Work hard. Uphold your integrity. Strive for excellence. Have a willingness to learn from those around you. These are the words of advice Leila Galvan would give to someone considering a career not just in the plastics industry but in any industry.
She herself became interested in the plastics industry because they are a huge part of everyday life.
"Having the opportunity to be a part of something that touches so many people in various ways is amazing," Galvan said in her Women Breaking the Mold survey. "More specifically, as an environmental engineer in the plastics industry, I am able to ensure we run our plant within environmental air, waste and water permitting limits and/or regulatory requirements."
Galvan graduated from Texas A&M University, Kingsville, with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and master's degree in environmental engineering. In college, she participated in Women in Engineering, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Mexican American Engineers and Scientists. She was also the vice president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
Her first role in the plastics industry was with LyondellBasell, where she is currently an environmental engineer at the material giant's Victoria, Texas, plant.
"I believe I am breaking my personal mold by expanding my knowledge outside of my comfort zone and learning all aspects of the environmental field," she said. "I never imagined I'd have such significant responsibilities for all areas of compliance. It's an exciting opportunity."
Galvan said one thing that surprises her about the plastics industry is its involvement with projects to minimize and manage waste, such as the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, in which companies, including LyondellBasell, have pledged more than $1 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to tackle the issue.
"I am proud to work for one of the companies that has taken an active leadership role and is dedicated to the AEPW mission," she said. "Plastics have a huge place in our world, and now the plastics industry is a big part in making sure those products don't end up in our environment. To me, this demonstrates the plastics industry's commitment to the environment and leaving behind a better world for future generations."
Galvan said that in the future, she would want to have "a more active role in cleaning up the plastic waste found in our waterways."