July 31, 2023

Special Report by Jordan Vitick

Marissa Cartwright

Regulatory Affairs Supervisor

Teknor Apex Co.

When Marissa Cartwright entered college, she thought she would follow a career path in research, but then she “quickly learned” she did not enjoy it.


“Working for six months on an idea, then having it not work, but that being a completely acceptable answer is not something I deal well with. I like rules, traceability and clear goals. 

Regulatory is a great fit,” said Cartwright, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Worcester Polytechnical Institute. “I also think the public often forgets the benefits plastics have brought us, ranging from lower shipping weights — and thus less fuel used — to longer shelf life and sanitation and others. With regulations followed, traceability of information, we can maintain these benefits safely and accommodate growing concerns.”


As the regulatory affairs supervisor for Pawtucket, R.I.-based Teknor Apex Co., Cartwright and her team manage regulatory data from suppliers and utilize WERCS (Worldwide Environmental Regulatory Compliance Solutions) software to author safety data sheets (SDS).

“Teknor makes products for various applications, so the needed regulatory data is very dynamic,” she said. “Topics become wide focuses, while we see other topics asked for less and less. We try to strike a balance of asking for thorough yet relevant information from our suppliers.”

Cartwright’s career at Teknor Apex began when she was hired as an SDS specialist right before the United States implemented the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

“I was able to get our automated SDS authoring program up and running in time for our compliance deadline to avoid manual authoring. Since then, we have implemented various new compliance software modules to gain efficiency while maintaining compliance with various application regulations,” she said.

Cartwright enjoys “the data interpretation and applying general data to specific situations” and would like to work as a product steward, “giving more voices for the support of the use of plastics with an environmentally conscious mind.”

Cartwright said she looks up to Dolly Parton: “You find out about a new awesome thing this woman has done over the years almost every month. She has a caring mind and passions. She also has the means to support those passions in society. But she never wanted the fanfare; she wanted to see her passions grow. She did good for the right reasons.”

Velda Iskandar

Product Development Specialist

Teknor Apex Co.

Velda Iskandar graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in forensic chemistry and chemistry minor and held internships with the National Center for Forensic Science and New York State Police crime laboratory. Her undergraduate research at NCFS working with polymers to help forensic investigations sparked her interest in polymers and the materials science field.

“I learned about the endless applications of plastics and how impactful their roles are in different industries ... from pharmaceuticals, forensics, electronics to food packaging,” she said. Iskandar started as an analytical chemist for Teknor Apex Co. “performing reverse engineering and chemical analyses to a diverse range of plastic compounds.”


She was promoted to her current role, product development specialist, in wire and cable technical services after one year of joining the Pawtucket, R.I.-based materials firm and has earned Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

“My personal mold that I am breaking is not taking the usual career route that most people who graduated from the same degree do. After having worked at a forensics lab setting, I realized that there are other career paths that are more suitable for me with my transferable skills,” Iskandar said. “I am very driven by innovation, project management and product marketing in the materials science space, and my current role as a product development specialist in tech service has been fulfilling.”

Iskandar said her greatest achievements involve “overcoming self-limiting beliefs and conquering my fears when jumping out of my comfort zone.” 

“I took a large leap of faith when I moved across the world away from my family for college, moved to a new city to start a career in a new industry, and when I ran my first wire trial,” said Iskandar, who was raised in Indonesia by parents in the medical field, where her aspirations to pursue a STEM career came from.

Back in college, Iskandar wrote for the online magazine Her Campus and won an Editor’s Choice award for her work.

“This meant a lot to me,” she said, “as I was writing about how extraordinary women like Rosalind Franklin, Mother Teresa and Malala Yousafzai demonstrate to young girls that women have the ability to leave a mark in the world beyond our physical appearance.”

Deveney Young

Regulatory Specialist I

Teknor Apex Co.

Deveney Young graduated from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Post-graduation, she worked in product development in the flavors and fragrance industry for three years before making the switch to the plastics industry.

“I was always interested in the sustainability of plastic. I entered this marketplace hoping to make a difference on how we can have consumers view plastics and encourage more recycling,” she said.

Young is now a regulatory specialist for Pawtucket, R.I.-based custom compounder Teknor Apex Co. Her responsibilities include issuing regulatory certification letters for external customers, maintaining the corporate product formula restriction program and authoring formula revisions, initiating communication with regulatory agencies, and interpreting existing domestic and global regulations.


One of the biggest challenges in her role is dealing with many different market spaces. The company sells products into medical, food, automotive and other markets internationally, and regulations are always changing.

“We must keep up with many different regulations and policies; it is hard to stay on top of when new regulations are proposed and when they go into effect. It is also difficult to collect this information. You reach out to suppliers, and they take two to three weeks to respond to your inquiry,” she said. 

Young was named a 2022 Wavemaker Fellowship recipient from Rhode Island, a student loan reimbursement program for graduates working in STEM fields.

Young was adopted from China and raised by a single mother. She started a blog from scratch, writing articles to help Asian American adoptees and people who are looking to adopt. “I consider this my one greatest achievement because I have had one person reach out to me expressing how much my story and blog helped them and their family through a difficult time. My personal goal was not to be viral, but to help one person, and I believe I was successful,” she said.

“I am breaking the mold of Asian Americans, I am breaking the mold of adoptees and I am breaking the mold of first-generation immigrants,” Young added. “On the deepest layer, I am breaking the mold of myself every day. It is easy to start a [monotonous] rhythm in life. I try to step outside my normal rhythm and find beauty in the small things. I try to challenge myself a little every day and to keep growing.”


Reprinted with permission from Plastics News. © 2023 Crain Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
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