Joining Sekisui SPI's Kydex Thermoplastics aviation team in Bloomsburg, Pa., as quality engineer has been Erin Connelly's greatest career achievement because she connects with customers on a level to not only change things for the better but also allow the company to offer solutions to challenges around the world.
The aviation team recently assisted a customer shift from a non-eco-friendly product to Kydex Aviation Grade Thermoplastics.
"During this transition, the customer was not familiar with quantifying appearance vs. color measurement. The team completed a study to help the customer understand the relationship between visual appearance and quantifiable measurements," according to Connelly's Women Breaking the Mold survey.
This meant for a successful transition to Kydex Thermoplastics, which are used in the back shells on seats, tray tables and the majority of first-class seats.
Connelly's current challenges at work include trying to anticipate customer needs in a market where expectations change at an unprecedented rate.
Connelly graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and from Wilkes University with an MBA — the latter she earned while working full time as a quality engineer.
"Women bring many different perspectives into the plastic industry that is helping to drive it forward," she said. "In Kydex Thermoplastics, there is a heavy emphasis on quantitative and qualitative aesthetic requirements. I'm able to mesh both the quantitative and qualitative requirements to more effectively communicate to our customers and explain the customer's expectations to the production team."
Asked a position she would want to hold in the future, she said, "It doesn't exist yet."
"Future Erin would love a position that continues my passion for interacting with customers and production, while bringing continuous improvement quality practices and concepts to the strategic level — something like a continuous improvement manager," she said.