By Jacob Barron

A vital, dynamic program filled with blockbuster speakers and keen regulatory insights drew a record-setting crowd to the 2015 Compounders Conference last month. From topics as broad as the current state of American politics to subjects as specific as diisononyl phthalate (DINP) in vinyl flooring products, the 26thCompounders Conference proved again why it’s the premier technical, regulatory and business development conference for the flexible vinyl industry. A suite of networking opportunities, including a scenic ride up the Potomac on a river boat, rounded out the program, ensuring that every attendee returned to the office with new knowledge, tools and contacts.

Here’s just a glimpse at what you missed at this year’s Compounders Conference:

-World-Class Economic and Political Keynote Speakers – Martin Regalia, senior vice president & chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opened the conference with an in-depth look at the global economy and America’s place in it, suggesting that a strong dollar and weak growth outside the U.S. could combine to pose a serious threat to American exports, among many other macro-level insights. Regalia’s presentation was followed by an insider’s look at American politics from Howard Fineman, a political analyst for MSNBC and global editorial director of The Huffington Post Media Group. Peppering his presentation with big picture predictions, real strategic political analysis and just the right amount of humor, Fineman offered frank insights about the American political landscape and how that landscape might shift between now and the next presidential election.

-Intense and Up-to-the-Minute Rundowns on Industry Regulations and Standards – From a presentation on Green Building standards delivered by Green Building Initiative Executive Director Vicki Worden, to an update from the Resilient Floor Covering Institute on California’s regulation of Diisononyl Phthalate (DINP) in vinyl flooring products, all the way to a discussion about the current state of play for an update to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) from SPI, the Compounders Conference was where industry professionals went to hear the latest information on relevant standards and regulations from the experts and organizations that know them best.

Howard Fineman

-Complimentary Professional-Grade Headshots – Unique to this year’s Compounders Conference, attendees were able to take advantage of the Headshot Lounge, where they could get their own professionally-taken headshots, complete with the aid of complimentary hair and makeup stylists, that they could take home and use as they see fit for their careers. While waiting for their turn, conference attendees could also mingle with one another while snacking on lite fare and enjoying a refreshing drink or complimentary glass of champagne.

-An Introduction to SPI’s Prop 65 Insurance Plan – Prop 65 in California isn’t merely the nation’s most stringently enforced product-labeling regulation; it’s also an invitation to certain lawyers (referred to at the conference and in the industry as “bounty hunters”) to file frivolous lawsuits against manufacturers, compounders an brand owners under the law in the hopes that the plaintiff will settle despite the absence of any public health risk. This regulation affects companies in California, but also stretches well beyond the state’s boundaries, all the way down the plastics supply chain. Attendees at the Compounders Conference got an in-depth preview of SPI’s forthcoming Prop 65 insurance program, that promises to mitigate the enormous fiscal risks this overzealous, unscientific regulation presents to plastics manufacturers, processors and brand owners. Learn more here.

-Countless Other Relevant Sessions and Chances to Network with Fellow Industry Professionals – Be sure to mark your calendars for the 27thCompounders Conference next year, and in the meantime check out all the benefits SPI’s Flexible Vinyl Products Division (and SPI’s Materials Suppliers Council) has to offer your company.