At Braskem America, Joel Carr has already made a mark on the plastics industry.
A year ago, Carr was given the opportunity to lead a small R&D group called the Copolymer Technology Team. The team has a strategic focus on developing new polypropylene copolymers for current and new applications.
Raj Krishnaswamy, the company's director of innovation and technology, credits Carr with "creativity, leadership and mentoring to ensure the perpetuity of the business," namely developing brand-new high-performance PP products for car interiors that will generate in excess of $100 million in annual sales within the next few years.
Carr, who has been married for seven years, has a bachelor's degree in plastics engineering technology from Penn State Behrend and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.
"The plastics industry is fascinating because of how small the community is, how broad and technically complex the field is and how varied are the final applications for plastics," Carr said. "Once you think you have a good grasp of things technically, there is always more to learn."
The Warren, Pa.-native said his current challenge at work is balancing managing projects while also successfully leading people.
"I always strive to be available to my team members to address any of their needs as best as I can," he said.
What emerging technology or market most interests you? Additive manufacturing.
What about the plastics industry surprises you? Every day I learn something new. I anticipate that will not change for the rest of my career.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Never stop learning.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry? The sky is limit with plastics; there are a lot of opportunities and very few training programs that specialize in plastics. Once you are in plastics, find what area interests you the most — for example, material development, chemistry, catalysis, processing, tool design, etc. — and run with it.
What job do you really want to have in the future? My heart is in the technical world of plastics, and I certainly would enjoy continuing to climb the ladder in our R&D organization.
What do you do to relax? Work-life balance is critical to decompressing and relaxing. In my spare time, I have numerous hobbies which I indulge in, including going to the gym, riding my bike, and collecting and playing old video games.