Each year, SPE recognizes outstanding contributions to the plastics industry as part of its Annual Awards Program. All awards were presented at ANTEC® 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, April 27, 2014.

2014 Award Recipients

The SPE International Award

Dr. Avraam I. Isayev
The University of Akron

International Awards 2014 RecipientDr. Isayev is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron, where he also served as Interim Director of the Institute of Polymer Engineering and Director of the Molding Technology Research and Development Center. He received an M.Sc. in Applied Mathemat- ics, an M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Polymer Engineering and Science, all from institutes in the USSR. Subsequently, he served as Senior Research Associate at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, and Senior Research Fellow at Technion in Israel.

Dr. Isayev has made significant theoretical, experimental and practical contributions to polymer processing, including injection, co-injection, gas-assisted injection molding, transfer and compression molding of plastics and rubbers, rheo-optics, rheology and constitutive equations of plastics and elastomers, oil products and disperse systems. He discovered, developed and patented the ultrasonic extrusion process for devulcanization of tire rubbers and other rubber wastes, which has helped to solve a major recycle problem in the rubber and polymer industry. He discovered and patented a novel process for manufacturing self-reinforced (in-situ) composites and laminates of self-reinforced composites based on thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer/thermoplastic and LCP/LCP blends. The resulting composites exhibit excellent mechanical strength, and thermal and chemical resistance, along with ease of processing. He has also patented and carried out fundamental studies on high power ultrasonic-assisted extrusion for in-situ copolymer formation and compatibilization of blends of immiscible polymer in the melt state; and developed novel methods for continuous dispersion of nanofillers in polymer matrices for manufacturing nanocomposites, using ultrasonically assisted single and twin screw extrusion processes.

Dr. Isayev and his research team have published over 400 papers, and presented 270 papers at national and international conferences. He holds 25 USSR and US patents and many international patents.

Business Management Award

Baldev L. Boolani
Boolani Engineering Corporation

Business Management 2014 Awards RecipientMr. Boolani is the Chairman of Boolani Engineering Corporation in Mumbai, India. As a young honors graduate with a B.A in Economics from Jaihind College, he established Boolani Engineering in 1949 to manufacture plastic molding and extrusion machinery when plastics and the plastics industry were unheard of in India. It was a pioneering and bold act for this born entrepreneur in an adverse environment, as beyond cotton, jute, textiles and railways, no other industry existed. Today, thousands of small scale organizations across the country owe their genesis to the support provided by Mr. Boolani. His efforts also led major corporations to set up plants for manufacturing in India. Because of these efforts, he is considered a father figure in the plastics industry, and was awarded the “Udyog Patra Award” (Eminent Businessman Award) by the President of India in 1977.

Mr. Boolani is credited with laying the foundation for the manufacture of plastics consumer goods and for designing and manufacturing small injection molding machines for the production of hundreds of consumer products for pharmaceutical, cosmetic and industrial products. He was a pioneer in extrusion lines for recycling CA, CAB and polystyrene materials.

Over the past six decades, Boolani Engineering has grown significantly around the world. In addition to the over 15,000 processing machines they have provided to corporations, they have produced a wide range of lab machines for Research and Application Development Centers, Institutes of Technology and Engineering Colleges. A board member of the Vivekanand Education Society (VES), Mr. Boolani has been deeply involved in education with VES since 1978. With a passion for research, he has guided the development of the VES College of Pharmacy, which includes the fabrication of machines and accessories for pharmaceutical research. He also is credited with founding the VES College of Law. His energy and resourcefulness have created a significant and long lasting impact on plastics education—and the plastics industry—in India.

The Fred E. Schwab Education Award

Sponsored by the Detroit Section

Dr. Stephen P. McCarthy
University of Massachusetts-Lowell

The Fred E. Schwab Education Award 2014 RecipientDr. McCarthy is a Professor in the Department of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He is also director of UMass Lowell’s Biodegradable Polymer Research Center. He has been a strong champion of plastics and biomedical education at Lowell for 30 years. Dr. McCarthy is also the founder and director of Massachusetts Medical Development Center (M2D2). M2D2 helps move ideas and new products from the lab into the marketplace with the needed expertise so often lacking by start-ups. Over 100 companies have been assisted since the program was established.

Dr. McCarthy is a frequent visitor to Ireland, driving collaborative research between Irish universities, medical device companies, and showcasing innovative engineering design. He was instrumental in setting up a research group at Waterford Institute of Technology, and helped them attain over €1,000,000 from the Science Foundation Ireland for specialized plastics processing equipment and polymer testing and analysis facilities. He has also established student exchange programs between universities in Ireland and UMass Lowell.

The holder of 11 patents, 3 patents pending, and 132 peer reviewed publications, Dr. McCarthy is the graduate coordinator for the Masters Degree in Plastics Engineering as well as the graduate coordinator for the eight Graduate Certificates in Plastics Engineering. He is currently advising dissertation research for eight Ph.D. students and Masters thesis research for 10 students.

An innovator whose research has earned worldwide respect from leaders in biodegradable plastics and medical device development, Dr. McCarthy has secured over $8 million in sponsored research grants, $4 million in capital funding, and over $31 million in intellectual property donations. He was named University Professor in 2012, the highest distinction bestowed on a UMass Lowell faculty member for exceptional teaching achievement and service to the industry.

The Research/Engineering Technology Award

Dr. Sindee Simon
Texas Tech University

Research/Engineering Technology Award 2014 RecipieDr. Simon is the P.W. Horn Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Yale University and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University.

Dr. Simon has established an impressive national and international reputation as an outstanding researcher in the import area of polymer physics and chemistry, including processing of thermoset materials, kinetic analysis, and polymer/ composite characterization. She has combined experimental and modeling programs to study enthalpic and volumetric responses of polymer relaxation, which have significant impact on physical aging of polymers and how their properties change with time. Her intimate understanding and fluency with the Tool-Narayanaswamy-Moynihan (TNM) nonlinear model of structural recovery led to the design of novel temperature perturbation experiments that were the first direct test of major assumptions underlying all current structural recovery methods.

Dr. Simon has used a combination of calorimeter, dilatometer and mechanical measurements and analysis and modeling to answer fundamental questions concerning the glass transition. She continues to have a major impact on the knowledge and understanding of glass-forming systems, and is recognized around the world as an expert in the field of structural recovery behavior of materials. Her recent work in reactions under confined nano-environment is highly innovative and very valuable in the fast growing field of nanomaterials and nanocomposites.

Dr. Simon has published 92 refereed journal papers, is a Fellow of SPE, the North American Thermal Analysis Society and the American Physical Society. An effective mentor of young scientists, she has graduated about 30 graduate students and postdoctoral research associates.