The industry's best Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference for processors! | November 3 - 5, 2021 


The goal of the Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference is to help plastics companies improve their operations and tactics in order to impact bottom-line profits. This year’s Benchmarking and Best Practices conference will address leadership, operational best practices, the latest financial benchmarks, sales and marketing, and the impact of employees on the bottom-line and much more.

The Conference staff has created a schedule packed with best practices, leading-edge benchmarks, expert presentations and the best networking opportunities in the industry.

The conference planning committee is actively monitoring the incidence of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in our region. We are following guidance from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding large gatherings, including CDC recommendations on preventing the spread of COVID-19.




New this year, attendees can choose an in-person or virtual registration. Virtual registration will grant access to the entire Conference library of recorded content, including, keynote speakers from the main stage and all breakouts. It's the next best thing to being in person! Please note, the virtual library will be available the week following the Conference. All in-person attendees will also have access to this virtual platform.

All the sessions will be recorded at the live event and will be available to attendees in the Conference library beginning Monday, November 8th.

The recordings will be on-demand, meaning attendees can watch them in whatever order works best for them.

PLEASE NOTE: The Conference schedule BELOW is for the live event only, November 3-5. All virtual library information will be emailed to attendees on Monday, November 8. There are no virtual events Nov. 3-5.

COVID-19 Safety info here.





In-Person pricing:

MAPP Members Through August 20, 2021 After August 20, 2021
Individual $799 $899
Group Discount (4+) $689 $789
Lunch and Learn $69 $69

Virtual pricing:

MAPP Members Through August 20, 2021 After August 20, 2021
Individual $399 $499
Company-wide (flat price) $1,799 $1,799

NON-MEMBERS (Processors Only):

In-Person pricing:

Non-Members Through August 20, 2021 After August 20, 2021
Individual $1,069 $1,069
Lunch and Learn $69 $69

Virtual pricing:

Non-Members Through August 20, 2021 After August 20, 2021
Individual $559 $659

Industry Service Providers (or sponsors):

If you are a company that provides a service to the plastics industry please contact Letha Keslar about attending this event. You can reach Letha at 317-913-2440 or

PLEASE NOTE: The following schedule is for the live event only, November 3-5. All virtual library information will be emailed to attendees on Monday, November 8. There are no virtual events Nov. 3-5.

Wednesday, November 3rd

Pre-Con Programming Begins

This includes:

2:00 PM                     Paulson Training

2:30 PM                     DELMIAWorks

3:00 PM                     Young Professional Training session

3:30 PM                     M&A Discussion and Craft Beer Sampling

4:00 PM                      Progressive Components

1:00 PM                     Sponsors/Exhibitors Move-In

5:30 PM                     Registration

                                     Sponsored by DelmiaWorks

5:30 PM                     Industry Welcome Reception (adjourns at 7 PM)

Featuring the Building Leaders of Character Alumni Reception

Thursday, November 4th

7:00 AM                     Registration Opens

                                    Sponsored by DelmiaWorks

7:00 AM                     Breakfast with Omelet Station

                                    Sponsored by Chase Plastics

8:00 AM                    Conference Welcome and Troy Nix Keynote

8:20 AM                     The Dream Manager, Matthew Kelly

Once every twenty-five years or so a concept comes along that perfectly identifies a common problem and teaches us a new way. The Dream Manager is that concept. The simple truth is this: The destiny of your organization and the destiny of the people who drive your organization are inseparably linked. The great majority of the people in the workplace today are activelydisengaged at some level. To varying extents they don’t feel connected to the work they do, the organizations they work in, or the people they work with. No single factor is affecting morale, efficiency, productivity, sustainable growth, and profitability more than this disengagement. The Dream Manager concept provides a revolutionary way of reversing this crippling trend and demonstrates how organizations large and small can actively engage their people once again, thus creating a competitive advantage of monumental proportions.

In this presentation, Matthew explains the powerful connection between employees’ personal dreams and a corporation’s ability to achieve goals and sustain growth. Exploring the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy organizations, he demonstrates that a company cannot expect to attract and retain the employees necessary to guarantee sustainable growth and profitability unless that company can help those same employees move in the direction of their personal dreams and ambitions. Using an array of practical examples, he illustrates the broad application of the Dream Manager concept and demonstrates how, in different areas of our lives, we all take on the role of the Dream Manager.

9:40 AM                     Networking Break amongst the Sponsors

                                    Sponsored by Aurora Plastics, LLC

10:10 AM                  State of the Plastics Industry - Managing the Chaos, Laurie Harbour, Harbour Results, Inc.

In 2021 MAPP launched its Plastics Benchmarking Study powered by Harbour Results, Inc. The comprehensive study looked at every aspect of the plastics industry establishing a benchmark, uncovering issues positively and negatively impacting the industry and identifying best practices. Laurie Harbour will provide a state of the plastics processing industry highlighting key areas of opportunity and important trends that must be addressed as well as provide a glimpse into what the best-in--class processors are doing.

11:10 AM                   BC LAB Session One

The BC LABS are comprised of a series of parallel presentation sessions or learning tracks suggested for each functional area below. Each BC LAB is designed to equip attendees with indispensable insights, advice, and tools to achieve the mission-critical priorities of today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Below are the learning tracks for the 2021 Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference LABS:

• Executive Stakeholders/Owners

• Leadership

• Senior Leaders (Presidents/VPs)

• Human Resources/Safety

• Sales & Marketing

• Operations/Engineering

• CFOs/Finance/IT

Since the theory is different than practical implementation, this year the BC LABS will be presented by processors. Attendees will learn from their peers.

12:10 PM       Lunch and Learn with Keynote Phil Van Hooser

Food for the stomach, food for the mind.  You get both by participating in the 2021 Benchmarking and Best Practices "Lunch and Learn" with leadership authority, Phillip Van Hooser.  You may remember Phil and his virtual keynote, The Unpardonable Sins of Leadership, from our 2020 Conference.  This year, Phil is back and in-person with us to share "commandments" all leaders should know and follow for long-term leadership success.  Plan to seize this opportunity to break bread with colleagues and to meet Phil during this special learning opportunity.  (Ticket Only Event)

Lunch Sponsored by RJG

Or Networking Lunch

Take a break from the educational sessions to catch up with peers and meet new Benchmarking Conference attendees during this traditional networking lunch. (No tickets needed.)

Lunch Sponsored by RJG

1:20 PM                     BC LAB Session Two

2:30 PM                     Networking Break amongst the Sponsors

Sponsored by Aurora Plastics, LLC

2:50 PM                     Tax Policy Update and New Tax Incentives for Processors

                                    Mike Devereux, Wipfli

The current Congress is poised to make changes to the U.S. tax code that will have a significant impact on plastics processors. Congress and the White House have released both discussion drafts and legislative text summarizing the potential tax law changes. During this session, Mike will synthesize and explain the different tax provisions impacting plastics processors, whether they are proposed legislative text or actual bills passed by Congress. In addition to providing insight into potential or newly enacted tax policy, as an attendee, you will also learn about:

  • Tax credits and incentives are available to the plastics sector, including the newly expanded Employee Retention Credit, a Federal credit that could be as much as $7,000 per employee per quarter or $28,000 per employee in 2021.
  • Additional recent legislation impacting the plastics manufacturing sector and planning opportunities that come along with these relatively new tax law changes.

3:05 PM                     Attacking the Healthcare System and Winning, Will Hinshaw, Captive Solutions & Options

3:15 PM                     The Resin Crisis – The Future Looks Bright(er)

The global resin market is in a state of chaos. Plastics processors all over the country are seeing severe resin shortages and staggering price increases. Unlike most industries during COVID-19, plastics manufacturers are seeing production increase amid the global economic downturn. This panel discussion with the leadership of Amco Polymers, Chase Plastics, M. Holland Company and PolySource LLC will answer your questions about the resin crisis. Including the current state of supply chain constraints in plastics, the pandemic’s impact on global supply chains, weather-related supplier challenges, and petrochemicals supply dynamics. Don’t miss what’s sure to be an informative discussion.

4:00 PM                     HEART AND ZEAL: A DEVOTION TO SHARING THE JOURNEY, Major General (Ret) Tony Cucolo

Exuding passion for individual and organizational success, Major General (Ret.) Tony Cucolo wears his heart on his sleeve when he speaks about leadership. A 1979 West Point graduate, Tony spent thirty-five years in unform at twenty-four different duty stations and on several battlefields learning how to lead under every imaginable condition. If he learned anything at West Point and during his time in uniform, it was the power of positive leadership and the confidence in knowing something can always be done. Tony led units in significant high-risk, ostensibly impossible efforts among ethnic and religious antagonists on three separate occasions - in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, offering incredible lessons on leading, being a leader, and influencing positive change. All these experiences, including his experience leading the government’s interagency after-action review of Hurricane Katrina relief operations, deeply embedded lessons in conflict management, negotiating, mediating, as well as helped him further hone the leadership tools of what the Army calls mission command. Remarkably unique assignments in his eleven years as a General Officer further shaped his leadership experience that he is passionate to pass on to others. As Chief of Public Affairs, he spent two years learning what makes or breaks effective strategic communication and the immediate action required in a communications crisis. As Commandant (president) of the US Army War College, he was tasked to identify new ways to develop effective strategic leadership at the senior level. This effort resulted in the study and selection of those leadership traits that must be learned, observed, modeled, and practiced from the earliest stages of leadership development to the most senior to generate the types of leaders needed in the 21st Century. These experiences in ever-increasing levels of accountability taught him the difference between climate and culture, and he learned techniques for immediately setting one while slowly changing the other. Along the way, he came to understand the immense effectiveness of selfless servant leadership, the power of empathy, the vital but perishable element of trust required between the leader and the led, and how to face a challenge to one’s moral courage. Every lesson, every tip, every technique he offers comes with a heartfelt story that has become a memorable and useful reference point on his leadership journey.

5:00 PM                     Members’ Choice Reception (adjourns at 7:30 PM)

Friday, November 5th

7:00 AM                     Breakfast

Lunch Sponsored by Federated Insurance

8:00 AM                     Peer to Peer Networking

This session is back by popular demand! Growing peer-to-peer networks is a primary component of the Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference. Attendees will have the chance to interact with peer groups during this session on topics that are unique to their job functions in their specific groups. Driven by past attendee feedback, these focused sessions have been highly requested and are expected to be one of the biggest hits of this year’s conference. They are a perfect way for professionals to find new ideas, expand their professional networks and explore new methods of improvement. Areas covered will be operations, owners/presidents/CEOs, sales and marketing, human resources, and finance/ERP/IT.

9:30 AM                     Networking Break amongst the Sponsors

                                    Sponsored by Aurora Plastics, LLC

10:00  AM                  Awards Ceremony

                                    Sponsored Amco Polymers

10:30 AM                   The Economy’s Impact on Manufacturing – The Good. The Bad. And the Opportunity, Cara Walton, Harbour Results

The global economy was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in many unintended consequences and benefits to the manufacturing industry and its supply chain. The questions everyone is asking are: How did we get where we are today? How long will the demand remain? What key economic indicators should we be watching? And what does all of this mean to a plastics processor? This presentation will answer these questions as well as highlight opportunities for the plastics industry as the economy continues to evolve.

11:00 AM                  United We Stand - How Trust and Unity Create Transformational Change, Clint Pulver

In today’s volatile economy, organizations are finding it more difficult to adapt to expanding costs, shrinking margins, increased competition, and regulation. Teamwork, accountability, and purpose have greatly diminished, leaving employees fearful and paralyzed to step outside of their comfort zones. The result? Decreased revenues, morale, and performance. Motivational Speaker and Retention Expert Clint Pulver offers your organization the ultimate keynote experience that unifies, inspires, and rallies your sales staff, leadership teams, and front-line employees to create a renewed and lasting movement within your organization.

Utilizing his experience as a professional drummer for more than two decades, Clint helps orchestrate your team to success through the power of music by creating a high-energy, interactive, hands-on drumming experience that allows your audience to achieve unity and a renewed sense of loyalty and trust.

12:15 PM                 Conference Adjourned 

100% of the conference is being recorded and will be available on-demand. 

Thank you AV Sponsor, Epicor Software

The conference planning committee is actively monitoring the incidence of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in our region. We are following guidance from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding large gatherings, including CDC recommendations on preventing the spread of COVID-19.


The Conference team is pleased to welcome the following keynote speakers to the event:

Troy Nix, executive director
Troy Nix serves as the Master of Ceremonies for the Benchmarking and Best Practices Conference. Known for his spirit, enthusiasm, and belief in American manufacturing, Nix will deliver an opening address that will focus on lessons in leadership and the importance of becoming more in tune with one’s inner self. Professionals over the last decade who have heard Nix deliver his opening address know that the first 30 minutes of the conference will spark emotion in each attendee’s inner core. This year’s message will focus on the tapping into that internal fuel source to inspire, motivate and overcome obstacles encountered every day. Nix’s tag line “America Is What America Makes” is an essential ideal that motivates those attending the conference to strive for excellence.

Matthew Kelly, keynote
Matthew Kelly is an internationally acclaimed speaker and bestselling author. He is also the founder and president of Floyd Consulting, a firm based on the belief that your organization can only become the-best-version-of-itself if the people in your organization are striving to become the best-version-of-themselves. With his keen sense of humor and passion for helping companies understand that developing their employees is the first step to achieving corporate goals, Kelly seems to effortlessly elevate and energize people to pursue the highest values of the human spirit and achieve their personal goals and ambitions. Matthew Kelly’s message is both timely and timeless. His example is authentic and inspiring. His passion for life is refreshing and challenging. It is certain that he will continue to be, with increasing influence, one of the most sought-after and endearing voices of our time.

Clint Pulver, speaker
Clint Pulver is a motivational keynote speaker, author, musician, Emmy Award Winner and workforce expert. A Professional Drummer for over 20 years, he’s played with top headlining fellow musicians in venues like the Vivint Arena, the Stadium of Fire, and the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. He founded the UVU Drumline known as the Green Man Group, which he directed for six years and went on to direct the Drumline for the NBA’s Utah Jazz until 2015. As the president and founder of The Center for Retention, Clint has transformed how corporations like Keller Williams, AT&T, and Hewlett Packard create lasting loyalty through his work and research as “The Undercover Millennial”. For over a decade, he has been a self-motivated Entrepreneur who is well versed in business start-up, leadership, sales management, management training, and helping teams grow multi-million-dollar accounts. He uses that experience to create teachable relationship and business strategies based on trust, service, support, connection, and consistent follow-through. Clint strongly believes that a single moment in time can change a person’s life. He has traveled the world speaking to a wide spectrum of diverse audiences, challenging them to dream, excel, connect, and believe--both in themselves and in the power of others. For over a decade, Clint has dedicated his heart to helping organizations understand the younger generation and helping the younger generation better understand themselves by living a life of significance, rather than just a life of success. His mantra? “It’s not about being the best in the world…it's about being the best FOR the world.”

Major General Tony Cucolo, U.S. Army, Retired

Tony Cucolo completed more than 35 years of service in the United States Army. While serving as a General Officer in the last eleven years of his career, his portfolio of experience was remarkably unique. He led Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, led operational analysis teams in combat zones and on natural disaster recovery efforts such as Hurricane Katrina, and commanded the largest Army base east of the Mississippi. During this time, he developed a $35B equipment program for the Army, served as the US Army’s Chief of Public Affairs, and was the president of the U.S. Army War College.

After retiring from the Army, Cucolo served as a senior executive with the University of Texas System, one of the largest public university systems in the nation, comprising 221,000 students and 110,000 employees. From May 2015 through August 2019 his duties there included strategic planning, leader development of all students, faculty, and executive leadership across fourteen campuses, and coordinating support for veteran students and employees. Tony Cucolo departed UT System to become the Executive Director of the National Security Innovation Council, a non-profit business, academic, and intergovernmental outreach initiative for the State of Texas enabling accelerated problem-solving support to the national security community. Additionally, he has been retained by the Army as a senior mentor for several senior leadership programs.

Phil Van Hooser, speaker
Phillip Van Hooser’s approach to leadership training, employee relations and communication skills development is drawn from his own leadership experience in community banking, FORTUNE 500 manufacturing and consumer products companies. From his roles in employee relations, training, and human resources, Van Hooser knows firsthand the very real impact authentic, respected, engaged employee relations have on productivity and profits. He knows the practical, commonsense strategies leaders, managers and supervisors can implement to win credibility, communicate effectively, engage confidently with employees while reducing conflict and reaching organizational goals.

An engaging keynote speaker, leadership training expert, accomplished business writer, and mentor to emerging Millennial and Gen Z leaders, Phillip Van Hooser is committed to delivering keynotes and professional development training that helps companies and organizations experience stronger, more productive leader / employee relations, greater teamwork, trust, communication and collaboration, and improved bottom-line business results.

Laurie Harbour, speaker
Laurie Harbour is president and CEO of Harbour Results Inc. She has over 25 years of experience in benchmarking, performing operational assessments and leading strategic planning sessions for companies across the globe. She works closely with small- to medium-sized automotive suppliers, manufacturing companies, processors and mold builders and their supply chains to ultimately increase the health of their business. Harbour has been in over 100 tool shops in the last two years around the globe. By using very formal processes, she and her team utilize their in-depth backgrounds and expertise to identify strengths, weaknesses, performance gaps and business risks in order to develop strategies that lead to long-term sustainability. Her strategic transformation process has been used by MAPP members across the United States to achieve sustainable improvements, ultimately mitigating risk and improving long-term profitability.






This year's event will take place at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott in Indianapolis, IN. 

MAPP's room block has sold out. We suggest the other Marriott select-service properties (Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, and Fairfield) which all have availability for November 3rd – 5th. All within a block walking distance of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.

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To access the Conference Video library (the recorded sessions and speakers) please email the Conference staff at

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