SPE recently announced newly elected Board of Directors members as well as a newly appointed president. Conor Carlin will assume the position of SPE President starting on January 1st, 2024. The president’s term will run from January 1, 2024, until December 31, 2024. Scott Eastman, Senior Manager R&D – DeWal, Rogers Corporation, will serve as SPE’s President-Elect from January 1, 2024, until December 31, 2024, when he will start his term as SPE president starting on January 1, 2025.
Additionally, two SPE Directors have been elected to the Board of Directors: Margaret Sobkowicz Kline, Professor, Plastics Engineering Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and James Waddell, Managing Partner, Plastic Concepts & Innovation. Each will serve a three-year term from 2024-2027. Also elected was Mubashir Ansari, Associate Research Scientist, Core R&D, Dow Inc., who will serve as Director for a one-year term.
Three others have been appointed to serve one-year terms: Jungmee Kang, Ph.D., Customer Solutions Manager, LG Chem; Ellen Lee, Technical Leader, Ford Motor Company; and Gustavo Nechar, VP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Ascend Performance Materials.
Managing Director, Illig North America
Conor Carlin was the first VP of Sustainability for SPE, elected to the Executive Board in 2017 and again in 2020. A member of SPE since 2000, he serves as editor for SPE Thermoforming and Recycling Division publications. Conor has contributed articles on plastics and sustainability for international industry press and delivered keynotes on plastics and sustainability in the US, Europe, and Asia. He is the co-author and editor of the 2nd edition of Plastics & Sustainability: Grey is the New Green published by Scrivener/Wiley.
Conor spent six years in international business development with a privately-held specialized materials firm, establishing distribution networks in Europe and Asia. In 2019, he was recruited to join ILLIG Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG, a leading Germany-based designer and manufacturer of thermoforming, tooling, and packaging systems where he serves as the Managing Director of the North America subsidiary.
Scott Eastman, Ph.D.
Senior Manager R&D – DeWal, Rogers Corporation
Scott Eastman’s career in the materials and aerospace industries has been a blend of leadership, innovation, and strategic development. Scott’s current role as Senior Manager of R&D at Rogers Corporation's DeWal division has him leading teams toward unified objectives within the company. Scott crafts and executes development roadmaps that align with corporate-wide strategies, integrating marketing, sales, and operations.
Prior to this, Scott's role at Henkel as a Global Key Account Manager in Aerospace included managing over $35M in global sales. His nearly decade-long contribution at United Technologies Research Center showcased his expertise as a Technology/Program Manager and Polymeric Materials Engineer. He not only developed disruptive technology roadmaps but also secured funding for feasibility studies that aligned with business needs.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Scott's involvement with SPE is extensive. His roles as a director, co-chair, vice president, and committee member reflect his commitment to advancing the field and fostering a collaborative community.
Scott's education includes holding a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, alongside a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Mubashir Ansari, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist, Core R&D, Dow Inc.
Mubashir has contributed significantly to the Plastics Industry during his first four years at Dow where he currently holds the position of Associate Research Scientist. His areas of expertise are polymer processing and material development with a particular focus on the use of high throughput research tools. Mubashir has led several projects across multiple applications (rigid packaging, flexible packaging, and automotive) that have resulted in numerous patent applications and commercial product launches.
Mubashir has served SPE in various leadership positions, as a board member of TPE TIG, technical program chair at ANTEC 2023 and 2024, moderator, and journal reviewer. His associations with the academia include leading seminars, guest lectures, and recruitment activities. His education includes a Ph.D. and M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech and undergraduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology (B.H.U.), Varanasi. Mubashir also earned a certification from Stanford Business School on leading through personal excellence.
Throughout his career, Mubashir has focused on innovation in the field of chemical engineering and plastics technology, earning recognition such as the Plastics News' 2022 Rising Star, and demonstrating his dedication to advancing the industry through research, teaching, and leadership. While at Virginia Tech, he served as the Global Ambassador and won the Aspire Award in Courageous leadership category.
Margaret Sobkowicz Kline, Ph.D.
Professor, Plastics Engineering Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Margaret (Meg) brings a wealth of expertise and academic insight to the field of plastics engineering. Her tenure at the University of Massachusetts Lowell's Plastics Engineering Department spans across 12 years of teaching and research, where she focuses on processing-structure-property Relationships and plastics sustainability topics including recycling and bioplastics.
Margaret has served SPE through many roles, spanning leadership, technical program curation, and directorship within divisions and sections, notably in the Bioplastics and Renewable Technologies Division and the Eastern New England Section.
Her academics began at Columbia Engineering where she earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. She continued her education at the Colorado School of Mines, where she earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. She is also active in the Society of Women Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and the Polymer Processing Society.
Managing Partner, Plastic Concepts & Innovation
For over two decades, James (Jay) has been at the helm of Plastic Concepts & Innovations (PCI), a consulting firm specializing in heavy-gauge/cut-sheet thermoforming. As Managing Partner, Jay has led PCI's process improvements and project management for cut sheet Thermoforming. His company played a pivotal role in TPO extrusion technology and thermoforming development in Thermoplastics Olefins(TPOs).
James’ contributions reach across many industries, from automotive to recreation, collaborating with companies like Guardian, Chrysler, GM, Hunter Yachts, and Coleman recreation vehicles. Additionally, he has focused on thermoformed TPO exterior parts for major automobile manufacturers.
Beyond PCI, James’ leadership extends to the academic area where he served as the Vice President for Administration at ACBA, a specialized college focused on artisanal building techniques.
James has been active in SPE since 1988, where he has held multiple leadership roles, including Conference Chair and Treasurer-Director, contributing significantly to the Thermoforming Division's growth and advancement.
James’ military background as a retired Lt. Colonel from the US Army and the South Carolina National Guard reflects his commitment to service. His education began with receiving a B.A. in Political Science from the Citadel, followed by graduate studies, cementing a foundation for a diverse and impactful career spanning engineering, business, and leadership.
Jungmee Kang, Ph.D
Customer Solutions Manager, LG Chem
Jungmee has a wide variety of professional and cultural experiences, having worked in tire and semiconductor companies and having studied engineering in Korean and American universities. With an extensive background in R&D, she recently started a management career by becoming a director of a Korean petrochemical company in the US.
Ellen Lee, Ph.D.
Technical Leader, Ford Motor Company
Ellen is the Technical Leader for Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Polymer Technologies for Research & Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company. She has been responsible for the development and implementation of novel polymer-based technologies over her 25-year tenure at Ford including nanomaterials, sustainable materials and processes, and polymer additive manufacturing. In 2014, she established Ford’s dedicated AM research program to enable its use to drive product innovation, enhance quality, and improve efficiency and flexibility in manufacturing. Ellen received her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and her Doctorate (Ph.D.) degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. She serves on the executive committee of ASTM F42, as an advisor for the SME AM Technical Community, and actively participates with organizations including USCAR, SWE, and Women in 3D Printing.
VP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Ascend Performance Materials
Gustavo serves as the vice president and chief human resources officer at Ascend Performance Materials, where he has led a cultural transformation by fostering and championing efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainability; global expansion and a focus on specialty products. Before joining Ascend in 2017, he held leadership roles at Dresser-Rand, WABCO Vehicle Control Systems, Valeo and Citrosuco, a Brazilian food and beverage company.
SPE Board of Directors
As of January 1, 2024, SPE’s current Board of Directors is: