Normally, Bill Carteaux, the longtime Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) President and CEO, would use this page to share his thoughts on the progress the plastics industry has made in the area of recycling. However, Carteaux died the morning of Dec. 10, 2018, from complications associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Plastics Recycling is using this page instead to remember the man, who was more than just an inspiring, larger-than-life leader for the industry. He was also a dear friend to those who were lucky enough to know him. Carteaux will be remembered for his skillful leadership of PLASTICS and the strong personal ties he maintained across all sectors of the industry.
Born the youngest of four siblings in Avilla, Indiana, his strong Hoosier roots led him to earn his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University and his master’s degree at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Prior to moving to Washington to head PLASTICS in 2005, Carteaux had a more than 20-year career in the plastics industry, including working his way to president of vertical injection press manufacturer Autojectors Inc., then as co-managing director of Demag Plastics Group. The deep industry knowledge and wide-ranging roster of contacts he gained in those years proved invaluable as he took the reins of PLASTICS.
He faced perhaps his greatest leadership challenge as all sectors of the industry were shaken by the Great Recession that began in late 2007. As the 2009 NPE trade show neared, he faced the bleak prospect of plummeting attendance. Many major exhibitors were teetering on the brink of pulling out of the show because of the dire financial straits they were in.
His reaction was to push ahead, traveling to meet with industry leaders in Japan and Europe. His ability to build strong relationships was put to the test as he negotiated steep discounts to secure exhibitors’ attendance and won approval from the officers of his association to take the steps that would put the group more than $3 million in the red.
Carteaux’s gamble paid off in the end, with NPE remaining a viable trade show that has grown over the years—2018’s show was the largest in its history.
He was recognized for his leadership many times over the years, perhaps most notably when he was inducted into the Plastics Industry Hall of Fame in 2015, the youngest person ever to be so honored.
Carteaux persevered professionally and personally as he struggled against AML, an aggressive form of blood cancer. Even as he went through rounds of chemotherapy, remission and relapse, he served as the corporate chair of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2018 Capital Area Light the Night events.
Carteaux’s family asks that people keep his mission alive by donating to his Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night team at https://pages.lightthenight.org/nca/WashDC18/invincibill.