For the first time, Plastics News is turning a spotlight on plastics professionals under the age of 40 who are on the path to becoming the industry's next leaders. Tuesday and today, we profile 10 of these "Rising Stars."
Michael van der Jagt
38, Parx Plastics BV
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Twitter handle: @MvanderJagt
Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration, international management, 1998.
Career highlights: Founded Designcord BV, 2010. Founded Parx, 2012. Taking the first step in taking public the patented Parx technology to make plastic antibacterial in a biocompatible and non-migrating way, fall 2013. In 2014, Parx was named a Top Tech Startup (among three) in Europe by Neelie Kroes, a European Commission vice president, in the Tech All Stars competition.
Q: Tell us about your family.
Van der Jagt: Married, two sons, 3 and 5 years old.
Q: What was your first plastics job and why were you interested in the industry?
Van der Jagt: In my Designcord venture we designed, developed and produced products from plastic. We developed an extension cord reel with the rewinding mechanism from inside a vacuum cleaner. But what interested me was making OEM products and helping with the development of new products, all using plastics. Initially, the Parx technology brought us a unique material to develop our own products. But the market for the technology was so large that we pivoted our focus to sell the material technology alone.
Q: What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Van der Jagt: Almost getting our patent stolen in China. Protect your intellectual property!
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Van der Jagt: We just launched the Parx technology publicly and we are already dealing with eight Fortune Global 500 companies and with four of the world's largest medical-device makers.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Van der Jagt: We hold an emerging technology. We have a technology to make plastic antibacterial by making use of a trace element already found in the human body that is nontoxic, fully biocompatible and, best of all, does not migrate or leach out. We achieve a 99 percent antibacterial property without using chemicals, biocides, nanoparticles, heavy metals or any other toxic substances. The technology can be safely used for food-contact materials and medical implants.
Q: Who is your mentor, or someone you look up to?
Van der Jagt: In general I admire the spirit, energy and achievements of Richard Branson.
Q: What job do you really want to have in the future?
Van der Jagt: To have a presences in the U.S. and have our technology used by a prime Asian manufacturer.