Each year, SPE recognizes outstanding contributions to the plastics industry as part of its Annual Awards Program. All awards were presented at ANTEC® 2015 in Orlando, Florida, USA, March 22, 2014.

2015 Award Recipients

The SPE International Award

Dr. Richard J. Spontak
Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering
North Carolina State University

International Awards 2014 RecipientAlthough active in a diverse range of disciplines, his primary research interests relate to the phase behavior and morphology/property development of nanostructured polymers, polymer nanocomposites, electron microscopy, and stimuli-responsive (electroactive and shape-memory) media. In recognition of his fundamental and applied research endeavors, he is the recipient of numerous honors and awards such as the Sigma Xi Outstanding Research Award, the Alcoa Foundation Engineering Achievement and Distinguished Engineering Research Awards, Alexander von Humboldt and Tewkesbury fellowships, the North Carolina State University Alumni Outstanding Research Award, the 2006 American Chemical Society (PMSE Division) Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science & Engineering, the 2007 German Society for Electron Microscopy Ernst Ruska Prize, the 2008 American Chemical Society (Rubber Division) Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award, the 2011 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Colwyn Medal, and the 2012 Norwegian University of Science & Technology Lars Onsager Medal. An elected fellow of the American Physical Society, IOM3 and the Royal Society of Chemistry, he is or has been on the editorial advisory board of 21 international journals and holds editorial positions on 3 of them. He has been recognized as a 2007 Outstanding Scholar Alumnus and a 2012 Alumni Fellow by the Pennsylvania State University, and he has been elected a member of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences.

Dr. Spontak received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering (with honors/high distinction) from the Pennsylvania State University in 1983 and was later awarded the Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering (under the supervision of Mike Williams) from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. He then pursued post-doctoral research with Alan Windle in Materials Science & Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge (U.K.) and Tormod Riste in Condensed Matter Physics at the Institute for Energy Technology (Norway).

Business Management Award

Charles A. Sholtis
Plastics Molding Technology, Inc.

Business Management 2014 Awards RecipientCharles A. Sholtis is the Chief Executive Officer of Plastic Molding Technology, Inc. (PMT), a Texas-based manufacturer of small, precision-engineered, injection-molded components used in a wide array of applications in diverse industries. Under Charles’ leadership, PMT was named the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s 2014 Manufacturer of the Year and was recognized for its industry-leading sustainability initiatives and operational excellence.

After serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy Charles has directly managed every aspect of PMT’s business—from sales and marketing, to engineering and design, to manufacturing operations. In the late 1990s, Charles championed PMT’s relocation to El Paso, Texas, where it is strategically positioned to serve the unique needs of global manufacturers with maquiladora factories in Mexico.

He continues to play an active role in sales and business development, building and fostering relationships with clients, both large and small, around the world. Charles earned a B.S. degree in Business Management from Villanova University and holds a Masters degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The Fred E. Schwab Education Award

Sponsored by the Detroit Section

Dr. Sarah E. Morgan
University of Southern Mississippi

The Fred E. Schwab Education Award 2014 RecipientDr. Sarah Morgan is a Professor in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at The University of Southern Mississippi. She joined The University in November of 2002 after a fourteen year career in industrial R&D. Her expertise is in the area of polymer surfaces and interfaces. She was awarded the Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics Prize for 2010.

Dr. Morgan’s research focuses on polymer surfaces and interfaces, involving bioinspired polymers and nanomaterials. She has been active in education and outreach at the undergraduate, graduate, and K-12 grade level since joining the University.

She currently serves as director for NSF GK-12, Research Experience for Undergraduates, and Research Experience for Teachers sites, and as co-Director for the Dept. of Education Graduate Assistantship in Areas of National Need program at USM. She established and organizes the annual Undergraduate Research in Polymer Science symposium at the spring national ACS meetings, currently in its tenth year. Morgan had a principal role in establishing two new programs at USM, an on-line master’s degree in polymer science and engineering with emphasis in polymer composites, and a B.S. in polymer science and engineering, the first engineering program at USM. She is active in the ACS POLY, CHED and POLYEd organizations, and served as the elected secretary to the executive board of POLY 2011–2014. Morgan has been a member of SPE since 1987 and she and her students present research at the ANTEC® national meetings.

The Research/Engineering Technology Award

Dr. SureshKumar D. Shah

Research/Engineering Technology Award 2014 RecipieDr. Sureshkumar Shah has 30 years’ of experience in Automotive Industry with General Motors and Delphi (Highest Technical level "Senior Technical Fellow" in last position).

In 1992, his idea of developing a single piece plastics door module, significant part integration, replacing more than 50 metal pieces was a grand success in the industry. For this he received more than seven prestigious awards worldwide. Recently, in 2012, the same application received the prestigious "Hall of Fame" Product Award from the SPE Automotive Division. His work on TPO skin received SPE "Interior Product Innovation Award" in 2000.In 2014, he has been inducted to "Gold Level—Hall of Fame" Innovation Award at Delphi. In 2009, he received the Gold Award as "Scientist of the Year" in Michigan by Engineering Society of Detroit and received a Tribute from Governor of Michigan. He holds 45 Intellectual Properties - 28 US and international Patents, 10 Defensive Publications and 7 Trade Secrets and few applied for. He has more than 70 technical publications.

He is SPE "Technical Fellow", and "Honored Service Member". He was Automotive Division Chairman in 1999-2000 and serving as board member since 1992.

Dr. Shah received his Ph.D. in Plastics Engineering/Polymer Chemistry and M.S. in Plastics Engineering at UMass, Lowell, B.Sc. (Tech) in Plastics at UDCT (ICT), Bombay University and B.Sc. in Chemistry at Gujarat University.