Corvin Hurtienne, 33
Technical Sales Manager, Windmöller & Hölscher
Starting his plastics career with film extruder RKW SE as a trainee in research and development, Corvin Hurtienne was responsible for projects using the company's nonwoven and blown film production. The role led him to various production sites across Europe and Asia, where he was able to "meet great people while learning about the opportunities and challenges of producing high-quality plastic products."
"While the plastics industry is a global business, each unique area has its own demands and calls for individually developed solutions. I find the various plastics niches fascinating and the diverse cultures that come along with them are what keep me interested and invested in the future of our industry," said Hurtienne.
Hurtienne graduated from RWTH Aachen University in Germany with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Science in plastics and textile engineering.
He worked for BMW Group as a student materials engineer, moved to corporate research and development at RKW and now is technical sales manager of blown film for film extrusion and converting machinery manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher Group, where he has been since 2017, in Lengerich, Germany.
"I manage quite a few side projects along with my core responsibilities. Doing this connects me with a wide variety of people internal and external to my organization and keeps me informed of developments in adjacent areas," he said. "These projects allow me the opportunity to build more robust networks that can open new doors for my career in the future.
"Also, I am devoting a lot of time recently to working on different possibilities to add oxygen barriers to all-PE film laminates in order to create more sustainable food packaging applications. The projects I manage help me develop leadership skills that will help me advance in my career," he added.
Hurtienne has two brothers who both work in the tech and automation industry.
"They help me stay informed of the latest digitalization trends and help me look beyond what's currently possible in the world of plastics," he said. "They also keep me grounded."
The best advice he has received is to "stay true to yourself and trust your instincts," he said.
"Often there's more than one way to reach a goal, and I feel like if you trust in your own abilities, you get there reliably," he said. "Admitting when you don't know something also got me further than pretending to be an expert on a relatively unknown subject."
Hurtienne was nominated by Kasie Fairbarn, product sales manager at Windmöller & Hölscher.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
Hurtienne: My greatest achievement to date was spending 12 months in Australia when I was 19. I spoke broken English and only had a plane ticket and 500 Euros in the bank. But I managed to support myself with various odd jobs and traveled the beautiful country in the meantime.
I didn't realize it then, but the highs and lows I experienced in Australia would later help me overcome other difficult situations in my life because I was more confident in my own abilities to navigate challenges. It would've been very easy to call my family and ask for assistance when things weren't going smoothly, but I am proud that I managed to stand on my own feet, 9,000 miles from home and make it out alive with great stories to tell.
Q: One of our criteria for Rising Stars is whether they are active in the plastics industry, manufacturing or their community. How are you involved?
Hurtienne: I work as a technical adviser for our North American customers for all things related to blown film machinery. I am involved in discussions about new equipment as well as upgrading and retrofitting existing machinery to improve or diversify capabilities. By being in constant exchange with film producers, resin suppliers and brand owners, I have a good picture of the different needs and trends in our community.
I also occasionally check in on recent publications and patents within the scientific community and reach out to authors if I find a topic particularly interesting. In order to be part of an industry-leading company, I need to constantly be researching, learning and educating.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Hurtienne: Seek out people who have worked in the field you are interested in and ask them directly about their experiences and accomplishments. This industry has so many people with impressive track records and most of them are happy to share their experiences with younger people. This will help you identify where you can fit in best and contribute fresh ideas.