Education: Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, Iowa State University.
Tell us about your family: I'm married to someone who also works in the plastics industry — Amanda Flores at Sabic Innovative Plastics in Evansville. We have two wonderful daughters: Elizabeth (5) and Mackenzie (3).
First job in plastics? Working for Dow Chemical's research assignments program. My first rotation was in the styrenics pilot plant in Midland, Mich. I really became interested in plastics during my third rotation, in flexible packaging technical service and development in Freeport, Texas. I got to work directly with packaging, which I found to be much more personally meaningful than making resin pellets.
Biggest failure and what it taught you? When I worked for Dow, I spent a year and a half in Kankakee, Ill., learning about automotive sealants manufacturing so I could start up a new plant in Midland. I then spent four months commissioning said plant.
Shortly after making our first batch, Dow announced it was getting out of the automotive sealants business. Even though it was not a personal failure, at the time, I was absolutely crushed, having really dedicated nearly two years of my life to this project.
I learned that it is just business and not to take business decisions personally. It was an amazing learning experience, both commissioning and decommissioning plants, that some engineers don't get in their careers, much less in that short of a period of time.
What is your current challenge at work? As anyone that works in sustainability will tell you, getting complete and accurate data. We have electricity, natural gas, greenhouse gas, water and waste reduction goals. With 100-plus facilities around the world, it can be a challenge obtaining all the data and verifying its accuracy.
What emerging technology most interests you? I'm very interested in renewable energy. I have been researching it for most of the last year, trying to identify opportunities for Berry Plastics. Stay tuned…
What is the best advice you've received? It's not enough just to do a good job. You also have to communicate to others what you are doing and the value you add to the company. Market yourself!
What job do you really want to have in the future? Is it too early to put chief sustainability officer out there?
What do you do to relax? Having two young children, the primary thing I do to relax is sleep. During the summer, my family really enjoys going to see the Evansville Otters play baseball at historic Bosse Field.