Jimmy Shah, 27
Senior R&D Engineer
Impact Plastics and ICPG
Jimmy Shah was born in Morbi, India, and his father owns a tool manufacturing business. Shah graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a bachelor's degree in polymer engineering and from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a master's degree in plastics engineering.
In 2016, Shah started at custom sheet extruder Impact Plastics in Hamlet, N.C., as an extrusion process engineer focusing on food and medical packaging. He was promoted to senior research and development engineer for both Impact and ICPG, "our new brand focused on the production of barrier packaging solutions," he said.
"With a family business focused on diamond and jewelry tool manufacturing that deals with various materials, be it metals, plastics, wood, etc., I was always interested in product manufacturing, especially with a material like plastics that can be converted using multiple process into millions of different products," he said.
Shah serves as the co-chair of the Next Generation Advisory Board for the Society of Plastics Engineers, where he helps connect young professionals with industry veterans. He speaks English, Hindi and Gujarati, and he is learning Spanish.
Natalie MacVarish, director of marketing at Impact, nominated Shah for Rising Stars.
Plastics News: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Shah: I would develop an organization culture where everyone would feel like a part of the team to support the core values of the company for a better future for themselves and for the company. Also, encouraging innovation is key and it is very important to have variety of mindsets to diversify and grow.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Shah: The innovation in polyolefin materials that not only adds value to the existing material but also makes it sustainable always surprises me. I am also surprised with how small the plastics industry is and everybody knows everybody — you learn that when you visit shows like Pack Expo and NPE.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Shah: Plastics is a destination. Get ready for the roller coaster ride that comes with lots of challenges and opportunities be it with material and processing or on the design side.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Shah: My dad runs a manufacturing business and he always used to tell me, communication and good ethics is the key to any business. Treat your customer and supplier as a part of your team and you will never fail.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Shah: My father has always been a mentor and a role model to me. He is very well respected at a professional and community level and has always taught me to honest and have good ethics be it on a personal or professional level to succeed.