Matt McKinnon credits his parents for helping him get his career off on the right foot.
"Their unwavering support has given me the confidence to take many risks throughout my young career that have propelled me to achieve the successes I've experienced thus far. I've depended on their wisdom not only as successful business owners, but also as terrific people, and there is no one else I would rather spend time with than my parents."
McKinnon is business manager for polystyrene and engineering thermoplastics at Osterman & Co. in Cheshire, Conn. The Akron, Ohio, native has a bachelor's degree in finance from John Carroll University.
Why were you interested in the industry? I honestly had no idea about plastics until I visited a former college baseball teammate in Chicago who was working as a sales rep at Osterman. He explained the industry trends to me and thought that it was an industry where young talent could not only make an immediate impact but have a huge opportunity to take leadership roles as the current leaders of the industry were nearing retirement and their was a large talent gap for millennials to fill. He was dead-on in his assessment, and after meeting our owners, the Dwyer family, I had a very good feeling that I stumbled on to something special.
What is your current challenge at work? My current challenge is learning resin distribution from the perspective of a business manager as quickly as possible, juggling a growing number of new roles and responsibilities, all while trying to support a business that is growing and expanding at a torrid pace. Challenging? Absolutely! I wouldn't have it any other way!
What emerging technology or market most interests you? Just how interconnected the plastic resin business is becoming globally. I see no signs of this trend slowing down anytime soon, especially with a lot of capacity coming online in some markets while other markets are starved, not only for resin, but for partners that can get raw materials to their door regardless of locale. The opportunity to further connect these markets is really where companies like Osterman will continue to thrive.
What about the plastics industry surprises you?: While it is a large industry, on the inside everyone knows each other to the point where you can probably play three degrees of separation between just about anyone.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry? Work hard to find where your talents fit. There is a big opportunity within plastics for just about every skill set. The key to success is to leverage your strengths in a role that fits them.
If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first? Call the CEO of our biggest competitor and introduce myself.