Vice President, Science and Regulatory Affairs

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, Washington, DC

With the intensifying pressure of US and international environmental, health and safety regulations, the plastics industry has been rallying its efforts to champion good stewardship practices while advocating for a more favorable regulatory environment. Still, there exist numerous regulatory threats to the fiscal health of this vital industry that directly employs nearly 900,000 people in the U.S., and is responsible for countless facets of the modern life we enjoy today.


Leading an all-star team of state, federal and international government affairs professionals, the VP has a trailblazing opportunity to spearhead scientific, technological and advocacy initiatives that may dramatically shift the tone of the regulatory conversation.

This ‘ambassadorial’ advocacy role engages with numerous external stakeholders including the EPA, OSHA, FDA and CPSC along with trade association allies, issue-base coalitions, international sister organizations as well as internal committees.

As chief science and technology officer, the VP will serve as spokesperson on scientific and technological issues and design / administer public policy-based programming to advance the industry’s goals.

The ideal candidate will be a master at balancing three essential job functions: regulatory advocacy (50%), science and technology programming (25%), and staff leadership (25%.) The VP will exemplify win-win relationship building, supreme organizational skills and a passion for the enduring well-being of the industry.



  • Bachelors degree required. Masters degree and curriculum in the physical sciences preferred.
  • Ten or more years of progressively responsible scientific and/or regulatory background.  A background in engineering, chemistry or biology would ensure a smoother transition into the role.
  • Experience with plastics industry or industry stakeholder group(s) strongly preferred.
  • Experience working in trade association environment preferred.
  • Outstanding leadership skills and demonstrated strength in coaching/mentoring staff.
  • Extraordinary organizational skills, able to balance competing priorities with aplomb.
  • Willingness to travel, primarily domestically but occasionally internationally, approximately 25%.



Regulatory Affairs:

Oversee comprehensive monitoring, assessment and response mechanisms to address regulatory issues at all levels of government.

  • Conduct, directly and through staff, wide-ranging advocacy before regulatory bodies in representing industry viewpoints and pursuing association goals.
  • Conduct, directly and through staff, analyses of relevant regulatory actions.
  • Ensure quality, efficiency and integrity of association’s regulatory vetting mechanisms.
  • Interact, directly and/or through staff, with external regulatory issue coalitions.
  • Expand SPI inventory of relationships with relevant regulatory bodies.
  • Serve as primary industry representative in code- and standards-setting matters.
  • Identify governmental agency programs with potential benefit to industry; lead association efforts to utilize targeted programs.
  • Act as a spokesperson on regulatory affairs issues. 

Science & Technology:

Design and administer broad-based scientific and technological programming on behalf of SPI and its members.

  • Establish and advance scientific and technological goals of the industry.
  • Serve as primary SPI information resource on science and technology issues.
  • Create and implement plans to advance industry’s science and technology goals.
  • Conduct, directly and through staff, scientific and technical analyses of public policy issues as required.
  • Lead SPI outreach to scientific community, including relevant non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and think tanks.
  • Act as a spokesperson on science & technology issues.

Committee and Staff Oversight:

 Provide supervision of certain internal committee activities, as well as activities of corresponding staff liaisons.

  • Ensure committee actions are rationalized with established association policies and priorities.


Supervision and Direction:

  • Supervises:

Senior Technical Director – Environment, Health & Safety (direct report)

Senior Director – Global Regulatory Affairs  (direct report)

Director, Regulatory & Technical Affairs  (indirect report)

Manager, Regulatory & Technical Affairs  (indirect report)

Coordinator, Industry & Regulatory Affairs (shared w/VP, Industry Affairs)


  • Establish individual development plans with staff.
  • Evaluate staff performance.
  • Provide staff opportunities for training and development.
  • Motivate staff toward achieving goals.



Regularly contribute to SPI’s industry communications tools; establish and maintain procedures to ensure same from staff.


Responsible for development, implementation and oversight of program budgets.


  • Internally:  Interface with SPI staff, SPI counsel and membership.
  • Externally: Interface with government agencies, code- and standards-setting organizations, trade groups & coalitions, and other plastics industry stakeholders as required in fulfillment of job goals.


Send salary requirements, cover letter, and résumé to Shira Harrington, Purposeful Hire, Inc. at This is a retained search. All candidates must submit applications through Purposeful Hire, Inc.