SPOTLIGHT: Greg Bunker
Why join TAPPI?
That’s a question many of our industries’ professionals ask themselves. They may ask during college, or maybe as a Young Professional. Sometimes it’s even when they’ve hit mid-career stage. Notwithstanding when they ask, most individuals cite knowledge and information, followed closely by the ability to network with similarly focused professionals, as the reasons to join.
For member Greg Bunker, it was all of the above.
A 20-plus year veteran with Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, Greg turned to TAPPI membership nearly 10 years ago. Why? His immediate answer is simple: networking. But he also points to training and educational offerings that he’s attended. Both, he maintains, have fostered his success.
“In my years with Dow, I’ve worked in several areas,” Greg notes, “including manufacturing, marketing, technical services and development, and business leadership for polyethylene resins, specialty resins, and adhesives.” As he transitioned through these fields, he turned to TAPPI for course work and conferences to supplement his current knowledge and experience.
Today, Greg serves as the Global Business Director for Dow Adhesives where he is responsible for providing a broad array of specialty materials including laminate adhesives, pressure sensitive adhesives, heat seal coatings, and acrylic binders to global packaging and textiles and nonwovens markets. He was also recently tapped to serve as keynote speaker for TAPPI’s 2016 NETInc Conference in Cincinnati, OH, May 15 – 18. This year’s conference is co-located with PaperCon2016.
NETInc is organized by the Nonwovens Engineers and Technologists (NET) Division of TAPPI. It is a forum for nonwovens professionals and academics to share information encouraging research innovations, new product development and industry growth. The conference is built on a foundation of strong technical presentations combined with targeted networking opportunities. In his address, Greg will share new, innovative strategies to grow the nonwovens market in a dynamic world environment.
Greg points to NETInc as a perfect example of using TAPPI resources for on-the-job expertise. “TAPPI has been the leading technical proponent of flexible packaging,” he said. “Many other industrial associations have promoted flexible packaging, but only TAPPI has had the key technical focus.”
Q. Why Did You Decide To Join TAPPI?
A. Mainly because of the networking potential with customers, equipment manufacturers, and other professionals. TAPPI is the place to be for flexible packaging and nonwovens.
Q. How has TAPPI helped you in your career pursuits?
A. First, when I transitioned from plastics manufacturing to technical service, TAPPI offered a training course which made it very easy to understand how our company’s products were used in the flexible packaging and nonwovens industries. Secondly, TAPPI conferences give us the opportunity to share our company’s new innovations and test them with other members to understand their potential value and uniqueness in the market.
Q. Tell us about some of your interests outside of TAPPI and your professional life.
A. I enjoy cooking, especially Cajun, Creole, Thai, and other styles from places I have lived (Greg hones his amateur chef skills in the photo to the right). I also like music, playing drums, bass, electric guitar, and cello in our church’s band. Physics, too. I like pretending I can understand relativity and quantum mechanics. I also appreciate volunteering with my company to drive STEM engagement as an ambassador when I am not travelling.
Q. Can you share a unique or fun fact about yourself?
A. My first cousin is an actress who has starred in more than 20 movies in Hollywood. Probably best known for roles in Crossing Jordan, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,Anchorman, Step Brothers, and We’re the Millers.
Q. TAPPI celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. Would you provide a few thoughts on what you believe have been the most significant contributions/breakthroughs in areas of our industry? Also, what is your favorite paper or packaging product?
A. TAPPI’s most significant contribution is providing a place for the paper, pulp, plastics, and nonwovens industries that perfectly balances the commercial and technical needs of the industry.
Flexible SUP for viscous materials. Things like peanut butter, tahini, etc. Being able to both mix and evacuate a package full of highly viscous material is an unbeatable advantage of flexible packaging.
Q. Closing sentiments?
A. TAPPI has caused me to appreciate that in spite of the continual external pressures around sustainability, litter, and other kinds of issues, our industry works for the betterment of mankind. There is no doubt that our industry improves the quality of life for consumers and has certainly raised the standard of living for billions of people in the way that we make food transportation safe and cost effective, as well as providing non-woven materials that add tremendous value to so many products in use today.
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