Mike Biddle

Keynote Speaker - Dr. Mike Biddle

Founder and Director
MBA Polymers

“Untangling Systems for Streamlined Material Flow”

Winner of the Gothenburg Sustainability Prize in 2012.

Dr. Biddle started MBA over 19 years ago – literally from his garage. He has since grown his company to what is now the world’s leading multi-national company recovering plastics from end-of-life durable goods, such as computers, electronics, business equipment, appliances and automobiles. MBA is headquartered in Richmond, California and has over 300 million pounds per year of processing capacity in the US, Europe and China to turn waste into plastics for use right back into the same types of products from which they came. Some of the largest manufacturers in the world use MBA’s plastics to replace virgin plastics in their new products.

Willem De Vos

Society of Plastics Engineers

Willem De Vos became CEO of the Society of Plastics Engineers in January 2012.
SPE is a Knowledge and Networking organisation active in the plastics industry world wide, SPE is active in 30 countries and has about 30 divisions and 70 regional sections with members in 84 countries around the world.

He is Master in Chemical & Polymer Engineering from the university of Gent, Belgium. He also holds Executive MBA from the Vlerick Management School in Belgium and is a certified London Business School Senior Executive Program holder. He is a resident of Belgium and speaks Dutch, English, French, German, and some Italian.

He began his career in 1991 at Eurocompound, a leading European supplier of rubber emulsion compounds and coatings to the textile, automotive, and paper industries.

In 1996, he transferred to Recticel, a world leader in the manufacture of polyurethane products. He started as the sales manager of the automotive materials division, and became the business unit manager a few years later, overseeing plants in Detroit, Michigan, and Belgium. In 2004, he was appointed business unit director of Recticel Interior Solutions. Based in Germany, he was responsible for several European and Asian car brands. In addition to his responsibilities in Europe, he set up Recticel’s first factory in China, and was as a board member of a Japanese joint venture.

In 2008, Mr. De Vos joined Vitalo, a leading global supplier of plastics packaging and thermoformed plastic components, as their vice president. In October 2009, he became Vitalo’s CEO. As head of the Vitalo Group, he oversaw an enterprise with worldwide factories and sales offices, including locations in Europe, the USA, Mexico, India, Thailand, China, Japan, and the Philippines.

Mr De Vos currently holds several non-executive board positions and is an advisor to boards of some institutions and companies. He is also a renowned speaker at conferences around the world on diverse topics in the Plastics Industry.

Keynote Speaker - Steve Russell

VP - Plastics Division
American Chemistry Council

“Collaborations to Develop Systems that Harness the Value of Waste”

Steven Russell joined the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in 1995 and currently serves as Vice President for the Plastics Division. In that capacity he leads the Division’s solutions-oriented programs, scientific research and public outreach regarding product innovations and solutions. Through value chain and other partnerships the Division is driving efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover plastics, and to provide sustainable solutions to prevent litter, increase recycling, and address marine debris. At ACC, Mr. Russell has previously served as Senior Legal Counsel and as Senior Director for Health, Products and Science Policy. Mr. Russell earned a BA from the University of Kansas in 1984, and a JD from California Western School of Law in 1987.

Brad La Force

CEO and General Partner and Business Development Consultant
DEEP and La Force LP

“Plastic – How it can Become More Valuable than Cement”

Brad is CEO of DEEP and General Partner and Business Development Consultant for La Force LP. Mr. La Force manages a team who provides over a hundred small business owners with marketing strategies, outsourcing tactics, data collection and analysis, education, communication processes, and live event management for measurable revenue growth and loss mitigation. Mr. La Force helped found La
Force LP in 2003 when he developed a marketing and communication education program specifically designed for small and medium sized business. Through his work at La Force LP, Mr. La Force was retained as a Board Member for Recon
Mining Incorporated, helping facilitate capital raise and logistical solutions for production and sales capacity, Mr. La Force has served on Recon Mining Inc.’s board since 2010.

Prior to this he specialized in feeder style funding and micro accounts for private individuals at Harvestrade International where he cultivated relationships with local government, newspapers, and business associations. Mr. La Force honed his specialized knowledge and experience when he moved on to private taxation and audit representation firm Conley Wilson & Ballou, specializing in individual and estates of high net-worth clients. Mr. La Force maintains more than 100 corporate, estate and high net- worth individual clients with assets over $300M.

Monique Maissan

Founder and CEO

“Bottles to Textiles – Developing Circular Systems for Water Protection”

Monique is a China-based Dutch entrepreneur, specializing
in high quality textile products. A self-confessed “China-enthusiast.” She set up Vision Textiles in 1998, which has grown into a fully-fledged fashion group with its own manufacturing bases in China and India, and sales offices in America, Malaysia, India, Europe.

In 2011 she began “Waste2Wear”; Textile products made from recycled plastic bottles. Using new techniques in order to create very thin yarns suitable to be used alone or in combination with eco-friendly natural fibers. Vision Textiles offers a full circle solutions through partnering up with local waste-management companies, collecting plastic PET and shipping it with reversed logistics back to China in order to create products for the initial donor region, which include school uniforms and medical gowns.

Dr. Denise Hardesty

Senior Research Scientist, Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship

“Talking Trash: Upstream sources and opportunities to reduce litter inputs”

Dr. Denise Hardesty has been leading a portfolio of marine debris projects the last several years which is resulting in global recognition of Australia’s role in leading cutting-edge marine debris work of high value and impact. A broadly trained scientist who has worked on all seven continents, she brings a unique understanding to environmental issues.

Increasingly, Ms. Hardesty has been called on to serve as a leader for marine debris fora and as a science expert providing information to the federal government, to non-government organizations, to industry parties within Australia and internationally, and to other stakeholders focused on marine debris impacts at a multitude of spatiotemporal scales. In her ghost nets work, she has been a key player at national and international workshops with government, industry, fisheries and other stakeholders aiming to reduce this transboundary issue. She also works intensively with citizen scientists of all ages to find on-ground solutions to litter related problems affecting us all. The popular media interest in her work (television, radio, print and electronic) demonstrates her skill as an effective science communicator.

More amazing speakers will be announced soon!