Project engineer, MTD Micro Molding
Lynzie Nebel, 29, is a project engineer at medical-device maker MTD Micro Molding in Charlton, Mass. She received a bachelor's degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology in 2008 from Penn State Erie, the Behrend College.
Nebel is a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers, and volunteers for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and Carriage House, a grief support center for children and teens in Worcester, Mass. She plays viola for Seven Hills Symphony and can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Q: What was your first plastics job and why were you interested in the industry?
Nebel: My first job in plastics was an internship at Zurn Industries LLC's facility in Commerce, Texas. However, my interest in the industry was sparked in high school because we had a tabletop injection molding press. We molded screwdrivers and key chains and it made me realize how many things in the world can be made with plastics.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
Nebel: As corny as it is, finally realizing I'm good at my job and have a lot to offer the industry. It's taken me a long time to realize that a direct comparison (to anyone) will only make me compare my weaknesses instead of utilizing my strengths.
Q: What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Nebel: Taking a job at a company that wasn't a good fit for me. I thought it would be a bigger learning experience, and I didn't see as many of those learning opportunities as I expected. It taught me it is OK to cut ties if it is truly what you want or need to do. Your primary loyalty is not to your boss or your company, but to your own career. You are responsible for your career — don't wait for it to be nurtured for you.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Nebel: My current challenge at work is learning how to re-center my thinking around the microworld, having always been involved and educated about all-things-macro (and larger). In my past jobs, holding a 0.0015-inch tolerance on a polypropylene diameter would be crazy. It's just not that crazy in micromolding.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Nebel: I think anything having to do with molding implants in bioabsorbable materials is incredible. I think most people think of plastics as a never-dying material, so to mold something that goes into your body but doesn't stay and isn't removed is a fascinating concept.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Nebel: It always surprises me how many people outside of the industry don't see or understand the value there is in plastic. That, and how plastics tends to be lumped into one giant category that is typically deemed “good” or “bad” without so much as a closer look.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Nebel: “It's not as scary as it seems.” I would like to give that advice to any girl thinking about college majors. I think a lot of women don't think of themselves as “mechanically inclined.” And because of that they may perceive plastics engineering to be too difficult or intimidating.
Q: If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?
Nebel: I would make fair maternity and paternity leave available to my employees. This has never been available to employees at any company I have worked at in my career (large and small companies). For some situations, I think it is because it is a male-dominated industry and the issue isn't always regarded as high-priority because of that. I think once you make it known that you value people, they want to work for you.
Q: Who is your mentor, or someone you look up to?
Nebel: Kathy Dropik. She was one of the first (and few) female engineers at Fisher-Price and was the wife of one of my college professors. She headed many engineering projects at a time when that was not common and she is someone I still go to for advice.
Q: What job do you really want to have in the future?
Nebel: I truly enjoy working in this industry, so I would love to run an organization that gives young women and girls an introduction into the plastics industry, as well as provide them with the tools they need to become plastics engineers.
Q: What do you do to relax?
Nebel: Play the viola, try new craft beers and watch old movies.