Commercial Operations Leader, Conventus Polymers LLC
Jason Yoder earned his bachelor's degree in business administration with a focus on technology and operations management from Messiah University in Pennsylvania and started his career in the industrial automation industry.
He previously worked for Phoenix Contact USA as a business operations intern, sales analyst and product marketing specialist and had some familiarity with different types of plastic as the products Phoenix manufactured incorporated nylon, thermoplastic urethane and PVC.
Yoder and his wife moved to be closer to family, so he joined Conventus Polymers LLC, a resin distributor based in Parsippany, N.J. Yoder has been a commercial operations leader since July 2021.
"I was drawn to Conventus and the plastics industry because of the new challenge that it is. I thoroughly enjoy soaking up the technical aspects of this industry — there is no shortage when it comes to learning opportunities," he said.
His current challenge at work is implementing an enterprise resource planning system for the company.
"As the project manager, I have been tasked with understanding all facets of our business and adapting the new software to fit our business needs," he said. "Through this, I've gotten a crash course in accounting, purchasing, inventory and order processing. It has been a major challenge but has also been extremely rewarding, and I am grateful that our company trusts me to get the job done."
Yoder said he has always been someone who learned better by "doing" than through formal education: "To that end, I am always on the lookout for new experiences [and] ways to challenge myself and get uncomfortable. This has led me to gradually advancing into roles with more and more responsibility since starting my career."
Yoder has also been an airfield systems technician for the Pennsylvania Air National Guard since 2010.
"Believe it or not, my greatest achievement is simply completing basic military training. That experience came at a pivotal time in my life and really set me up with the confidence that I've needed ever since," he said. "It taught me that I truly am capable of achieving more than I think I'm able to. It also taught me important lessons about what it means to succeed or fail together as a team."
Q: What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Yoder: A few years ago, as I was transitioning into a marketing role with my previous employer, I was sent to an in-house sales workshop. The workshop included a lot of role-playing with everyone taking turns in various sales scenarios. I quickly discovered that I was not very good at these exercises and totally crashed and burned. I was left feeling embarrassed and inadequate, and like I wasn't cut out for the role I was stepping into. It taught me that I wasn't done learning and that I should never be. It also taught me that there are things in business, like sports, that require practice — and instead of getting frustrated, I need to put my head down and work to make myself better.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Yoder: My dad always says and lives by the phrase, "Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it." It's basic, but it's also an important mental health tool.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Yoder: I've been extremely blessed to work under a number of great people in my brief career and have looked up to/been mentored by each of them in certain ways. Currently, Conventus presidents Alex [Fung] and John [Jorgensen] — yes, we're lucky enough to have two! — are mentors to me as I continue to integrate myself in this industry. They generously take the time to educate me, include me on customer visits and share their philosophies on multiple topics.