Daniel Timmer, 25
Manufacturing Engineer, Chroma Color Corp.
Two years into his studies at Northern Illinois University, Daniel Timmer began his internship at McHenry, Ill.-based color concentrates maker Chroma Color Corp. A year later, he participated in an independent study course to research recycling e-waste. He started working full time at Chroma in December 2017, the same time he graduated from NIU with his bachelor's degree in manufacturing engineering.
"I enrolled in plastics courses at NIU because I knew it would be a good industry to work in — plastics make up such a huge part of so many products in the world today," the manufacturing engineer said. "The plastics industry has a bright future with room for growth, so I knew it would make an excellent career path for me."
An accomplishment for Timmer has been coordinating and overseeing the implementation of a roughly $1 million investment in a new production line that is capable of producing 1,000 pounds per hour of compounded product.
"I specified downstream equipment, designed a mezzanine for supplying the machine with raw materials and coordinated contractors for the install — riggers to unload and set, electricians, plumbers and manufacturer technicians," he said.
His current challenge is starting a project "to upgrade our dust collection system from a safety, indoor air quality, and collection efficiency standpoint."
Timmer's involvement in the industry extends to the community, hoping to get young students involved as well.
"Every year we tour a group of manufacturing students around our facility to give them a real-world experience outside of the classroom and hope to spark interest in a career in plastics for at least a few of the students," he said, adding that the advice he extends to those considering a career in the plastics industry is to "go for it."
"It makes for an excellent career path that is full of opportunity," he said. "Study hard and try to get as much hands-on experience as possible."
Timmer said he sees himself staying in the industry.
"I see myself continuing on the path of manufacturing engineering and implementing process changes to make products safer, better, faster and cheaper," he said. "I would like to one day lead a team of engineers working on continuous improvement."
Timmer enjoys working on cars and trucks, four-wheeling, hiking, biking, skiing and spending time with his wife.
Tom Bolger, CEO of Chroma, nominated Timmer for Rising Stars.
Q: What has been the biggest impact/challenge on your career from the coronavirus pandemic?
Timmer: Fortunately, business has been steady for Chroma throughout the year. For me, the biggest challenge has been making changes to the way we train our employees. Traditionally I would host training sessions in large groups, but the pandemic has led us to using online training tools so required training can be done individually on a computer.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Timmer: IIOT — the industrial Internet of Things. By adding sensors and internet connectivity to machines, we can see real-time status data, allow machines to communicate with one another, see causes of and eliminate downtime, drive maintenance schedules, speed up changeovers, better predict production schedules and much more.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Timmer: The connections. People who have been in the industry for 30-plus years seem to know almost everyone. When we were at the NPE show, we couldn't make it past five booths in a row without someone recognizing my boss and catching up like they're old friends.
Q: What should the plastics industry do to expand its efforts in diversity and inclusion?
Timmer: Hire with an open mind and have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and make every possible effort to make everyone feel included and accommodated in the workplace.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Timmer: I believe that "safety first" is a culture and not just something to throw on a poster on the wall to look good. If I were to start as the new CEO of a company, I would start with a safety assessment. I would evaluate the production floor from a safety standpoint: check for adequate machine guarding, no slip/trip/fall hazards, etc. Are supervisors adequately enforcing safety procedures such as PPE usage, LOTO, wearing seatbelts on forklifts, etc. Is safety training adequate and documented?