Ashtabula, Ohio — Bill Bregar, who spent 31 years reporting on the plastics industry, died April 5 of an apparent heart attack at age 58.
Bregar was a plastics industry star, known for his extensive industry knowledge and long list of sources and friends.
He joined our sister publication, Plastics News, as a staff reporter shortly before the publication’s launch in 1989. His beats changed a few times, but Bregar is best known for his years of experience covering plastics machinery. Initially he covered building and construction, and he has long been one of the publication’s experts on injection molding, thermoforming and rotational molding.
He was promoted to senior reporter in 1996. Even from the start, Bregar was the staff’s resident historian. He interviewed and profiled new members of the Plastics Hall of Fame, almost always in person, and he’s written obituaries for many plastics industry leaders. Bregar has also coordinated Plastics News’ annual Processor of the Year award for two decades, which has involved visiting and judging dozens of North America’s top plastics processors.
He has been honored numerous times for reporting and writing excellence, with awards from organizations including the American Society of Business Publication Editors, the Press Club of Cleveland and the Detroit Society of Professional Journalists. One recent story, a feature on Procter & Gamble’s Imflux molding technology, won both SPJ and Azbee honors. Bregar wrote the popular Heavy Metal blog on PlasticsNews.com, where he wrote about machinery and workforce issues, and personal experiences. He also wrote a monthly column on best practices.
Bregar grew up in Kirtland, Ohio, and was a 1979 graduate of Kirtland High School, where he worked on the school newspaper, played tennis and performed on the drums in the marching band. He was a 1983 journalism graduate of Ohio University, where he played in the marching band and participated in Students for Peace. He had five years of daily newspaper reporting experience before he joined the trade press, initially as an associate editor of Restaurant Management magazine.
Bregar was a resident of Ashtabula, and he lived in Akron, Ohio, for many years. His wife Nancy died in 2019. He is survived by his adult children, Sam and Molly, his first wife Susan, his mother Betty and his brother Terry.