recognize SPE groups for their activity include Pinnacle and Communications Excellence Awards.

Opportunities to recognize individuals for their contributions to the Society of Plastics Engineers or the plastics industry include Honored Service Member and Fellow of the Society, respectively. Note, these recognitions are Society member grades, not awards.
What is Pinnacle?
Pinnacle recognizes Sections and Divisions that successfully create and deliver member value during the year. Sections and Divisions are reviewed in four categories of achievement: organization, technical programming, membership and communication. Two levels or achievement are possible: Silver and Gold. Information and application materials are available online at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=11357.
What is the Communications Excellence Award?
The Communications Excellence Award recognizes Sections, Divisions, and Special Interest Groups that carry out highly effective communications within their groups and, optionally, with other parts of the Society during the course of one SPE year. The award covers the broad scope and complexity of communications in today’s information age. It is not a competitive award, but is based on meeting or exceeding certain performance standards and accomplishment thresholds.
What are Honored Service Member (HSM) & Fellow of the Society?
Both Honored Service Member and Fellow of the Society are member grades – not awards. Honored Service Members are recognized for their long-term, outstanding service to, and support of, the Society and its objectives. Fellows are recognized for their outstanding achievements in the fields of plastics engineering, science or technology, or in the management of such activities.
What individual awards or professional recognitions are available to members through SPE?
SPE annually recognizes excellence in the plastics industry by rewarding the efforts of individuals who have made outstanding contributions or lifetime achievements in plastics. There are four categories:

International Award – recognizes lifetime achievements in the fields of polymer science or polymer/plastics engineering.

Business Management – recognizes an individual who made a significant business achievement in the fields of plastics materials, processing, processing machinery and equipment, design and engineering. This could include establishing a new business, achieving significant growth in an existing business, or creating new jobs.

Education Award – recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions in the field of plastics education, through teaching, mentoring, and outreach.

Research/Engineering Technology Award – recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions in the fields of polymeric material development, processing, design, the innovative application of polymer engineering principles, and/or the fundamental understanding of the science of polymeric materials and their behavior.

For more information about these awards, visit http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=3901&navItemNumber=653.
Are there additional SPE recognition options?
Please contact Leadership Services at leadershipservices@4spe.org.
Event / Conference Planning & Technical Programming
What services does SPE offer to support conferencing?
Services offered in support of conferencing are detailed in the Conference Petition Paperwork. They include registration, contract reviews, PE Magazine ads, Website presence, press releases, badges and other supplies. Additional cost services are available for items such as paper submission assistance, marketing plans, onsite support and design of promotional materials.

Contact Sue Wojnicki (+1 203-740-5420; swojnicki@4spe.org) in SPE’s Events Department to request conferencing support information.
Does SPE provide registration support for group events?
For events that are not Topical Conferences, SPE Headquarters can help with credit card processing and provide an RSVP mechanism for the group. Contact leadershipservices@4spe.org for more information.
What is the difference between a TopCon and a MiniTec?
A TopCon (Topical Conference) is a two- or three-day event that is organized by an SPE group in partnership with SPE Headquarters. TopCons generally have at least two sessions (or technical tracks), which may run concurrently across the event. TopCons may include additional events, including interactive/poster sessions; award dinners; social events; keynote presentations; and exhibits (“table top” or “booth” setup). Marketing for TopCons can be global.

Groups producing a TopCon will have a contracted partnership with the SPE Event Management Department. This contract includes the financial agreement, and details terms of services such as marketing, registration, on-site support.

A MiniTec (Mini Technical Event) is a half-day to two-day event that is organized by an SPE group or groups. MiniTecs generally contain a single session (or technical track). MiniTecs may include a reception and/or keynote presenter but do not generally have additional events. MiniTecs are considered regional events and should not be marketed more than ~150 miles from the event location.

Groups producing a MiniTec do not have a contracted partnership with SPE. Some Headquarters services are available through the Leadership Services Department.
How does my group plan a TopCon? How does my group plan a MiniTec? Is an SPE member entitled to concessional delegate fees for conferences, seminars, workshops etc. organized by SPE globally?
Yes, all events organized by SPE Headquarters offer discounted registration fees for SPE members.
Financial
Where do I find financial documents of the Society?
SPE’s Annual Report is published each year in the ANTEC® Wrap-Up issue of Plastics Engineering. This issue normally comes out two months after ANTEC®.
Do I need to fill out any tax forms for my group? Where do I find information about financial filings?
If your group is a Section based in the United States or Division not specifically based outside the United States, you are required to complete a tax form every year. The tax form is due to the IRS on November 15. More information is available at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=5985.

If your group is a Section or Division not based in the United States you may still be required to file information with your government. Confirm with your local government if filing is required.
How much will my group's rebate be this year?
The annual Rebate allocation is an item in the SPE annual budget. When the budget is approved at the fall Council meeting, the rebate amount is determined (net for all groups, combined).

Each group’s rebate amount is determined by a formula that distributes the net amount based on the group’s members.

Does SPE provide financial support to its member groups?
Financial aid for member groups is potentially available. A Member Group Funding Request application form has been developed to facilitate this procedure so that justification in written form can be sent to the Executive Committee. This form can be found at http://s3.amazonaws.com/rdcms-spe/files/production/public/Documents/LeadershipResources/SPE-Member-Group-Funding-Request-Form.doc
Membership
How do I access information about members in my group?
Membership data is uploaded at the beginning of each month to a private, password protected web address. Contact Leadership Services (+1 203-740-5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department to request this information.

As a business rule, only certain position holders have automatic access to a group’s membership data: President/Chair, President-elect/Chair-elect, Secretary, Councilor, Newsletter Editor/Communications Chair, and Membership Chair. If you do not hold one of these pre-authorized positions, authorization from your group’s President/Chair is required.
What can be done to improve the quality of information in the SPE member database?
Customer Relations at SPE has been working closely with our Association Management Software provider, Avectra, to address the issues we have been having since our transition to the new software in February 2011. We have made steady improvements in the quality of SPE Member data and will continue to do so.

If you have a change to your member record, log into SPE website and select “My Information” to view and update your profile.
Are reduced membership rates available for special events such as conferences, golf & other similar outings?
Discounted membership renewal rates are included with ANTEC® and many other SPE Conference registrations. Special discounts can be arranged for other events through SPE’s Membership Manager, Sue Wojnicki (+1 203-740-5420; swojnicki@4spe.org).
Newsletter / Communication Tools
How do I request an e-mail blast?
Leaders of SPE Groups can request an email blast to their group using the online Email Blast Request Form, at http://www.4spe.org/applications/Forms/FormDisplay.aspx?FormID=18197. Instructions for how to use the form and when emails are deployed are included at the top of the page.
How to I find more information about SPE's web conference platform?
Contact Leadership Services (+1 203.740.5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department for information about web conferencing.
Is Plastic Engineering magazine available online for student members?
Yes. Students (or any member) can access Plastics Engineering online. Current and archived issues of the magazine are available at www.plasticsengineering.org. When prompted, members will need to enter their SPE website username and password for access.
Who can make changes to group-specific pages on the SPE website?
Leaders can direct changes to their group-specific page by using the online General Web Update, available at http://www.4spe.org/applications/Forms/FormDisplay.aspx?FormID=18201 or the Upcoming Events submission form, at http://www.4spe.org/applications/Forms/FormDisplay.aspx?FormID=18200.

Completed forms are received and implemented by SPE’s eServices Department.
How do I get a special event included on SPE’s main calendar?
Leaders can have any SPE event added to the main calendar, including Board or planning meetings they wish to make publicly known.

Leaders can provide information about their event by using the Upcoming Events submission form, at http://www.4spe.org/applications/Forms/FormDisplay.aspx?FormID=18200.
Operations / General Information
Can a student member from Division/Section outside North America apply for an SPE scholarship for polymer technology course outside North America?
SPE Foundation scholarships are available to students worldwide, for study in any country. The student must be taking courses that would lead to a career in the plastic industry (polymer/plastics engineering, other engineering disciplines, the sciences, or math).
Where can I find information about SPE webinars?
If you would like to present an SPE e-Live Webinar, contact Scott Marko at smarko@4spe.org
What are the submission deadlines for the materials Sections and Divisions are required to send to SPE Headquarters?

To meet basic compliance, the following materials are due to SPE Headquarters each year.

Item Submission Date
Leadership Roster worksheet June 20
Goals & Workplan summary September 1
IRS 990 forms [link to http://www.irs.gov/charities/]
applies to US-based groups only
November 15
SPE Financial Report November 15
Services / Resources / Training
What sources of information are available about SPE leadership resources?
A directory of services and resources is available online at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/index.aspx?navItemNumber=633.

If there are services not listed here that you would like to have available to your group, contact Leadership Services (+1 203-740-5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department to discuss your request.
What SPE services are available to me as a volunteer leader?
A wide variety of services are available to volunteer leaders. Some examples include access to member records, email blasts, election services, and conferencing.

A complete directory of services and resources is available online at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/index.aspx?navItemNumber=633.

If there are services not listed here that you would like have available to your group, contact Leadership Services (+1 203-740-5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department to discuss your request.
Is the recording of webinars available on request?
Yes. Contact Scott Marko (+1 203.740.5442; smarko@4spe.org) for more information.
What resources are available to support group elections?
After your Elections Chair has confirmed a slate of candidates for election and collected photos and/or candidate statements, Staff can develop an online ballot and disseminate an elections notice to your group members. Staff provides the Elections Chair with administrative access to the election results so he/she can monitor and report on results.

Information about how Headquarters can help with elections is available online at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=20462 under the Operations / General Information category.

Contact Leadership Services (+1 203.740.5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department for more information.
What resources are available to support group/member surveys?
SPE Headquarters maintains an online survey system. After your group has identified your survey questions, contact Leadership Services to finalize the survey and prepare it for distribution. Staff will upload your survey to the online format and deploy it to your designated recipients. If appropriate, a group my request distribution to members other than their own, or provide Headquarters with additional recipients. Staff will provide you with an administrative view of the survey to monitor and report on results.

Contact Leadership Services (+1 203-740-5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department for more information.
What resources are available to support group meetings?
Resources to support group events (non Topical Conferences) include communications/marketing planning, a matrix of members’ technical interests, and best practice information documenting what has worked for other groups. In addition, SPE Staff can provide collateral material to promote SPE at group events.

A complete directory of resources is available online at http://www.4spe.org/Leadership/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=20462, under the Event / Conference Planning & Technical Programming category.

If there are services not listed here that you would like have available to your group, contact Leadership Services (+1 203-740-5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department to discuss the nature of your event. She can advise if additional support is available.
How do I request support for a special meeting or event?
Contact Leadership Services (+1 203-740-5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department to discuss the nature of your event. She will advise how Headquarters can help with available resources.
Can SPE assist with teleconference services?
Yes. SPE Headquarters has contracted services with a teleconference provider. Headquarters can requisition a teleconference account, with international toll free access, for your group.

Charges to your account are paid up front by SPE Headquarters and then re-billed to the group. Because group accounts are combined with all SPE teleconference activity, the per-minute charges should be better than rates you would find when applying for service on your own.

Contact Leadership Services (+1 203-740-5430; leadershipservices@4spe.org) in SPE’s Leadership Services Department for more information.
Government Relations/Lobbying
Does SPE engage in lobbying or government relations?
No. As an educational organization, SPE does not engage in lobbying at the state or federal level.