Shana Jackson, 34
Logistics Manager, Osterman & Co.
Shana Jackson started working at Cheshire, Conn.-based resin distributor Osterman & Co. in June 2014 as a customer service representative, where she said she learned the "basics of plastics as well as the integral parts of the day to day of the business as a whole."
"I quickly realized that logistics was where I wanted to be and was able to obtain a position within Osterman in June of 2015," Jackson said. In November 2016, she was promoted to logistics manager and she is overseeing all domestics logistics for the company.
Jackson has a bachelor's degree in business management, which she finished while working full time and calls her second greatest achievement. Her children are her first.
"After high school I was convinced that college was not for me, however, after starting to get my feet wet in the real world and getting some experience under my belt, I started to enjoy learning more about things that really interested me," she said. "I decided to go back to school and was able to complete my bachelor's degree."
Prior to working for Osterman, she worked in logistics as a medical transportation company.
"Working at Osterman is my first plastics job. I was not initially seeking out a position in the plastics industry, however, upon my first interview for my position I was intrigued with the amount of applications that plastics plays a part in and how many different kinds of plastics there are," she said. "Learning the components of different plastics and how they all work differently is fascinating."
To advance her career, Jackson attends training programs by Osterman to learn different product types and departments. "I make sure that I attend all of them to gain better knowledge of all of the working pieces of the puzzle," Jackson said.
She also takes LinkedIn Learning courses and American Management Association seminars, and she participates in Osterman's culture committee.
Jackson and her husband, Michael, have two daughters (Khloe, 3, and Kendra, 1) as well as a stepdaughter (Leilani, 13). To relax and relieve stress, Jackson exercises with music. "The better I feel, the easier it is for me to get through the days," she said. "The music makes my brain stop thinking about everything and just enjoy the moment."
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Jackson: What surprises me about the plastics industry is that seemingly everything has plastic in it! For some reason I think the most surprising application to me is rugs. I never realized how many applications plastic is truly in until I started working in the industry. The different functionalities of each plastic along with different characteristics in them are truly interesting as well.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Jackson: With more focus lately on sustainable plastics as of lately, it is certainly interesting seeing how the industry for plastics grocery bags and other things of that nature are not as needed, however, new ways to deliver similar items with less damaging effects are being created. Many companies are becoming more in demand for green products for their consumers so the industry will be needed to be sure to keep up and seems to be doing so.
Q: What is your philosophy related to plastics and sustainability? What steps have you taken to improve plastics' sustainability, either in work, your community or personal life?
Jackson: Plastics are a part of our everyday life and likely will be for the foreseeable future. But I do think that there are ways to use plastics in a more safe manner for the environment than is currently being done today. The simple steps that are being pushed today like reusable grocery bags, straws, cups and other supplies are all a step in the right direction that I personally have switched to myself. I have a reusable cup with a washable plastic straw that comes with me everywhere I go. I look more now than ever to be sure I am recycling products that should be and make sure I have my reusable shopping bags at each store I go to.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Jackson: The best advice I ever received is that discomfort in a situation is not a bad thing; it is an opportunity for growth. Every time I am in an uncomfortable situation, I try to reflect on it afterwards to see what I can do better the next time and learn from the experience.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Jackson: I would tell them that it is a great industry to work in. The industry is always evolving and you will forever be learning something new. Come in with an open mind and be ready to learn.