Kerscher succeeds Sheppard

14.01.2020 AIMCAL begins 2020 with a new executive director. Chris Kerscher succeeds Craig Sheppard, who retired at the end of 2019 after 21 years at the helm of the association.

Chris Kerscher, new executive director at AIMCAL.
© Photo: AIMCAL
Chris Kerscher, new executive director at AIMCAL.

Kerscher has worked with international teams and all stages of the plastics and specialty material value chain and brings AIMCAL a strong background in technology, marketing, sales, association management, and strategy.

Evolving markets

“This is an exciting time to join AIMCAL,” he says, noting, “Major markets and applications for coating, laminating, and metallizing are evolving. Dynamic conditions create a favourable environment for AIMCAL to continue successful programmes and simultaneously explore new services aligned with changing industry needs.”

Sheppard notes: “AIMCAL will be in good hands. Chris possesses a really broad range of skills and experience.”

Kerscher’s background includes many years of association board experience, primarily with the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), Flexible Packaging Division where he served as marketing chair (2007-2009), technical programme chair (2013-2015), and board chairman (2016-2018). As the technical programme chair, he was instrumental in coordinating efforts for the first joint AIMCAL/SPE conference (now R2R Conference USA/FlexPackCon). As board chair, he led the volunteer board and motivated committee chairs. He also oversaw the annual budgeting process including operations, fundraising, investments, and scholarships.

Strategic planning experience

He comes to AIMCAL from A. Schulman (Akron, OH), now LyondellBasell, where he most recently served as market development manager for the additive masterbatch business unit. In that position, he directed strategic planning, market development, product management, and pricing. He worked across the value chain supporting resin companies, film extruders, converters, and large global brands.

He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University (Atlanta, GA) and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA).

Impressive career

Sheppard was appointed executive director of AIMCAL (then the Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators) in June 1998. He brought 15 years of experience in the converting industry, including overseeing new business development and global communications at Rexam Custom. One of his first tasks as executive director was to create a member directory (The AIMCAL SourceBook) and expand the association’s web presence. Early on he stressed the global nature of the industry and worked to grow membership and programme offerings beyond North America. During his tenure, membership grew from 103 to nearly 300 companies/organizations, the staff has grown from one to five, and conferences are organised in North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Although he retired at the end of 2019, Sheppard will be involved in AIMCAL’s 50th anniversary celebration at its 2020 Executive Leadership Conference (24-25 March, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, NC).

“Directing AIMCAL has been a wonderful experience,” says Sheppard. “While I am pleased with the progress that AIMCAL has made, I am most excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. AIMCAL will always be driven by its mission and vision to provide value to the membership and the industry,” he concludes.