Plastics Hall of Fame to Induct 2021 Members

December 23, 2020

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), has cancelled the in-person components of NPE2021: The Plastics Show, due to COVID-19 concerns. You can read more about the cancellation here.

Despite these changes to the 2021 event, leaders from the global plastics machinery, training, packaging, materials and trade association sectors will still proudly welcome this year’s inductees into the Plastics Hall of Fame. Alternate arrangements for the ceremony are being made and will be announced when they are finalized.

“We are proud of the 2021 class of the Plastics Hall of Fame. The winners come from all across the globe and represent many different disciplines,” said Jay Gardiner, President of the Plastics Academy. “In this difficult year, we look to these inductees as a reaffirmation of the vitality and strength of the plastics industry.”

“The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) founded the Hall of Fame to recognize the industry leaders who make up this impactful industry, and we are continuing the rich tradition by honoring those who shine in their careers and contribute to science and society,” said PLASTICS President & CEO Tony Radoszewski.

The Plastics Academy inducts living members into the Hall of Fame every three years. The new members are:

Yoshiharu Inaba is a pioneer in all-electric injection molding technology. Inaba joined Japan’s Fanuc Corp. in 1983. That same year, the company decided to focus on electrifying injection presses to make them more efficient and precise, using Fanuc’s computer numerical control expertise. Fanuc introduced the first worldwide mass-production-type all-electrical injection machine, the Autoshot, in 1985. Today the company estimates there are more than 200,000 all-electric machines in the world. Inaba, who holds more than 110 design patents, is chairman of Fanuc.

Mayumi Kotani is president of Kyoto, Japan-based Yushin Precision Equipment Co. Ltd., a leading maker of take-out robots for injection-molded products. Kotani helped start the company in 1973, and Yushin entered the market for takeout robots in 1978. She served as vice president of sales for 12 years before being named president in 2002. Under her guidance, the company rapidly expanded overseas and has received multiple awards for its optimally designed robots.

Kotani is the fourth woman to be inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame.

Salvatore Monte is president and co-owner of Kenrich Petrochemicals Inc., holder of numerous patents and has been an active member of numerous plastics industry groups for decades. He is recognized as an expert in the development and commercialization of coupling and compatiblizing agents. Monte holds 31 U.S. patents; has authored numerous technical papers, journal articles and book chapters; and authored a popular reference manual on titanates, zirconates and aluminates. His first commercial titanate was hailed as a new coupling agent for filled polyethylene in 1974. He is a member, fellow and honorary service member in the Society of Plastics Engineers and a longtime leader of the Plastics Pioneers Association.

Peter Neumann led injection press maker Engel Holding GmbH through a period of rapid global growth and also served as president of Euromap, the European committee of manufacturers of plastic and rubber machinery. When Neumann joined Engel in the early 1980s, the company had 783 employees. As manager of purchasing, material planning and logistics, Engel was the first press maker to make machine platens from steel instead of cast iron. The company’s global operations grew rapidly in the 1990s, thanks to other innovations including tire-barless and two-platen machines. With Neumann as CEO, Engel’s sales grew from 76 million euros to 1.36 billion euros.

Donald Paulson is a veteran educator of plastics processing with nine U.S. and European patents. He launched his career in 1963 when he developed a plastics processing research laboratory at General Motors Institute. Using the results of his research, in 1968 he started Control Process Inc., the first company to use cavity pressure to control machine injection pressure. The company was sold in 1980, and he started Paulson Training Programs Inc., now a leading provider of online interactive and seminar plastics technical training. In 1998, he was named one of the six most important inventors in the plastics industry. Paulson received the SPE Lifetime Engineering and Technical Achievement Award in 2006.

Joseph Prischak is the founder of Plastek Group, a major global injection molding and toolmaker, based in Erie, Pa. He’s also a supporter of plastics industry training and a noted philanthropist. With two partners, he founded Triangle Tool Co., a leader in mold design and manufacturing, in 1956. They moved into plastics molding in 1971 and expanded to Europe, Brazil and Mexico. He is considered the father of the Plastics Engineering Technology program at Penn State Erie, which has produced more than 1,000 graduates and is the largest undergraduate plastics program in the country. Prischak also is the founder of African 6000 International, a nonprofit that drills deep freshwater wells across the African continent.

Ulrich Reifenhäuser joined German extrusion machinery group Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. in 1983 and, with his brothers Klaus and Bernd, built the family company into a global firm with leading technology for high-performance blown film and nonwoven materials. Reifenhäuser has been the chairman of the K show since 2004, has played an active role in VDMA and frequently acts as spokesman for the German plastics machinery community. He currently serves as his company’s chief sales officer. During his tenure, the firm’s sales have grown from 142 million euros to more than 500 million euros.

Wylie Royce is a plastics materials supplier executive who is also well known for his trade association leadership. Royce is executive vice president of colorant and specialty chemicals company Royce Global, and a partner and director of Royce International. Royce International is a supplier and manufacturer of epoxy resins, hardeners, diluents and specialty chemicals used in the coatings, construction, electronics and aerospace industries. Royce is currently Past Chairman of the Plastics Industry Association and Treasurer of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Packaging Materials committee. He is a board member of the Foodservice Packaging Institute, as well as a member of Health Beauty America’s Technical Advisory Board. He holds a U.S. patent in a proprietary method utilizing electron beam modification of resin to create marbleized colorant effects for injection molded products.

Suresh Shah developed and commercialized important automotive plastics innovations and also served in numerous roles for the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The retired General Motors and Inteva engineer was the first to invent and introduce the plastics module concept 27 years ago, leading a team that designed and developed the all-plastic door inner module dubbed the SuperPlug. The component, which replaced 50 metal pieces, was the first and most complex part commercialized using gas injection molding technology. He has served in numerous volunteer roles with SPE, including as a board member and chairman of the automotive division. In 2017, he received the division’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Vince Witherup carried the torch for the U.S. plastics industry around the world as an executive at Franklin, Pa.-based auxiliary equipment maker Conair Group Inc. and as an ambassador for the NPE trade show. He has been involved in plastics for more than 50 years, beginning as a salesman at Conair and working his way up to executive vice president. Witherup has held volunteer leadership positions for the Society of Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI), now the Plastics Industry Association. He served as chairperson of the NPE2000 show, where he was honored as SPI’s International Businessperson of the Year. He has been active in the Plastics Pioneers Association for more than 20 years.

The Plastics Hall of Fame was founded in 1972. Criteria for membership include:

  • Significant invention or breakthrough
  • Development of outstanding product, market or business endeavor
  • Long and valuable service to the industry
  • Record of constructive collaboration with government, regulatory, academic or other industry groups

In 2019–2020, the Academy received a total of 38 nominations, the largest number to date. The Academy Board, made up of industry, press, and academia, served as the initial screening committee, and the final vote was from the living members of the Hall of Fame. To learn more about the Plastics Hall of Fame, as well as future election cycles go to

About NPE2021: The Plastics Show and Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)

Recognized as the largest plastics event in the Americas, NPE2021 brings together the most innovative plastics solutions in one place. Held every three years, NPE® attracts plastic professionals and features industry-focused education and leading suppliers of emerging technologies, equipment, and materials for every phase of plastics processing. The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), producer of NPE, is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, representing over one million workers in the $432 billion U.S. industry. For more information, visit and connect with PLASTICS on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube.