Joe Cirillo, 20
Seaview Plastic Recycling
He might only be 20 years old, but Joe Cirillo already has several years of plastics industry experience under his belt.
Cirillo graduated from Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Conn., and has completed one year at Quinnipiac University's School of Business in Hamden, Conn.
His father, Joe Cirillo, runs Seaview Plastic Recycling of Bridgeport, Conn., where his brother also works. He has held roles as material handler, operations manager and now sales and purchasing manager.
"My first job in plastic recycling was sorting plastic pallets. … I later moved on to working on the line," Cirillo said. "My father showed me a chart which represented our hourly grinding costs, which decrease as more poundage is generated. It was here where I found a greater sense of purpose, as my hard work was directly linked to increasing my companies profit margins, as well beneficial for the environmental."
Cirillo said he looks up to his father. Seaview is his father's second plastic recycling company — "the first he started out of our basement when I was just a baby," he said.
"He has come a long way," Cirillo said, "and I hope to continue his legacy."
Plastics News: What is your greatest achievement?
Cirillo: My greatest achievement at Seaview Plastic Recycling has been the sense of camaraderie that has been instilled within the staff. I learned early of a major challenge our industry faces in the form of "unskilled labor." A major reason I have been able to succeed is because of the knowledge passed onto me by my father and brother.
It was my feeling that our staff could accomplish anything with the proper training and education. I spent a lot of time and effort investing in my staff, to create plastic recycling professionals — not factory workers. I worked side by side with some amazing people and set daily goals of ambitious poundages, all of which were celebrated by everyone when they were hit. We have set multiple company records for pounds per day and continue to out-do our previous best, always working with purpose.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Cirillo: The current challenge I am facing at work is balancing my time between all of my roles. I often feel like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to. Now that I have taken up more of an office role, I have more responsibilities and pressures to acquire and sell materials both domestic and internationally, while at the same time continuing to contribute to day to day plant operations. Fortunately, working with my brother allows me to focus on my accounts and expanding while the plant is running at total efficiency.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Cirillo: The best advice I have ever received is very confidential, but I can share the second-best piece of advice that I have ever received: "The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra." This is a plaque my father had on his desk which he gave to me. Funny, right? For me that "little extra" is putting in time after hours, on weekends and when I am home to do anything necessary for our company to be better prepared for the following day.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Cirillo: Chemical recycling absolutely fascinates me. The idea that mixed "trash" plastics can be converted back into oil excites me. I hope it becomes more feasible in the future.