Bonnie Webster has been the vice president of Monroe Industries since 2005 and has been in the composites industry since 2000. She received a degree in business and design and is currently on the International Cast Polymer Association (ICPA) Board of Directors, the ICPA Marketing Committee and the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) Green Composites Committee, which is hosting a Green Composites Workshop on June 21-22 in Chicago. In the past six months, Monroe Industries has won two ACMA Pinnacle Awards, a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)-NY Environmental Leader Award and an EPA Environmental Quality Award.
What is your focus and how does it apply to the composites industry?
Our three main manufacturing targets for 2011 are shower systems, green materials and improving indoor work space. We’ve always focused on custom, unique showers and within the last few years added manufacturing with green material to our focus.
As far as work space is concerned, we transfer materials on rollers, so there is minimal carrying; try to organize better; put timers on our lights and recycle our product. We installed a new heat exchanger so our employees constantly have fresh air in the building—now if I could just get them to stop smoking!
What are important “green” topics in the cast polymer and composites industries?
I joined ACMA’s Green Composites Committee because I’m committed to green manufacturing. What ICPA members need, small shops in particular, are ways to get green certification. We need to have a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) done on our industry. We also need more product certification. There should be no need for each company to spend $30,000 on third party certifications, especially when only a small percentage of their products are green products.
What are common questions fellow manufactures ask about your green processes?
Overall, other manufacturers are not interested in green processes. Within the industry there is often a fear of new innovation. If I go into a shoe store in August and then go back in October, they better not have the same shoes—it’s the same with our industry! We need new products and continued innovation. Sure, have a sample of white-on-white cast polymer but display the latest and greatest. I see manufacturers struggling with change. They’re afraid to put money back in business. They say business is bad, which is sad because we have such great products if people take the time to learn how to use them. As a company we proactively invest in our business and are seeing quadruple-fold success.