Education: Bachelor's degree from Boston College, MBA from Cornell University
What interested you about plastics? I worked on the production line in high school and enjoyed the physicality of the work.
Greatest achievement? In my short tenure at CK Technologies we have had two years of record sales and EBIT and we were awarded 131 new injection molding tools on new programs.
Biggest failure and what it taught you? One of my biggest failures was at one of our smallest facilities. It taught me that regardless of the size of the facility with regards to number of people and throughput, you need to ensure you have the same caliber of top management across the board. We have that today.
What is your current challenge at work? Slower-than-normal industry volume.
What emerging technology or market most interests you? We are constantly researching innovative solutions to bring to the commercial truck and bus industry. Right now of most interest is a medium duty truck hood made entirely out of plastic. We were the industry first all-plastic bumper, industry first plastic grill and recently plastic roof fairing and chrome plated plastic sun visor. This most recent innovation around the hood falls right in line with our previous innovations.
What about the plastics industry surprises you? People often think of the plastics industry as not environmentally friendly, so they are often surprised that we are a triple bottom line company that strives for zero waste to landfill and has the planet as one of our core pillars. I share with them that in fact, when used for durable long-term applications vs. disposable water bottles and bags or other one-time-use items, plastics can be more environmentally friendly because you can regrind your scrap and take the plastic back at the end of its life cycle and reuse. It is often more environmentally friendly cradle to cradle when it comes to long-term applications than other technologies.
What is the best advice you've ever received? Step aside for praise and step in front of criticism.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in plastics? We need you. My understanding is that 3 million jobs will be created in manufacturing in North America and as many as 2.5 million could go unfilled if people don't start looking at manufacturing as a desired career path. At a recent conference they referenced a statistic that manufacturing ranks dead last in terms of ideal career options for graduating high school seniors. We need to change the perception that plastics and manufacturing is not a top career choice, because it is a backbone of our economy.
Who is your mentor, or someone you look up to? Mayu Avila from El Salvador. She was the first female secretary of state for El Salvador and lead HSBC in Latin America. She has been a mentor and female role model for me.
What job do you really want to have in the future? I would like to lead our parent company, Cascade Engineering.
What do you do to relax? I enjoy spending time with my family, doing yoga and spending time outdoors.