Scott Benson, a Plastics News Rising Star from the class of 2017, headed to NPE2018 expecting to learn more about the advancement in 3D printing speed and resolution, as well as advancements in automation that allow cost reduction opportunities.
"There are many reasons to attend NPE as a young professional. The No. 1 reason is to expand knowledge of current products and services available that pertain to our manufacturing industry," he said in an interview before the event in May. "Secondary reasons are to meet current and potential vendors of our business, meet competitors and enjoy the excitement of the plastic industry."
Benson, 35, has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from Texas Tech Rawls College of Business, plus an RJG Master Molder certification.
Q: When did you decide that you wanted a career in plastics? What was appealing about it?
Benson: The main reason I ended up in the plastics industry is because my wife became pregnant with our first child. The vast amount of industries served and product applications are appealing to me still today. One day I can be working on a railroad bearing or an automotive canister and the next day a water meter or an electrical connector.
When I returned to Texas in 2011, I was focused on gaining acceptance to medical school to pursue a specialty in orthopedics. As I was preparing my application to medical school when my wife became pregnant with our first daughter. I felt the pressure to decide between medical school with training for 10-14 years or being a dedicated husband and father.
Q: Looking back, was it a good move? Why or why not?
Benson: The transition into plastics has been a blessing to my family and I. I am surrounded and supported by a vast amount of knowledge on both a technical and a business front. The support allows me continually grow both personally and professionally.
Q: What would be your main aim in coming to this year's show?
Benson: Automation opportunities would be the most impactful focus for our processes. In addition to the current business needs, additive manufacturing, conformal cooling, simulation software advancements (mold flow, mold design) and process monitoring systems are the most interesting advancements to me personally.
Networking opportunities within boundaries of a trade show of this magnitude are endless. My personal game plan would be to connect with key current suppliers first, then follow a strategic list of companies to advance potential vendor/service knowledge. Each qualifying contact would be followed up with an email and social media invite on LinkedIn.