Huntington Beach – The Western Plastics Pioneers Hall of Fame selection for 2018 is Ed Laird, founder and owner of Laird Coatings Corporation. Ed is currently the Secretary of the Western Plastics Pioneers. Ed ex-pressed shock and surprise when in-formed of his selection. His hard work on industry issues and solutions make him an excellent selection for this award.
Ed Laird’s career in polymers began early, when he was hired for a summer job working in the coatings lab for Chrysler in Michigan. He went on to earn a degree in polymer science from RM Technical Institute in Michigan.
Ed recognized the opportunities that the plastics industry presented while he was a chemist work-ing for the Andrew Brown Company during the 1960s. When Mr. Andrew Brown was asked to develop a coat-ing for plastic for the aerospace industry he gave the challenge to Ed Laird. Ed, working as the chief coatings chemist, welcomed the opportunity, an opportunity that would open the door to his future. Mr. Brown told Ed, ‘Our company is not interested in developing coatings for plastics, but if you are, we will sup-port your efforts.’
The goal was to achieve adhesion to plastics like ABS, Lexan ®, Styrene, Polypropylene, Cellulous Acetate Butyrate and others. And, that was the beginning of a comp-any that moved three times in forty years as it grew into a multi-million coatings company creating compatible coatings to protect plastic parts for companies like Boeing, Hewlett Packard, Apple, Mattel (Barbie’s Lips), Plastics Dress-Up (Trophies), Sony TV bezels, and Oakley lenses.
Early on he recognized the importance of working with plastics suppliers like General Electric, Kodak, Borg Warner, etc. recognizing that there was a need for coatings that would adhere to plastics without causing part failure. It was that close contact with those suppliers that set the stage for a growing company, with ever expanding markets, and untapped potential. He developed coatings for trophies, air-plane windows and canopies, computer housings, keyboards, toys, and vacuum metalized plastics.
Truly, Laird Coatings helped to drive industry applications and growth through his pioneering development of coatings . These new coatings could enhance the appearance and/or performance of plastic substrates.. Plastics now could intrude on the markets previously dominated by glass, wood and metal where weather ability, chemical resistance, or color stability presented performance issues for plastics .
In 1982 Ed was elected President of the SPE driving several initiatives including unifying 5 separate divisions creating the largest SPE section by membership numbers. He worked to change minds, attitudes, and rules working closely with agencies like the Los Angeles Air Pollution District, later known as the Air Pollution Control District in Southern California. That agency set air quality standards for the entire region. He chaired the Society of Plastics Industry (SPI) Political Action Committee from 1996 to 2000.
Ed laird is not just a visionary plastics pioneer. He is a community activist. He is an active Executive with the Boy Scouts of America, and has been the chairman of several other community organizations including the American Cancer Society of Orange County, Orange County Cancer and Education Foundation, Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Kiwanis, and The Lincoln Training Center for the Developmentally Disabled to name just a few. He has been honored by more than 20 different community organizations for his work to better the lives of others.
Ed’s contributions and industry influence have set a high standard for a Western Plastics Pioneer Hall of Fame Inductee. He is forward thinking, honest, influential, trusted, confident, respected and respectful. As a communicator, an activist, influential change agent, a risk taker, and a motivator, Ed has a long track record of performance and service.