Michael Joseph, 25
Junior Program Manager, PTI Engineered Plastics Inc.
Macomb, Mich.-based custom injection molder PTI Engineered Plastics Inc. is Michael Joseph's first job in the plastics industry. His interest in it stems from endless opportunities available.
"I truly did not know plastics when I started but understood that there are so many avenues that my interests can take me," he said. "In plastics, there is endless amounts of science and engineering that takes place; this difficulty inspired me."
He started as a data login intern in July 2013. In 2014, he started designing on Cimatron tool and die engineering changes, automation cells and end-of-arm tooling, changing his title to manufacturing technician.
He worked in the manufacturing engineering department from 2014-19, programming robots and designing/building automation cells and secondary fixturing. He took on the role of junior program manager in 2019, learning the trade of the business and developing customer relations.
His challenges include delegating work to others and communicating thoroughly with his team. "Sometimes face-to-face conversation can involve emotion and passion that can drive the team to be better," he said.
Asked about his greatest achievement, Joseph said his is the ability to build the relationships he has with people who inspire him — "to knowing nothing about plastics when I first started to now be able to speak and advise from PTI to a customer base about the business as a whole and everything we do."
To those who might be considering a career in the plastics industry, Joseph said to "understand that nobody is a plastics expert."
"In this trade, always act as a sponge regardless of how much you know or how much education you have," he advised. "There is always something to learn and be willing to learn it."
Joseph said a title he would like to have in the future is the director of "a highly talented and educated team in the plastics management scene."
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Joseph: Be detailed, be smart. Don't rush into anything, and always have your grounds covered for follow-up questions/remarks. Late and perfect is better than early and wrong.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Joseph: Jon Cottrell and Patrick Gollehur. They are my co-workers and also program managers who I constantly seek advice from.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Joseph: The amount of engineering and science that is available. There is so much to learn, so much knowledge to gain. The possibilities are endless.