Anticipating significant growth in the North American fiberglass market, the organization also has added several fiberglass and composites industry veterans to its North American team.
“By moving our North American customer-support and administrative resources from the West Coast to the East Coast, we’re now better able to respond to our customers in real time,” explains Zbigniew “Ziggy” Ziobro, CPIC general manager-North America. He adds that the change puts the customer service team and management in the same time zone as the majority of the company’s North American customer base, which is concentrated in the Midwest and on the East Coast. “That, in turn, means we can provide faster answers and better service,” adds Ziobro. “Our customers have noticed the difference and complimented us on the change.”
CPIC has operated in North America since December 2012. Late in 2015, the company purchased all assets of Amsterdam, N.Y.-based Fiber Glass Industries Inc. (FGI), a privately held, specialty fiberglass manufacturer in operation since 1957. FGI was known for its high level of customer support and rapid delivery times, two features that Ziobro ― the former president of FGI ― is trying to put into practice in CPIC’s North American organization. To support customers better and grow business in North America, CPIC management hired Ziobro in early 2016 as director-Sales & Marketing and in November of last year made him general manager of North American operations, where he is responsible for profitability, sales, and service within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as for setting short- and long-term objectives and overseeing control of daily operations for CPIC’s efforts in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Before joining CPIC, Ziobro had a distinguished 22-year career at FGI, where he started as a stitching technician in 1993 and rose through the ranks to become project manager-Fabric Division, then technical director-Fabric Division, then national sales director, and eventually company president. During his tenure at the head of FGI, Ziobro increased capacity on existing equipment by 22%, helping the company avoid a $2.6-million USD capital investment fee. He also introduced production changes that resulted in a 66% overall cost improvement in the company’s knitting operation. At the time of the sale, FGI was worth $30-million USD and employed over 150 employees. Ziobro also worked for a year at plastics and chemicals distributor, Nexeo Solutions as Northeast account sales manager.
Ziobro holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical & Mechanical Institute in Poland. He also has taken courses in CEN Manufacturing, Lean Manufacturing, DIAB Core Infusion Technology, and several courses in pricing.
Another addition to CPIC’s North American team was the late 2016 hiring of Creig Bowland who has over three decades’ experience in the design and production of composite materials for the aerospace and automotive markets. He has been involved in nearly all aspects of the composites business, ranging from materials design and technical support, to production management, business development, and marketing. He currently is a technical sales manager for CPIC North America.
From 2014-2016, Bowland was a technical consultant for the thermoplastic pultrusion industry. From 2006-2014, he was a senior research associate and long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT) technical leader for PPG Industries, Inc. During his tenure there, Bowland increased PPG’s sales in the LFT market by 400%. Before that, he was president, Colorado Legacy Group, LLC, a consulting and technology firm that designed and installed LFT lines around the world using licensed technology Bowland developed and owned. Previously, he was North American vice-president, Arkal Automotive Group where he was responsible for setting up Arkal Plastic North America, Inc., the company’s first LFT injection molding plant outside of Israel. From 1997 to 1998, Bowland was senior scientist-materials development for LNP Engineering Plastics where he was responsible for all R&D work on the company’s Verton* LFT product line, and before that he was a materials scientist and senior chemist at Exxon Chemical Co. providing R&D support for the company’s Taffen* glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composites.
Early in his career, Bowland was first a senior research chemist at PDA Engineering, then an R&D manager for Polymer Composites Inc. for the company’s Celstran* LFT product line (now owned by Celanese), and then a materials scientist / chemist for ICI Fiberite Inc. where he provided technical support for the company’s 15 resin systems. Additionally, he spent a number of years as president of his own general construction firm.
Bowland holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Colorado State University and an M.S. degree in Physical Chemistry from The University of New Mexico. He is a long-time member of the American Chemistry Society (ACS*), the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE*), the North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS*), the Suppliers of Advanced Composite Materials Association (SACMA*), and the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering (SAMPE*). He currently is a member of the board of directors of the Centre for Commercialization of Composites and Microcellular Technology (C3MT*), the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research, and the Composites Division of SPE, where he has held positions ranging from secretary to counselor to Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) technical program chair and co-chair, event chair and event co-chair, and was recently elected as SPE International’s vice-president-Divisions. He also is a former member of the SACMA task force for development of standardized tests for the composites industry. Bowland is a published author and regular speaker on composites-related topics at industry gatherings.
Headquartered in Dadukou, China, Chongqing Polycomp International Corp. (CPIC) is a subsidiary of YTH Group, a global conglomerate of fiberglass, mineral, composites, textiles, financing, and trading companies. CPIC has 5,800 employees worldwide and registered capital of $300-million USD. The company has produced fiberglass products since 1986 and today is the third-largest fiberglass supplier in the world in terms of installed capacity and one of the fastest-growing fiberglass suppliers. The company maintains six high-volume manufacturing facilities (four in China, one in Bahrain, and one in Brazil) capable of producing 650,000 tonnes/tons annually. To support its global customer base, the company also maintains storage centers (for warehousing, inventory management, and cross-docking) in Europe (Helsinki, Finland, Düsseldorf, Germany, Warsaw, Poland, Felixstowe, U.K., Antwerp, Belgium, Milan, Italy, Lyons, France) and the Americas (Detroit, Houston, and São Paulo, Brazil). With a focus on high manufacturing efficiencies, quality, continuous improvement, research, and world-class facilities and technologies, CPIC offers a broad range of fiberglass products for thermoset and thermoplastic composites, including: bulk-molding compound (BMC), chopped-strand mat, gun rovings, long-fiber thermoplastic (LFT), direct rovings, knits and woven rovings, panel / chopper rovings, single yarns, sheet-molding compound (SMC), texturized rovings, and wet chop. These materials are used in composite pipe, automotive, commercial truck, electrical & electronics, building & construction, wind energy, marine, aviation / aerospace, and sporting goods applications worldwide.