2022 Spring Meeting - Polyurethane Foam Association (2024)

Meeting Registration

The Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) will return to the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, FL for its Spring 2022 meeting. Key sessions of the meeting will be streamed for people who are unable to attend the live meeting.

(Registrations after Sunday, May 8 incur a $75 late registration fee. To ensure you are included in the pre-meeting attendee list distributed in advance, please register by May 12)

PFA Member

Live Meeting Registration, Vinoy Renaissance


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PFA Member

Virtual Meeting Portal Registration


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Live Meeting Registration, Vinoy Renaissance


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Virtual Meeting Portal Registration


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Important Information About Hotel Reservations

PFA’s Room Block at the Vinoy is sold out, but we have managed to secure a small block of rooms at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. The Hilton, 9 blocks away, met the Vinoy’s rate of $225. Rooms can be reserved until Sunday, May 8 or until sold out. If you don’t have a room reservation, use the link below.

Click here to make a reservation at the Hilton.

Other Alternative Lodging Nearby

80 Beach Drive NE,Saint Petersburg,Florida,33701 (0.5 mi)


25 2nd St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (0.6 mi)


300 4th Street North St. Petersburg,Florida33701 (0.7 mi)


[website shows as sold out on key dates]

2022 Spring Meeting Sessions

CertiPUR-US Update

Wednesday, May 25

CertiPUR-US activities in 2021. Among other topics, staff will discuss the recent recommendation by the EU Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) to classify 2-EHA as a Category 1 Reproductive Toxin, and the potential implications for CertiPUR-US®

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Mike Crowell

Executive Director

Speaker Biography

Mike Crowell is Executive Director of the CertiPUR-US® program. He has more than 40 years of senior management experience in the polyurethane foam industry, including technical, manufacturing, sales and marketing positions. The CertiPUR-US program was developed to provide the comfort and confidence of knowing the flexible polyurethane foam in bedding and upholstered furniture meets program standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. Today, foam producers from all countries may participate in the program, as long as they meet our rigorous certification guidelines

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Helen Sullivan

Communications Counsel

Speaker Biography

Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA, has served as Communications Counsel for the CertiPUR-US® foam certification program since the program was first established in 2008. Her expertise is in the development and implementation of industry-wide marketing programs for trade associations. During her career she has launched award-winning marketing campaigns for numerous groups including apple growers, pasta manufacturers, the bedding industry, sleep technologists and parking professionals.

Industry Issues Forum

Wednesday, May 25

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Isocyanates Update

Mark McKinney
Product Stewardship Manager

The International Isocyanate Institute’s paper on isocyanate exposures (TDI) in FPF plants and other workplaces is in the peer review process at the Journal of Toxicology and Industrial Health. The Institute is considering a followup project that would demonstrate the benefits of various changes to equipment and work practices. Mark McKinney will provide details.

Speaker Biography

Mr. McKinney received his Master’s in Industrial Health from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health and holds one of the first the Certified Professional Product Steward (CPPS) designations awarded by the Board for Global EHS Credentialing. He has worked at BASF for over 25 years in various EHS positions including Industrial Hygiene, Manufacturing Site Safety, Emergency Response and Product Stewardship.

Mark is currently a Product Stewardship Manager supporting BASF’s Chemical Monomers business. In this role he provides support in the areas of Responsible Care®, isocyanate and polyamide advocacy, customer consultation & training along with strategic product issue management.

He is active in Product Stewardship outreach to downstream isocyanate users through the American Chemistry Council’s Diisocyanates Panel and participates in research initiatives impacting the industry as an Environmental Advisory Group member of the International Isocyanates Institute (I.I.I.).

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Legal Counsel Report

Jim McIntyre
McIntyre & Lemon

PFA’s Legal Counsel provides an overview of legal and regulatory issues affecting the flexible polyurethane foam industry.

Speaker Biography

Mr. McIntyre, a native of Vidalia, Georgia, received an A.A. degree from Young Harris College in 1959, a B.A. from the University of Georgia in 1963, and a J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1963. He is a former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. He represents clients in general corporate matters and trade association law and on legislative and regulatory issues in banking, insurance, finance, tax, and environmental areas. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the State Bar of Georgia. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.

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Carpet Cushion Report

Bob Clark
Executive Director
Carpet Cushion Council

Discussion of floorcovering industry sales trends, regulatory challenges to the bonded carpet cushion market, and other issues.

Speaker Biography

Bob Clark is Executive Director of the Carpet Cushion Council. The CCC represents the North American carpet cushion industry as an advocate and an educator. As the industry resource for answers to carpet cushion-related questions, the Carpet Cushion Council educates carpet retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and cushion manufacturers about the benefits of carpet cushion. Ultimately, the Carpet Cushion Council’s objective is to provide carpet retailers with tools necessary to improve communication with customers and increase overall sales.

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Commercial Furniture Report

Steve Kooy
Health and Sustainability Director
Business & Industrial Furniture Manfacturers’ Assoc. (BIFMA)

A review of regulatory issues, product innovation, and sales/distribution channel changes affecting the commercial furniture industry.

Speaker Biography

Steve Kooy (rhymes with “boy”) leads BIFMA’s Health and Sustainability programs, which include standard setting, advocacy, and outreach. He has more than 15 years of experience as a sustainability professional in the furniture industry. Currently, Steve is working with BIFMA members to create an ANSI/BIFMA Cleaning and Disinfecting standard amongst other activities.

Prior to joining BIFMA, Steve worked in sales and business development for Intertek – a third-party auditor, certifier, and test lab. In this role, he worked with global furniture clients to properly test and certify products to electrical, mechanical, and environmental standards. He served as the Global Sustainability/Open Innovation Manager for high-end office furniture company Haworth, as green building standards began to shape products sold into the “built environment.” .Highlights at Haworth included: creating and driving well-being initiatives, setting sustainable design criteria for cleaner chemistry and responsible supply chains, and pursuing product certifications. Steve managed or co-managed LEED certification projects in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Kooy graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s in Civil/Environmental Engineering.

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Automotive Report

Mike Jackson
Executive Director, Strategy And Research
Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA)

An update on the automotive industry’s recovery from COVID, and a look at supply chain issues and other industry trends.

Speaker Biography

Mr. Jackson leads the association’s data compilation and analytics, identifies and researches industry trends, produces relevant analysis, and represents OESA at various speaking engagements as a subject matter expert regarding economic and related industry trends and analysis.

Mr. Jackson has more than 20 years of progressive experience in strategic planning, market forecasting and management consulting. Most recently, Jackson directed the vehicle production forecasting practice in North America at IHS Markit where he was responsible for sharing trusted insight and fostering enduring relationships across a diverse global client base of automakers, suppliers and stakeholders.

Mr. Jackson holds a bachelor of science in business, management strategy from Eastern Michigan University and a master of business administration in international business from Wayne State University. Jackson gained vital international industry experience during a multi-year stay, living and working in Germany, developing language fluency.

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Footwear Update

BIll McCann
Executive Director, U.S. Footwear Manufacturers Association

McCann will update us on the trade issues and other factors shaping this significant polyurethane foam market.

Speaker Biography

Bill McCann, President & CEO of SMI, Inc., has worked with companies, universities and trade associations to shape public policy, appropriations funding, and federal business development goals since 2005. Teaming with SMI’s technical experts and lobbyists, Bill designs and leads effective government relations strategies tailored to the unique goals of each client.

Prior to joining SMI, Bill worked on Capitol Hill for ten years for a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee in a number of senior management and policy roles including Chief of Staff, Legislative Director and Military Legislative Assistant. In addition to managing a congressional office, Bill also served as campaign manager and supported Washington DC area fundraising efforts. In 2004 while pursuing his MBA, Bill joined the Raytheon Technologies corporate strategy team focusing on best practices in program capture efforts.

Bill holds a B.A. in American Government from Georgetown University and an MBA with an emphasis on strategy and finance from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Government Relations Association (GRA).

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Supply Chain Issues

Zachary Moore, Senior Editor Manager, Independent Commodity Intelligence Service (ICIS)

Just as the supply chain challenges of 2021 appeared to be receeding, the Ukraine conflict and the resulting economic sanctions have again reshuffled the global petrochemical market.

Zachary Moore of ICIS (Independent Commodity Intelligence Services) provided PFA with a very useful overview of supply chain issues at our 2021 Spring Meeting. He will join us again this Spring with an update on this ever-changing situation.

Speaker Biography

Zachary Moore joined ICIS in 2016 and currently works as deputy managing editor for the Americas region. He covers North American markets for major commodity polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene as well as intermediate chemicals used in the production of polyurethane foams.

Prior to joining ICIS, Moore covered commodity polymer markets in Asia and Turkey for ChemOrbis. He has a total of 15 years’ experience in the petrochemical and plastic markets as a markets reporter, researcher and analyst.

Moore holds a BBA in economics from Georgia State University and an MA from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

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UFAC Report

Bobby Bush, Jr.
Technical Director
Upholstered Furniture Action Council (UFAC)

An update on UFAC programs.

Speaker Biography

Bobby Bush Jr. serves as Technical Committee Chair for PFA and Technical Director for the Upholstered Furniture Action Council (UFAC). Though he remains active in many foam industry activities (ASTM, NFPA, UFAC, AFPF (CertiPUR-US)), he recently retired – after 45 years – from Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company. During the years his roles evolved from Sales Trainee to Senior Vice President of Foam Technology. Bush wass responsible for the development and advancement of new foam products and technologies and for overseeing environmental and regulatory compliance at all company facilities.

Bush has been instrumental in developing some of the most important initiatives in the flexible polyurethane foam industry. He is a graduate of Duke University, with a degree in Business Administration and Management. He is a many-times past President of PFA.

General Business Meeting

Thursday, May 26

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Chip Holton (PFA President)
President, NCFI Polyurethanes

Speaker Biography

Chip Holton has been President of NCFI Polyurethanes since 2015. Heholds an engineering degree from The United States Military Academy at West Point and is a former serving US Army infantry officer. His work career began with Alcatel (now Alcatel-Lucent) fiber optics division where he served in multiple capacities from line supervisor to plant manager in Claremont, NC. Holton joined GE Plastics in 2003, where he served as Southeast Region Operations Manager, overseeing logistics, distribution, and manufacturing for up to 13 facilities. He also served asVice President of US Operations for Swiss company, Jacob Holm Industries, one of the world’s leading nonwoven roll good manufacturers, before joining NCFI Polyurethanes as Operations Manager.

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Membership & Treasurer's Report

Russ Batson
PFA Executive Director

Speaker Biography

Russ Batson is Executive Director of the Polyurethane Foam Association. He has more than two decades of related experience providing public affairs and regulatory counsel, working with corporations and industry associations, to advocate issues based on credible science and sound economics. Prior to joining PFA, he served as Senior Counsel, Government Relations, Americas, for SABIC, advising one of the world’s largest chemical and plastics producers on key regulatory matters and opportunities. Before this position, he worked for 15 years with the American Home Furnishings Alliance (formerly American Furniture Manufacturers Association) as Director of Congressional and Regulatory Affairs and as Vice President of Government Affairs. At AHFA, he was instrumental in helping shape rulemaking on upholstered furniture flammability, involving complex issues of fire science, chemical safety, product liability and federal preemption. The positive effects of his work in this area are still seen in the industry today. Batson holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia. He is admitted to the bar in Virginia.

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Communications Report

Wayne Bowman
PFA Communications Counsel

Speaker Biography

Wayne Bowman is Communications Counsel for PFA. In his 38-year career with advertising and public relations agencies, he has worked for more than 250 companies, including ARCO Chemical, Union Carbide, Mohawk Industries, Recticel Foam, the Flexible Foam Market Council, the Carpet Cushion Council, the Particleboard/Medium Density Fiberboard Institute, Kingsdown Mattresses, and Pennsylvania House Furniture. He first began with PFA in 1986, when he worked with Bob Luedeka at the J.P. Hogan & Company Advertising Agency. He left the agency and PFA in 1991, then returned to PFA in 2015. His business, Bowman Creative + Strategy, works with a variety of clients and agencies throughout the Southeast. During his career, he has won more than 80 ADDY, Public Relations Society of America, and Society For Technical Communications Awards (including some for PFA). He is a member of the American Advertising Federation-Knoxville Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the American Advertising Federation National Silver Medal.

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Brian Domitrovic

2022 Spring Meeting - Polyurethane Foam Association (15)Sponsored by:

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Domitrovic is the Richard S. Strong Scholar at the Laffer Center and Professor of History at Sam Houston State University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the author of several books, including Econoclasts: The Rebels who Sparked The Supply-Side Revolution And Restored American Prosperity, considered the standard history of supply-side economics.

He co-authored with Larry Kudlow (Former Director of the National Economic Council of the United States) JFK And The Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity.

John F. Kennedy was the first president since the 1920s to slash tax rates across-the-board, becoming one of the earliest supply-siders. One person who followed JFK’s tax-cut growth model was Ronald Reagan. Domitrovic and Kudlow’s book details the link between Kennedy and Reagan and their contributions to American prosperity.

(Prof. Domitrovic will be available to sign books following his presentation.)

Prior to speaking at PFA’s Spring Meeting. Prof. Domtrovic answered a few quesitions about economics with our Executive Director, Russ Batson. Read his responses here.

Technical Session

Thursday, May 26
2pm to 5pm

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Technical Committee Report

Bobby Bush, Jr.
PFA Technical Committee Chair
(Past President, PFA)

Speaker Biography

Bobby Bush Jr. serves as Technical Committee Chair for PFA and Technical Director for the Upholstered Furniture Action Council (UFAC). Though he remains active in many foam industry activities (ASTM, NFPA, UFAC, AFPF (CertiPUR-US)), he recently retired – after 45 years – from Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company. During the years his roles evolved from Sales Trainee to Senior Vice President of Foam Technology. Bush wass responsible for the development and advancement of new foam products and technologies and for overseeing environmental and regulatory compliance at all company facilities.

Bush has been instrumental in developing some of the most important initiatives in the flexible polyurethane foam industry. He is a graduate of Duke University, with a degree in Business Administration and Management. He is a many-times past President of PFA.

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Session Moderator

Bill Gollnitz
Plastomer Corp.
(Immediate Past President, PFA)

Speaker Biography

Bill Gollnitz has more than 40 years’ experience in the flexible polyurethane foam industry. For more than 20 years, he has been Technical Director at Plastomer Corporation. Prior to that, he held group management positions at ARCO Chemical Company and Olin Chemical. He began his career in the foam industry with Firestone Foam. He has a deep understanding of how chemistry, manufacturing and suppliers can work together to advance the polyurethanes industry. He is a Past President of PFA, and currently serves on PFA’s Executive and Technical Committee. Gollnitz holds a B.A. in chemistry from Lipscomb University and an MBA from Bryant University.

Technical Presentation Abstracts

Improved Passenger Experience in Automotive Interiors with Antimicrobial Foam Solutions., Mai Ha, Microban

Automobiles are subjected to many contaminants on a daily basis. Children, pets, food deposits, cleaning lapses, and even simple temperature and humidity changes can all foster unwanted bacterial and fungal growth in HVAC and filter systems as well as on interior surfaces and supporting materials. 80% of consumers express concern about stains and persistent odors inside of their vehicle. Mold growth and microbial colonization are typically amplified in rideshare and public transportation settings because of the number of riders accommodated per day. Automotive OEM’s should consider lasting treatments for vehicle interiors that elevate both passenger experience and OEM brand perceptions.


Dr. Ha is a Senior Product Development Engineer at Microban International. She has been a key engineer in customer focused projects and new product development. Her knowledge in incorporated polymeric products brings a unique skillset to Microban partners. She obtained her B.S. degree in Polymeric Material Engineering from Polytechnique University in Vietnam and has been working with polymers since 2002. In 2006, she received her M.Sc. degree from University of Oklahoma after working with emulsions and emulsion polymerization. Subsequently, she moved to the University of Houston and obtained her Ph.D. in nanocomposites and polymer blends. She has been with Microban since 2011.

Hennecke AUTOFLAT Technology Delivers Block Geometry with More Efficient Startup and Reduced Manpower in the Foaming Tunnel. Raphael Bretz and Sven Burchardt, Hennecke

The traditional Hennecke Flat Top System has helped slabstock operations reduce material waste by achieving block geometry. However, manual alignment of the system is sometimes error-prone and time-consuming upon startup, and entails the presence of operators in the foaming tunnel. AUTOFLAT software automatically controls the lowering of mats at the start of production and ensures precise positioning. The mats are controlled by electric motors guided by a sophisticated sensor system and visualization on the computer screen. AUTOFLAT automatically adjusts the surface pressure in case of recipe changes, once defined and set the first time, the recipe will hold this information and replicate next time you pour the same recipe. The sensors provide feedback regarding not only the final height of the block, but also the block rise profile which further aids in understanding reactivity of the formulation.

The following advantages can be realized:

  • Lower material consumption due to direct block geometry
  • Higher reproducibility of production
  • Greater production reliability thanks to automation
  • Central adjustment of mat weight on PC or control box
  • Finer gradation of the mat weight in case of weight changes
  • Less manpower required for production starts, stops and changes, minimizing exposure to vapors in the foaming tunnel.
The RENUVA™ Mattress Recycling Program: An Update, Ana Nunez, Dow

The RENUVA™ Mattress Recycling Program is a circular economy program for converting end-of-life (EOL) polyurethane (PU) foam from mattresses back to one of their raw materials – polyol. Last Spring, Dow provided an overview of the project during its startup. Now that the program has been in operation, Dow will provide an update.

The RENUVA™ Mattress Recycling Program is a circular economy program for converting end-of-life (EOL) polyurethane (PU) foam from mattresses back to one of their raw materials – polyol. This polyol can then be used in flexible or rigid foam production to go into applications such as building insulation and even back into new mattresses. The program aims to recycle up to 200,000 mattresses a year in France and help reduce incineration emissions and landfilling.

The program is enabled by a collaboration among several companies. One entity is providing a turnkey installation for the first plant. Another company operates this initial production facility in France. A third party collects and dismantles mattresses and is supplying the EOL foam for recycling. A large pan-European company will produce flexible PU foams made with RENUVA™ polyols. Dow Chemical is leading the effort by providing technical and application development and serving the market for the recycled material.

So far, RENUVA™ polyol performance has been verified with up to 50% recycled content in rigid foams and up to 30% recycled content in flexible foams. These polyols have also shown to have similar (compared to virgin polyols) volatile organic compound emission levels and were free from noticeable odor impacts.

RENUVA is a Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow

EHA-Free Tin Catalysts as an Alternative to Stannous Octoate in Flexible Polyurethane Foams: A Performance Comparison. Joerg Duebel, Gulbrandsen

2-Ethylhexanoic acid (EHA) and its salts may soon be listed as Category 1B reproductive toxins under the EU REACH program. Stannous octoate, an important gelling catalyst for the production of slabstock foam, falls within the ambit of this classification.The anticipated classification may preclude flexible polyurethane foams made with stannous octoate from being certified by certain sustainability programs. Likewise, such foams may eventually face labeling requirements under California’s Prop 65 program, given the tendency of that program to “list” chemicals classified by EU health authorities.Stannous Neodecanoate (CAS no.: 49556-16-3) represents a 2-EHA free alternative to stannous octoate. The focus of this paper is a performance comparison of stannous octoate versus stannous neodecanoate in slabstock foam formulations.Testing of foam samples is being conducted by Peterson Chemical Technology LLC.


Joerg Duebel is a Business Director responsible for tin catalysts at Gulbrandsen. He received his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany and earned a Master’s Degree in Management from Purdue University. Over his 30 years of chemical industry experience, he has held various engineering, product management and business management roles. He has been with Gulbrandsen since 2021.

Digitization And Predictive Modeling Of Polyurethane Data Via Machine Learning And Artificial Intelligence. Keith Task (Presenter), Yinan Kang, Mark McBride, Amanda McCraw, Ted Smiecinski, Sebastian Wandernoth, Willie Wesley, Laura Chiandussi, BASF

Data is often an abundant, and yet underutilized, resource in the chemical sector, including the polyurethane industry. There is a paradigm shift from planning pencil and paper experiments using intuition alone to learning from historic data and using it to guide experimentation. Data driven approaches can lead to a greater understanding of foams, better decision making, and accelerated development. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have been applied to flexible foam data, allowing us to develop predictive models which map foam formulation components and process conditions to foam properties.

Preprocessing and cleaning of the data was first done, followed by data mining and exploratory data analysis to obtain a holistic view of the data. From here, a battery of ML models were trained, including linear (OLS), linear with dimension reduction (PLS, Elastic Net), semi-parametric non-linear (MARS), and non-parametric tree-based models. The inverse modeling approach, i.e. determining which inputs (formulation component levels) are needed to obtain targeted performance properties, was done via mathematical optimization. To obtain global solutions to this optimization problem, evolutionary algorithms were utilized, specifically differential evolution. This optimization framework can allow formulators to obtain recommendations of formulations which meet desired properties, thereby accelerating development.


Keith Task is a senior digitalization research scientist at BASF Corporation, and is based in Beachwood, OH. Keith obtained his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the
University of Pittsburgh. Keith has been at BASF since 2015, and supports business and research units across the company through statistics and mathematical modeling. Keith’s
primary interests include machine learning, experimental design, and linking data driven and mechanistic modeling.

2022 Spring Meeting - Polyurethane Foam Association (2024)
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