Our Purpose

"...to provide a means of exchange of technical information, for the expression of experience and opinion, and for discussion of news of the industry between people interested in rubber, plastics, and associated industries. The aim of this organization shall be to accomplish this purpose by promoting educational, social, and recreational meetings for members in a friendly and interesting manner."


Life Time Members

Lyle Elser

Lyle Elser

Lyle graduated from the University of Iowa with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1980. He started his career at the BF Goodrich Corporation in Akron, Ohio. In 1972 he added a BS in Industrial Supervision from Purdue University. He spent 35 years providing technical service leadership in tire manufacturing plants for BF Goodrich, Uniroyal Goodrich, and Michelin North America. After retiring in 1994 Lyle resumed his career in 1996 as a Process Chemist for Cooper tires non-tire manufacturing operations in Auburn, Indiana. He retired from Cooper in later 2002. Lyle is a longtime member and advocate of the Fort Wayne Rubber Group. He has served on the board as manufacturer's representative.


Dick Hupp

Dick Hupp

Dick graduated from the University of Denver in 1960 with a BS in Chemistry, and then began his career at Armstrong Rubber Company in Des Moines, IA. Throughout his career he has been dedicated to rubber or rubber related industries. His responsibilities included manufacturing, technical service, and technical sales. This included positions abroad, with 3 years in Portugal and 1 year in Venezuela. Dick had the opportunity to work for many companies before retiring from Schenectady International.

Dick served as president of the Fort Wayne Rubber & Plastics group from 1994-1995, and is also past president of the Central Illinois and West Michigan Rubber groups. He served as Chairman of the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society in 2002, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Rubber Division in 2008.

He is currently operating RJ Consulting on a limited basis, and has been chaplain for the Fort Wayne Rubber & Plastics Group for several years.


Bruce Brewster

Bruce Brewster

After business college and serving three years in the US Army, Bruce start his career with the Ohio Rubber Company in Willoughby, Ohio in 1960 as a Laboratory technician. In 1964 he joined the B. F. Goodrich research center in Breckville, Ohio as a laboratory Technician. In 1966 Bruce entered B. F. Goodrich's sales training program while attending the University of Akron. He later served as a B. F. Goodrich sales representative in Detroit covering Ford Motor Company.

In 1971 Bruce joined American Cyanamid's Rubber Chemical & Polymers Divisions as a Rubber Chemical salesman. In 1985 he joined Enichem as a Sales Manager for specialty Elastomers. In 1990 Bruce joined Union Carbide polyolefin division to concentrate on gas phase EPDM project. Dow Chemical purchased Union Carbide in 1999. Bruce retired from Dow Chemical in 2002. Bruce served as the Chairman of the Detroit Rubber Group and served on the board of several other rubbers groups throughout the Midwest.


Jerry Odom

Jerry Odom

Jerry retired from BRC Rubber & Plastics, Inc., on June 12, 2012 after 33 years of dedicated service. He has served the rubber industry for 49 years starting his career in 12-5-1962 with Midstates Rubber. During his time in the rubber industry he has worked at the following companies: Midstates Rubber, Tri State Products, Akro Products, Hoosier Rubber, Reliable Products, Leslie Mfg., Continental Rubber, Belko Corp, Bauman Harnish and BRC.

Jerry has been a member of the Fort Wayne Rubber Group for over 33 years and has served on the board as manufacturer's Representative several times.


DeVon Wilson

DeVon Wilson

DeVon graduated from Indiana Technical College in 1944 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. He then went to work for General Tire & Rubber Co. in Wabash In. He was taken into the Army Air Force in 1944 and served 2 1/2 years. After discharge he went back to work for General Tire as a Rubber Chemist until retirement in 1983. He was a Charter member of the Fort Wayne Rubber and Plastics Group and served as Chairman for 1 year. He spent 2 months in Korea's rubber factories in 1986 as a consultant after the Korean war.


Jim Hogan

Jim Hogan

Jim retired from BRC in December of 2009 after serving 12 years as plant manager. He started with Tri State Products in 1964, then spent 32 years with ACRO Products. Jim has been a member of the Fort Wayne Rubber Group since 1964.


Harold Whitacre

Harold Whitacre


Deborah Kilmer

Deborah Kilmer

Debbie began working for Triangle Rubber Co., Inc., Goshen, IN in 1975. She held various positions in 22 years with the firm, including Purchasing Agent, Production Manager and Director of Corporate Quality. In 1983 Debbie became a member of Fort Wayne Rubber & Plastics group. There she served in a number of roles including Publicity Chair, Secretary of the Board, Treasurer, Vice President and Program Chair, President. She also served on the Education Advisory Committee.

In 1996 Debbie joined Harwick Chemical Corporation, later Harwick Standard Distribution Corporation, as Technical Sales Representative. She was also a member of West Michigan Rubber Group, Inc. An associate of Rubber Division, ACS, Debbie was Local Arrangements Chair for the 1998 ACS Spring Meeting. Honorary Life Membership in Fort Wayne Rubber & Plastics Group was received in 1998, and for the group’s 50th Anniversary Meeting, held Sept. 13, 2001, Debbie chaired the anniversary planning committee.

In 2002 Debbie joined Everence Financial, located in Goshen, and in 2003 she graduated from Goshen College with a B. S. in Organizational Management.

© Fort Wayne Rubber & Plastics Group, Inc. 2013