Alex Osterholt, 28
M. Holland Co.
Born in New Hampshire and the son of the sales director of polypropylene for Phillips 66 Co., Alex Osterholt lives in Houston as an account manager at Northbrook, Ill.-based resin distributor M. Holland Co.
He graduated with a bachelor's degree in agribusiness from Texas A&M University. Osterholt's first job was at Sunrise Plastics, where he mostly worked in the lab, running polymer tests.
In his first six years at M. Holland, Osterholt managed two different territories and grew both territories into some of the top at the company between 2013-19. At age 27, he was promoted from sales representative to account manager.
"My interest in plastics was mostly because of my father," Osterholt said. "I have always looked up to him and saw how much he has enjoyed the industry and the people in it. I decided to follow the same path."
Osterholt said his greatest achievement is the network he has been able to build, from professional relationships to friendships.
"The wisdom they've passed on to me from their years in the plastics industry has helped me tremendously in my career," he said, "and I couldn't be more thankful for them."
Osterholt was nominated for Rising Stars by Kristina Leal of Ink Communications.
Plastics News: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Osterholt: From the time I started, I've been most intrigued by the film market. Since I began in plastics six years ago, the way that the market has evolved and the things they can engineer are remarkable.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Osterholt: The biggest challenge I see, without a doubt, is the challenge of sustainability and helping our customers to grow their business while reducing waste and creating more environmentally friendly products.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Osterholt: To listen more! Being one of the younger people in the industry, there are several people who know more than me because of their experience. I'm outgoing, so it's not in my DNA to sit back and be quiet, but when I find myself around people who are among the best in the industry, the thing I have learned the most from in my career is to simply listen.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Osterholt: Create a culture that people want to be a part of. It's absolutely the No. 1 thing a company needs to have to be successful and it's something [M. Holland President and CEO] Ed Holland has done a phenomenal job of with our company. It's one of the hardest things to copy and what makes M. Holland such a special place to be. If I could find a way to do the same, that would be the first thing I'd work to create.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Osterholt: Greg Osterholt, my father. He's been my best friend from day one and someone I have always wanted to be just like. Not just as a businessman, but as a father, husband and a believer. He's an incredible person to be around, and I could not ask for a better mentor in my life.