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President Leaves a Legacy of Success
Rich Gottwald, president of the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), recently announced his resignation, ending a nearly 10-year tenure with the trade association that represents all segments of the polyethylene piping industry.
Since assuming the leadership role at PPI, Gottwald has worked to transition the organization from one with a predominantly technical focus to one that also encompasses marketing and outreach programs. In addition, he has worked to significantly increase membership that currently stands at an all-time high of 139. Eleven new members have joined PPI in 2005 alone.
“It was an honor to serve the members of this outstanding association,” Gottwald said. “The organizations that make up PPI should be proud of their accomplishments over the past 10 years. I’m thrilled to have been a part of that success.”
Gottwald oversaw a multi-million dollar annual budget at PPI and helped to raise the awareness in the marketplace that piping made from polyethylene (PE) is a cost-effective solution for a broad range of applications including municipal, industrial, marine, mining, landfill, duct, drainage, plumbing and heating.
Today, more than 90% of the pipe installed for the natural gas distribution industry in the U.S. and Canada is plastic, and of that, 99% is polyethylene. PE is the material of choice not only in North America, but also worldwide.
“Rich has diligently served this organization and helped PPI grow and progress toward achievement of many of its objectives during his tenure, including adopting a business development focus,” said PPI member and chairman of the board Kurt Waldhauer.
A third-party certification program for corrugated high-density PE pipe was established under Gottwald’s leadership in the late 1990s. The list of technical documents published by PPI has grown significantly in the last 10 years. And the visibility of PPI in the trade media, thanks in large part to Gottwald’s vision, has helped enhance the organization’s reputation as a trusted source for information on all aspects of the piping industry.
Gottwald obtained a BS in plastics engineering in 1983 from the University of Lowell in Lowell, Mass. He spent time as a product development engineer at Fortifiber Corp. in Attleboro, Mass. before joining Dow Chemical Co. in Freeport, Texas, where he spent three years as a research engineer. In 1987 Gottwald joined the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., where he served as the industry’s chief lobbyist on the use of plastics in building and construction.
His resignation from PPI is effective Dec. 2. He has accepted a position as executive vice president of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation based in Ballston, Va.