Jennifer Piltz, 30
Supply Chain Planner, Nova Chemicals Corp.
Jennifer Piltz started at Nova Chemicals Corp. in Moon Township, Pa., as an administrative specialist and worked her way up to her current role of supply chain planner. Prior to joining the plastics industry, Piltz had experience in the travel industry and in customer and administrative support.
"I wasn't familiar with the term 'polyethylene' until I saw the job posting for Nova and did some research. Ironically, the day I stumbled upon the administrative specialist posting at Nova was the last day the job was open to be able to apply. I was pleasantly surprised when I was offered the role and accepted without hesitation," she said.
"I can recall sitting in one of my first meetings and hearing my team members discuss various products their customers purchased. When our meeting ended, I went back to my desk and dug through our 'product finder' to learn more. I was fascinated how the different products, applications and markets were connected. I found it extremely interesting to be involved in an industry where the products and applications add value and help improve our daily lives," Piltz added. "I was also interested in the fact that the industry is focused on sustainability. It's fulfilling to be a part of an industry that is ever-changing and growing but conscious of the environment and taking care of the world we live in."
Piltz received her associate degree in business administration from the Community College of Beaver County and her bachelor's degree in business management and marketing from Pennsylvania State University.
She started at Nova in 2016 as an administrative specialist and has worked as a price administrator and customer experience specialist as well. She became a supply chain planner in November 2021.
"My greatest achievement was moving into my current role of supply chain planner at Nova," she said. "I've put an incredible amount of effort into establishing my career over the past few years, and this demonstrates my personal growth and success. I'm excited to have the opportunity to learn something new, face challenges and continue to grow."
The best advice Piltz has received is "you don't know if you don't try."
"There have been positions I've applied for that seemed ambitious, but in the end worked out for me," she said. "If you don't put in the effort or take the chance, you will never see a result. Even if an opportunity doesn't pan out, it is an experience to learn from."
Piltz 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?
Piltz: I've put in a tremendous amount of effort to learn other areas of the organization, participate in projects/teams and collaborate with others. I worked as our price administrator for over a year and a half — in addition to my own role — which required me to learn a completely new area of the business, support the sales and commercial teams, and maintain critical formulas and pricing data. I've participated on projects and teams that have an impact to the entire organization.
One key experience was being a core business team member for our rebate project. This required me to complete various levels of testing, troubleshooting when necessary and becoming the point of contact for support for our customer experience team. I became the expert on our rebate system and created a training guide from scratch that is used as a reference for internal teams. Our new rebate system has a direct impact to multiple departments (customer experience, sales, finance, IT) and to our customers.
In addition, I took leadership of the continuous improvement team for customer experience and helped to implement new processes and make changes to help improve the way we work. I am also a current member of our price project, which will have a vast impact to the organization. This past year, I was on the young professionals panel for disability mentoring day at Nova. I helped to provide insight and offered advice to students who may not have an idea of what they want to do careerwise.
I believe these experiences have really helped me grow and ultimately is why I am in the position I'm in today.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Piltz: My current challenge is trying to learn every aspect of my new role to the best of my ability. I had been in my previous role for a couple of years and was extremely comfortable and had a day-to-day rhythm in place. Now that I've switched departments, there are new responsibilities, tasks, challenges, etc., and the comfort level is different than before.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Piltz: I'm interested in post-consumer resin (PCR) materials and the plastics circular economy. In my role, I am the inventory planner for our PCR materials. I look forward to seeing the progress we make towards eliminating plastic pollution and for our customers, and their customers, to reach their sustainability goals.