Caitlin DeMasellis, 29
Caitlin DeMasellis has been in the plastics industry almost her entire life, since her father founded Ideal Machinery, a Holly, Mich.-based buyer and seller of used plastic and metal manufacturing machinery, when she was 3 years old.
"When he founded the company in 1993, he was primarily a machinery broker, but as the industry changed and our country went through a recession, we responded to our customers' needs by beginning a used parts division," she said. "We had a garage and basement full of pallet racking covered in parts, and I helped clean, organize, inventory, pick and ship items."
DeMasellis has worked nearly every position at the company, but in May 2019 she moved to work with customers directly. She considers the promotion her greatest professional achievement, with her title of sales associate making her feeling like "the face of Ideal Machinery."
"I have a passion for plastics because it has provided an opportunity for my family to create our own version of the American dream," she said. "Plastics allowed my dad to make his own way and create a business that has supported our family for decades."
DeMasellis attends trade shows and is involved in the Plastics Industry Association and its FLiP (Future Leaders in Plastics) program.
Plastics News: What is the best advice you have ever received?
DeMasellis: The best advice I ever received was from a mentor. I was struggling feeling confident in my new position, and when I told him I was worried about my ability to make this a realistic career he said, "The word "sell" is in your name (DeMaSELLis) — you were MADE for this."
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
DeMasellis: I am surprised by the amount of people in the plastics industry that have to spend so much time advocating for us. While I was aware of the negative views associated with plastic use, I had no idea how prevalent it was, or how many ridiculous laws that people like celebrities are trying to pass against plastic use.
Q: What is your philosophy related to plastics and sustainability? What steps have you taken to improve plastics' sustainability, either in work, your community or personal life?
DeMasellis: Sustainability is a new issue for me. As I said before, I had no idea how big of an issue the plastics industry is really facing. I believe that education is the best way to change opinions and move things forward in our communities and personal life. That is why I am trying to get more involved in FLiP so that we can better educate the next generation of plastics industry leaders, as well as use that education to help move forward pro plastics initiatives in our own communities.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
DeMasellis: I admire and look up to my dad, and his guidance and investment has gotten me to where I am in my career today.
Q: What job do you really want to have in the future?
DeMasellis: My dream for the future is to continue to help my brother run our company and create something that will sustain our family for generations to come.