Joe Peters Named Recipient of SPE Thermoforming Division’s 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award

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Universal Plastics CEO honored for lifelong industry achievement and community involvement

Joe Peters, CEO of Universal Plastics and Mayfield Plastics, was honored as the recipient of The SPE Thermoforming Division’s Outstanding Achievement Award. The award is presented to individuals who have dedicated their time and money to contribute to the industry through the development of machinery, components, tooling, materials, processes and education. The 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award was presented during the 24th Annual SPE Thermoforming Conference on September 1st in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award is a wonderful example of an individual who has dedicated his time to continue to attract young people to pursue amazing careers that are challenging, rewarding and essential in today’s evolving economy,” said Mark Strachan, SPE Thermoforming Division Chair. “Our pioneers are the reason why the Thermoforming Division is where it is today because selfless people like Joe Peters have dedicated their time and money to help grow and support the thermoforming industry.”

Universal Plastics was founded in Chicopee in 1966 by James R. Peters who along with his wife, Frances, and eventually their four sons, Joseph, Michael, James and Richard and daughter Mary Frances, grew the business. Universal Plastics moved to Holyoke in 2002 and in 2008 added a 30,000 square foot addition to their Whiting Farms Road building for a total of 100,000 square feet of production and office space. Universal was sold to Jay Kumar in 2012 and Peters remains as CEO.

“Joe has been a pillar in the thermoforming industry and in our local community for many years,” said Universal owner Jay Kumar. “He continues to be a great example of the type of leadership which makes good companies great. First at Universal Plastics and now at Mayfield Plastics, Joe continues to build a culture of workforce development and community service, which is so vital for our industry and our community to continue to thrive.”

Mr. Peters has been an active proponent of workforce development in Western Massachusetts and educating youth on opportunities in manufacturing. He has been highly involved in the community and is a current Board member of Holyoke Community College Foundation, Career Point, Holyoke Mayor’s Industrial Development Advisory Committee, Helping Hands for Honduras, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Economic Development Council of Hampden County and the Diocese of Springfield School Board. Peters as also Past Chairman of the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the Chicopee Citizen of Year award in 2000, Chicopee Businessman of the Year 1998 and was elected to the Western Massachusetts Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2009.

Said Peters, “Employees are any company’s most valued asset. At Universal Plastics, we learned early on that well equipped and trained employees enjoy their jobs more and the relationship between company and employee only improves. We work more efficiently, people are there when you need them and everyone succeeds. We have also learned that we have to educate the public to the fact that manufacturing jobs are great jobs, especially since most our jobs used advanced equipment and pay extremely well. The young people don’t know this. So offering many tours to school grades throughout the year, helping to promote Summer Job initiatives and mentoring opportunities are helping to let young people have a better frame of reference for the direction they will travel into the workforce.”

About Universal Plastics

Universal Plastics is a custom thermoformer based in Holyoke MA with strong legacy of expertise in manufacturing thermoformed plastic parts of the highest quality with a distinct focus on customer satisfaction. Universal has been in business for over 45 years with a world class management team and currently serves customers in a variety of industries including aerospace, medical device manufacturers, transportation, consumer products, food packaging and electronic companies.

As a custom manufacturer, Universal has made kayaks, air ducts, bus stop signs, kayaks from recycled detergent bottles, etc. In 2008 they added a 30,000 square foot addition to their Whiting Farms Road building for a total of 100,000 square feet of production and office space. The company is ISO 9001 certified.
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About Mayfield Plastics

Mayfield is a leading manufacturer of custom pressure, vacuum formed and thermoformed parts and components specializing in thermoformed medical devices and components, but also serving a variety of additional industries including aerospace, telecom, electronics, computer, hospital, chromatography, machine-tool and transportation. In 2013, Mayfield Plastics was purchased by Jay Kumar, who also owns Universal Plastics, a custom thermoformer based in Holyoke MA with the intent of growing the thermoforming business locally through the combined strength and synergies of both companies. Together, Mayfield & Universal Plastics represent the largest thermoformer in New England and are proud to offer a manufacturing service which is state of the art. Equally, as a family-run business, Mayfield Plastics takes special pride in upholding a strong commitment to its customers and employees. For more information about Mayfield Plastics, please visit

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Pia Kumar
Universal Plastics
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