James Snodgrass, Editor, Urethanes Technology International - Chair of Judges

James Snodgrass is the editor of the global polyurethanes magazine and website Urethanes Technology International. He was previously editor of Industrial Plant & Equipment, and has worked on several of Crain Communications’ plastics industry titles. In the past he was a motoring and Formula 1 writer for CNN, and worked on newsstand magazines including Stuff, Top Gear, Classics & Sports Car, and NME.



Michel Baumgartner, Secretary General, EUROPUR

Michel Baumgartner is the Secretary General of EUROPUR, the European association of flexible polyurethane foam blocks manufacturers, and of EURO-MOULDERS, the European association of manufacturers of moulded polyurethane parts for the automotive industry. He serves both associations since November 2013. He spent most of his career representing trade associations in Brussels, and notably served as EU Affairs Manager of EUROBAT, the European association of automotive and industrial battery manufacturers. Michel holds a degree in political science from Sciences-Po Strasbourg, where he specialized in international relations and European law.

 Michel Baumgartner



 Ulrich Liman

ULRICH LIMAN, senior vice president, PU business unit, Covestro

Dr. Ulrich Liman, born in 1959, studied chemistry in Paderborn and Berlin and was a post-doc at the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA. He began his industrial career at Bayer AG in 1989, working in polyurethane application development. In 1996 he moved to Amagasaki, Japan to manage application development at the Sumika Bayer Urethane joint venture through 2001. After his return from Japan, he was responsible for product development and compounding in the Business Unit Polycarbonates at Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) in Europe. Liman went to Shanghai in 2011 to expand the Polymer Research & Development Center for Asia on behalf of BMS. Since 2014, Liman has been Senior Vice President of the Polyurethanes Business Unit, heading global Research & Development.




Dr. Grazyna Mitchener is a director and principal consultant in Polychemtech Ltd. and Technical Director at Enertor. She graduated in 1984 and for 12 years was an academic researcher and lecturer specializing in high performance and fire resistant polymers. From 1996 to 2008 she worked for Celotex (UK), on development of first in Europe zero-ODP PIR rigid insulation products. Nowadays she provides consultancy on industrial R&D, fire resistant thermal super-insulators and specialty polyurethane elastomers. She is the author of 8 patents and over 60 scientific papers, conference presentations and training workshops. For her contribution to the thermal insulation industry she was presented the “Global Insulation Personality of 2014” award.

 GM PolyChemTech



 Mike Murray


Mike Murray is an experienced Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who has a passion for identifying new technologies and bringing them to market.

Mike joined Vita in April 2020, having spent 25 years with Morgan Advanced Materials in a number of global technology leadership roles including CTO. He holds a Bachelor’s and Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Birmingham.







JOERg Palmersheim, Secretary General, ISOPA & ALIPA

Since 1st Jan 2013 Joerg Palmersheim has become Secretary General of ISOPA and ALIPA,
the industry associations of the European diisocyanates and polyols industry, located at Brussels in Belgium. He also serves as member of various Management Committees of Polyurethane Downstream Associations and chairs the Global PU Trade Association Working Group.

Before joining ISOPA & ALIPA, Jörg Palmersheim spent his career with Covestro, previously known as BAYER MaterialScience in various functions. He started his career in August 1985 at BAYER AG in Leverkusen, Germany undertaking an internal traineeship with strong focus on Marketing. After 14 years in different functions within the BAYER Group, including assignment to the UK, he entered the BAYER Polyurethane Business in 1999.

Over 13 years he held different positions in product management and in marketing, being
based in Germany and in Switzerland. Since then he has been appointed Secretary General of ISOPA and ALIPA, which he started to gear up both industry associations towards a sustainable future.

Special focus is given to the REACH restriction on diisocyanates, which will require mandatory training across the EU for all those using diisocyanates. The creation of a EU wide platform for accessing training is one of the key topics over the next years. Besides the restriction, the current legislative process on setting an OEL for diisocyanates is demanding industry's contributions. 

Last but not least, the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability will also have great impact on the diisocyanate and polyurethane industry.

 Joerg Palmershiem



 Tony Ryan Kingspan

Tony Ryan, Technical Director – UK & Ireland, Kingspan Ltd

Tony has worked for Kingspan for over a decade and is currently the Technical Director for Kingspan Insulated Panels in Britain and Ireland. He has a background in building services engineering and sustainable energy technology. He has completed Kingspan’s programme for executive acceleration and was awarded a Master in Business Administration (MBA) at Manchester Business School in 2016. Tony was also shortlisted for the UK Construction week role model of the year in 2018. His specialist areas are fire safety, holistic building design, sustainability, and digitalisation of the construction industry. Tony represents Kingspan Insulated Panels at various trade bodies and is a member of Engineers Ireland.



Per Henning Vaagen, General Manager/CEO, Laader Berg

Per Henning Vaagen has been General Manager/CEO at Laader Berg AS since 2008.

Laader Berg, located in Norway, are a world leading company, providing the polyurethane slab stock industry with advanced solutions over the last 60 years. Laader Berg are the inventor of the Maxfoam technology with customers in more than 90 countries and delivered machines to more than 500 factories. Laader Berg has provided customized innovative solutions, and by organic growth, more than tripled the sales revenue over these years.

Previous positions mainly in furniture and mechanical process industries:
(ICT-Manager at Stokke AS and MMC Fodema, (now Optimar) Technical and Product Development Manager; with responsibilities to develop and implement business strategies, internet marketing and sales strategy, product and process development, logistic, b2b, e-collaboration, value chain and ICT-strategies. 

 Per Henning Vaagen






Simon Robinson, Former Editor, Urethanes Technology International

Simon Robinson is the former editor of Urethanes Technology International. Simon graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a degree in Polymer Science and Technology. He recently retired after 35 years working as a respected journalist in the polyurethane, chemical and polymer sectors in the UK, Europe and internationally. As well as reporting on these areas, across a number of media and publications, Simon has also presented to international audiences live and online and devised a number of awards programme during his career. He now lives in the Peak District National Park.




Judging process

  • Judges will be experts in the field of polyurethane, with particular experience in the area of each award. They will select the shortlist and choose winners.
  • Judges will declare any conflicts of interest regarding relationships with either the nominator or the nominee.
  • Only entries submitted via the appropriate online entry form will be considered.
  • All information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence
  • Judges will evaluate each entry against the criteria, using their own discretion based on their relevant expertise.
  • In the event of a draw, judges will deliberate until they agree on a winner.
  • Judges decisions are final and binding
  • No correspondence will be entered into relating to the final decision.
  • If it is found that any entrant has knowingly provided false information, Crain reserves the right to disqualify the entry.