After graduating from Arcadia University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in psychobiology, Aaron Foss said his friend turned him onto the idea of working for Saudi Basic Industries Corp. — GE Plastics at the time — in Pittsfield, Mass., because Foss had a technical background — not in plastics but in the sciences — and his friend knew how eager Foss was to succeed.
Foss, 34, joined the company in 2007 as an engineering sales associate, "which was a fancy name for inside sales at the time."
"I was interested in plastics because I was able to put some of my degree to work and be in a competitive environment and get started with an excellent company," Foss said in his Plastics News Rising Stars survey. "I really knew nothing about the industry until I immersed myself in it."
One career highlight includes being account manager at Ashland Distribution in Nashville, Tenn., until April 2011. Ashland divested the distribution business to TPG Capital and was renamed Nexeo Solutions, and Foss kept the same role for another year.
Foss became a product specialist for engineered polymers in Houston for two years, then a district manager, Midwest, in Columbus, Ohio. He became senior product manager of ETPs in January 2018.
"Professionally, I feel that my greatest achievement was managing a team of seven people. I don't say this because I necessarily excelled, but because of the things I learned and the bonds I made with the team," Foss said.
"It was very challenging for a 29-year-old to take over a seasoned team of professionals and earn their trust. I had no experience managing people, let alone people twice my age," he added. "It was extremely rewarding seeing members of the team excel and win multiple awards while I was supporting them."