AKRON (Dec. 7)—Walter J. Morris, founder, president and CEO of Morris Latex Products Inc., has been named Rubber & Plastics News' Rubber Industry Executive of the Year for 2001 Under Morris' leadership, his company grew from a start-up firm making a niche product—disposable rubber and synthetic anesthesia breathing bags—to the leader in its field. Throughout the 1990s, sales increased virtually every year and the firm expanded seven times in eight years. While other companies struggled during the economic slide of the last 12 to 18 months, Morris kept his business prosperous and on the cutting edge, according to several industry observers. They also say he is a man of vision and integrity, a resilient and shrewd businessman. Morris was chosen by the editors of RPN from among several strong candidates.