Robert DeRoma, senior vice president at Interplastic Corporation

Education is a driving force within the composites industry. Interplastic (IP) Corporation has spent the last 13 years working with ACMA to enrich the lives of our future composites leaders through its Scholars Award program.

Robert DeRoma, senior vice president at IP Corporation, has been active in the composites industry for more than 35 years. IP Corporation selected five well-deserved high school graduates who will receive $2,000 to be used toward their studies at a four-year college or university of their choice.

CM Interviews caught up with DeRoma to discuss IP Corporation’s Scholars Award program and the programs impact on the composites industry.

What does the Scholars Award program mean to Interplastic Corporation?

The Scholars Award program gives IP Corporation the opportunity to recognize the excellence in today’s youth.

Why was this program started?

We wanted to contribute to the composites industry by recognizing the children of the parents who are members of ACMA. The program is also a way for Interplastic to contribute to educating the employees in the industry – something that is important to the company.

How has this scholarship program changed the way IP Corporation views early composites education?

We are in a very technical industry and employ many individuals who earn multiple and advanced college degrees. We respect those accomplishments and encourage advanced education. The scholarship program is a method to encourage and support education.

Why should a young person consider a career in composites?

Composites are the materials of the future with thermoset resins, fiberglass and coring materials as the building blocks. Composites today continue to replace basic materials such as steel, aluminum, wood and concrete in a myriad of applications. They have become the material of choice in the corrosion field, in aviation, and now in wind energy.

What can the composites industry do as a whole to educate students about composites and encourage more composite usage?

The industry must develop physical property and design information that can be used in our engineering schools. It must also develop outreach programs with universities and colleges with composite and material science programs to better understand their needs.

How much money have you invested in scholarships since the beginning of the program?

We have invested more than $130,000 over the 13 years that the program has been in existence.

In the last 13 years, has there been substantial growth in the number of applicants?

There has been steady growth since the inception of the program and we’ve reached our highest numbers to date in 2012. In 2008 we had 54 applicants and in 2013 that number jumped to 88.


Learn more about the Scholars Award program at IP Corporation and how to apply, here.