Chelsea Cursio, 32
Coordinator, Supply Chain Operations & Customer Experience, Nova Chemicals Corp.
Working in supply chain operations, Chelsea Cursio deals with all of its challenges firsthand.
"Supply chain challenges are top news today, and for good reason. What is most challenging is the shortage of resources, particularly labor. Even a few months ago, having enough crews and drivers available to move material wasn't as problematic as it is today," she said. "Now, we are constantly juggling resource limitations due to COVID and weather against meeting customer needs.
"One of the best, but most challenging, parts of my role is that every day is different. I love problem-solving and being solution-driven, but the globally changing landscape of logistics and supply chain in general can make it challenging to reliably supply customers," she added.
Cursio earned her bachelor's degree in health care supply chain management from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
She has held roles as a management associate, logistics services representative and supervisor handling truck pricing, truck and rail administration, traffic claims, global logistics and more for U.S. Steel Corp.
"I was born in Altoona, Pa., where most of my family still resides. My family has historically been a 'railroad' family; my grandfather, two great-grandfathers and great-great-aunt were all employed locally in some kind of railroad capacity," she said. "My parents often joke that I always wanted to leave the area but couldn't leave the trains behind."
She started as a logistics operations specialist in August 2018 at Nova Chemicals in Moon Township, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh. She became a coordinator in supply chain operations and customer experience in November 2020.
"What interested me most about joining the industry was the thought of being able to physically see and touch a plastic end-use product that I was able to help transport in some way," she said.
Two of the biggest challenges that have stemmed from the pandemic, Cursio said, have been not having in-person collaboration with her team and transportation reliability.
"We have seen more challenges from a driver and rail crew availability perspective than ever before," Cursio said. "The priority is to keep individuals as safe as possible, and this has impacted supply reliability at times during the pandemic."
Cursio said she is most proud of the work completed in conjunction with other logistics and customer experience groups "to enhance the customer experience journey Nova Logistics delivers."
"We have successfully driven down our supply reliability complaints each year since I've joined Nova and increased our on-time delivery and on-time shipping performance," she said.
Cursio was nominated by Andie Stiles, marketing communications and trade PR manager of Nova Chemicals.
Q: What steps have you taken to advance in your career?
Cursio: I have successfully completed the APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) certification, Emerging Leaders training sponsored by NOVA Chemicals, six sigma/continuous improvement training; led and participated in numerous initiatives including Logistics Customer Experience and NOVA Chemicals' customer experience journey; led customer adoption focused teams; and led and facilitated customer intervention sessions focused on reliability of supply.
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?
Cursio: I am a core member of the NOVA Chemicals Sustainability Action Team. Recently formed, we are focused on empowering all NOVA Chemicals' employees to be involved by planning or participating in opportunities to learn and demonstrate environmental stewardship.
I am a strong proponent for the safe and responsible use of plastics in our world today, which are essential to everyday life and business. As businesses place more and more emphasis on taking care of our environment and safety, they will utilize plastics in a more effective manner to benefit all.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Cursio: The concept of autonomous transportation is incredibly interesting to me. We are much closer to autonomous trucks and drones than some other modes of transport, but the potential efficiencies and labor challenges that the industry is currently experiencing are extremely compelling cases for embracing automation where and when possible.