The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. (PPI) is celebrating its 70 th year. Formed in 1950 as the Thermoplastic Pipe Division of the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), PPI is now the leading North American trade association representing all segments of the plastic pipe industry, and is known for its research, its work to develop industry standards and codes, advocacy and education.

“Since the very beginning, PPI has provided the vision and the leadership that has produced
the establishment of uniform test and design criteria that became the foundation for all current
applications of plastics piping,” stated PPI President David Fink.
“PPI created the methodology for rating the long-term strength of pipe materials plus the
concepts of pipe pressure rating, the establishment of standard dimensional ratios and the
adoption of numbers to state those properties. Our association staff and members also
engineered the first code acceptances for plumbing, industrial, commercial and gas distribution
applications for plastics piping, and provided the first industry-wide statistics. Today, that work
continues and includes telecommunications conduit, corrugated drainage pipe, along with pipe
used in potable water, forced main sanitary sewer systems and building and construction projects.”
In 1950, when the group was first formed as the Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association,
plastic pipe was still in its infancy, having been developed during World War II as a way to insulate
radar cables. Solid-wall high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe began replacing metal pipe in oil- and gas-gathering systems in the late 1950s. In the early 1960s, gas utilities started replacing
failing iron pipe with polyethylene (PE) pipe, and because of its successful performance history,
95 percent of all new gas distribution systems installed today use PE pipe. A few years later,
corrugated HDPE pipe started to replace clay pipe in agricultural drainage systems. In the late
1980s, large-diameter corrugated HDPE pipe began to replace metal and concrete in storm water
culverts. The material has continued to evolve into what is now its third and fourth generation of
development, each with improved performance capabilities.
“PPI has always been ‘member-run, member-led,” Fink stated. “The continuing success
and growth of our association is a direct result of the enthusiastic work by those members. One
indication of how our members view their association can be determined by the many people who
have participated for several decades.”
Frequently, PPI presents its Lifetime Achievement Award to a member who provided
exceptional devotion and dedication to the industry. Jim Craig was honored in 2013 for his 40
years of service to the industry and said, “I am proud to be a lifetime member of PPI. It is a great
organization with a super staff to help the members accomplish great gains in the plastic pipe
markets. I joined PPI in the 1980s, while working for McElroy Manufacturing in Tulsa, OK. I quickly
learned that this organization was great at getting people and organizations together to grow the
PE industry in general. We had pipe manufacturers, resin manufacturers, fitting manufacturers,
joining manufacturers and distribution organizations take on projects, do testing, and develop
technical notes and reports with everyone working together to accomplish our goals.”
“Unfortunately, Jim passed away soon after providing his thoughts about PPI,” explained
Fink. “His contributions and devotion to PPI and the industry is his legacy that will always benefit
Another Lifetime Member, George Zagorski, now retired from Blue Diamond Industries
(Lexington, KY), offered, “I was a somewhat “reluctant” young volunteer when Blue Diamond first
joined PPI some 15 years ago.  What I discovered was likeminded professionals, who would
debate and cooperate for the betterment of the overall plastic piping industry.  Along the way, my
voice was always heard and considered.  In the end, I’ve developed not only professional
relationships, but lifelong friendships.” Zagorski also served on the PPI Board of Directors from
2011 to 2017 as vice chair, chair and past chair plus numerous other committees and task groups.
In 1963, Phillips Petroleum, the company that brought a new manufacturing process to the
industry for making HDPE and discovered how to make polypropylene 1951, now another popular
pipe resin, and in 1963 established its pipe division, Driscopipe, which is now known as
Performance Pipe. Harvey Svetlik, another long-time PPI member who started his career with
Phillips Driscopipe and recently retired from PPI-member company Georg Fischer Central Plastics
LLC, said, “PPI is the leader in the polyolefin pipe industry specifically and in the plastic pipe
industry generally. PPI is not so much about what it has accomplished in the past, as it is about
our polyethylene brotherhood and our commitment to future accomplishment.
“We have watched the industry grow from using 80 million pounds in 1980 to almost a
couple of billion pounds annually for all its applications and all its pipe types. The next 40 years
will witness a doubling yet again, as polyethylene pipes and fittings take their place as a dominant
leak-free system in the drinking water sector. The North American population will double in this
timeframe, creating the demand, along with the need to replace half of existing water distribution
pipes due to their deterioration.  PPI has led and will lead the market in plastic pipe technology,
standards, and associations.” Svetlik received his PPI Lifetime Membership in 2019.
In 1975 the Corrugated Polyethylene Tubing Association was created. Later known as the
Corrugated Polyethylene Pipe Association it became the Drainage Division of PPI in 2019. It
focuses on the use of corrugated pipe that can be found up to 60 inches in diameter for stormwater
and gravity sewer systems. “The members of this division are some of the largest users in the
United States of recycled plastic,” Fink said. “One company processes more than 550 million
pounds of post-consumer recycled plastics for its pipe products. Keeping this large amount of
material out of landfills is possible because of the growing demand for this type of pipe.”
In 2011, PPI bestowed an Honorary Lifetime Membership on Drainage Division member
James Goddard, P.E. recognizing his more than 30 years of contributions and industry
innovations. Goddard retired from Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. (ADS) as the company's
Chief Engineer.
“Now with a uniform, consistent voice, PPI and specifically the Drainage Division, can go out
to federal agencies such as the U. S. Department of Transportation, EPA, Army Corps of
Engineers, and others plus state agencies, such as Departments of Transportation, as well as
significant organizations such as AASHTO with a common voice technically and that has helped
the industry to grow and prosper and has significantly benefited our nation.”
Fink and his organization foresee increased use for plastic pipe. “The trend to create more
applications along with enhanced grades of resin and even new resins continues to accelerate at a
rapid rate,” he stated. “And we fully expect this continue for the next 70 years. PPI’s first 70 years
has been an exciting journey.”