Most years, Plastics News gets a lot of nominations for our Rising Stars special report. This year we had a batch that stood out in quality, diversity — in terms of experience, career paths and country of their birth — and quantity, with nearly 100 people age 35 and younger nominated.
As Jordan Vitick, PN's special project editor, points out, it wasn't easy to narrow that down to just 35 people to profile.
As you read through the stories about this year's stars (in this week's print issue and available in a slightly longer version at plasticsnews.com/topic/rising-stars), you'll find people with family connections to the industry and people who only encountered plastics in high school or college.
That variety makes it hard to categorize them, but one thing remains true in 2023 as it has for the past 10 years. They are highly motivated by sustainability. Some stars said they were drawn to plastics as a career specifically because they saw a part they could play in creating a circular economy both from inside the industry and by working with the community at large.
As part of the nomination process, we asked potential stars this year to fill out a multiple-choice survey, allowing us to tap into the opinions of all the nominees. You can see the results of part of that survey above, including the fact that they are optimistic about the future.
Be sure and check out this year's Rising Stars. For the nominees who didn't make it, please try again. For those people who complain that young people aren't interested in manufacturing or plastics, this is a reminder that there are a lot of quality people out there, ready to take on more.