Keller and Heckman Co-Founder, Jerome H. Heckman, Dies at Age 85
Attorney Remembered as Plastics and Packaging Industry Pioneer and Hall of Fame Member
WASHINGTON DC USA – It is with great sadness to report that our friend and co-founder, Mr. Jerome Heckman, died on Monday, January 21, 2013, at the age of 85. Mr. Heckman was a native and lifetime resident of Washington, D.C. After attending Woodrow Wilson High School and serving as a Naval Air Cadet, he graduated from Georgetown University in 1948 and then Georgetown University Law School in 1953. Mr. Heckman became General Counsel of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) in 1954 while he was an associate attorney with the firm of Dow, Lohnes, and Albertson.
In 1962, with the late Joseph E. Keller, also then a partner at Dow, Lohnes and Albertson, he founded the firm of Keller and Heckman and continued to serve as SPI General Counsel until 2002. During this time of enormous growth in the plastics industry he shepherded the handling of every major legal and regulatory problem the industry faced including its successful effort to prevent the banning of plastic garment bags in the late 50s; its continuous struggle to persuade building and code officials to let the industry’s products be used to make pipe, lighting fixtures, and other major parts of the built environment; and helped bring to market such significant plastics products as beverage bottles and many other types of plastics food wraps.
Beginning in 1957, he specialized in dealing with Food and Drug Administration clearance matters for the plastics industry and many other food, drug, and cosmetic industry clients of his firm. To aid in this work, in 1970 he began hiring and integrating a number of well credentialed chemists and toxicologists into his firm so that, today ˆ and uniquely it is believed Keller and Heckman has a robust community of scientists with Ph.Ds. and other chemistry and toxicology experts who support its 80 lawyers in the firm’s Washington D.C., Brussels, San Francisco, and Shanghai offices.
Among his most significant achievements was the bringing about of new language in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to make it possible for innovators to obtain clearance for their packaging materials changes in a fixed time of 120 days after Notifications are filed with FDA; this statutory change came about in 1997 as a direct result of a Heckman initiative. In recognition of his efforts for the plastics industry he was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1986 and in 1987 was awarded the SPES’s Hominum (Hope of Mankind) award by the National Sanitation Foundation.
He also received the first William Bradbury award for outstanding contributions to the plastics packaging industry from the SPI Color Additives and Compounders Division at a ceremony in April of 2000. In June of 2000 he was presented with the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition Director’s Special Citation Award by the Food and Drug Administration, and in June of 2001, he received the Paul R. Dean Distinguished Alumni Award from Georgetown University Law Center. In December of 2005 he was awarded its International Achievement Award by the International Society of Regulatory Toxicologists and Pharmacologists. In October of 2007, Mr. Heckman was inducted into the Packaging Hall of Fame and enshrined at Michigan State University.
In addition, Mr. Heckman was recognized by his colleagues and peers as one of Washington, D.C.’s Super Lawyers and listed in Best Lawyers. Mr. Heckman was the author of more than 125 papers on administrative law subjects, most of which were published as book chapters or in a variety of law and trade journals.
Mr. Heckman is survived by his wife, Ilona Ely Heckman, an Alexandria Virginia attorney; his two sons, Eric Heckman (Fawn Donna) of Rockville, Maryland, and Carey Heckman of Hanover, New Hampshire; and two grandsons, Samuel Adam and Ronnie Max Heckman of Rockville, Maryland.
He is also survived by his three brothers, Dr. Bernard Heckman (Ruth Ann) of Rockville, Maryland, Alexander Heckman (Jacqueline) of West Palm Beach, Florida, and Stanley Heckman (Sonie) of New York City.
Mr. Heckman was a major contributor to Georgetown University Law Center and the Producers Circle of the Kennedy Center. He was a member of Washington Hebrew Congregation, Woodmont Country Club, Boca Raton Resort and Club, and the Georgetown Club.
The family has requested that any expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Jerome H. Heckman scholarship foundation at Georgetown University Law Center.
Mr. Heckman will be well remembered by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.