Brian Kandl, 35
Director of Operations, Chroma Color Corp.
When Brian Kandl first started in the plastics industry, he was surprised by how many different types of polymers are used to manufacture everyday household items and the complexity and the differences in processing conditions when working with different types of resins and materials.
He graduated from the University of Dayton with a bachelor's degree in business administration – finance. His first role in plastics was as a plant manager. He has been director of operations for color and additive concentrates maker Chroma Color Corp. of McHenry, Ill., since September 2020.
"The plastics industry provided me with a new challenge from all of my previous jobs, which is what initially stimulated my interest," he said. "As my career in plastics progressed, the complexity and challenge to develop new processes and technologies to drive the industry forward has only continued to enhance my interest in the industry."
Chroma has been growing rapidly over the last few years, Kandl said, "largely in part due to acquisitions."
"A big challenge facing our corporation was all of our manufacturing facilities operated on different ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems," he said. "Over the past year and a half, we have successfully implemented a common system across six manufacturing sites, which has helped streamline our operation across all functions of our enterprise."
Kandl said he is most excited about Chroma's G3 product line.
"This technology provides the highest loadings in the industry and allows us to compete with liquid color. In addition, the unprecedented loadings we are able to achieve greatly reduced the percentage of resin used in our finished goods," he said.
The best advice he has received is to take on projects and jobs that nobody else wants to take on, which has helped him learn various aspects of the business.
"Taking on roles that are often viewed as undesirable has provided me with exposure to functions of the business that I would not have had the opportunity if I would have simply 'stayed in my lane,'" Kandl said.
"I have learned that this business is not one that can be managed from sitting behind a desk," he added. "Be prepared to be very hands-on and put yourself in a position to gain exposure to as many functional areas as possible."
Kandl was nominated by Glenn Munshaw, vice president of operations for Chroma Color Corp.
Q: What should the plastics industry do to expand its efforts in diversity and inclusion?
Kandl: I believe there is a need to appeal to the younger generation. As plastics companies become more technology-focused, recruiting from colleges will be key in growing the industry. Chroma Color has prioritized ESG [environmental, social and governance], and I believe we are headed in the right direction. We also have had several recipients of the breaking the mold award and we continue to make this a priority in our organization.
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?
Kandl: My overall philosophy on sustainability is that all individuals and businesses bear the responsibility to protect our environment. I believe Chroma Color has done a great job of exploring the opportunity to use recycled material as carrier resins as well as developing new technology that greatly reduce the percentage of resin in our finished goods.
Q: What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Kandl: It is hard for me to identify my "biggest" failure as I have failed several times over the course of my career. What I have learned is that failure cannot prevent you from continuing to think outside the box and implement new ideas that go against the norm. In order to drive change and make improvements, you cannot be afraid to fail.