Rudy Dell, 31
Regional Sales Manager, Central Distribution
Osterman and Co.
University of Iowa graduate Rudy Dell's first plastics industry job was at resin distributor Osterman and Co. as a sales representative. And while he had no background in — or deep knowledge of —plastics or the industry itself, he knew he wanted to be in sales.
"As I went through Osterman's training program and started building relationships, I quickly realized how large of an industry plastics was and how much innovation, thought and hard work goes into application development," he said. "The idea that you can create such amazing and meaningful things by melting plastic pellets, is quite inspiring."
He joined the company in June 2011, his first purchase order was in August of that year, and he was named Distribution Seller of the Year in 2013 and 2015 and Circle of Excellence in 2015.
Dell left the industry to pursue a passion in commercial real estate in June 2016, which he calls a "great learning experience." But he returned as a sales representative in January 2018 and was promoted to regional sales manager in April 2019, where he is responsible for training, coaching and mentoring new hires. He is based in Chicago.
Dell is on the associate board of the Reaumond Foundation, which supports those affected by pancreatic cancer. He is also involved with CROYA, or the Committee Representing Our Young Adults, through mentoring and leadership programs.
Plastics News: What is your greatest achievement?
Dell: Being entrusted by Osterman's senior leadership team to lead a group of new hires through our hands-on training program and into their first role as a sales rep. It has been the single most rewarding thing I have done in my career, and I look forward to continuing for many years to come.
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?
Dell: My philosophy is plain and simple. We have a user/people issue, not necessarily a plastics issue as it relates to sustainability. As a whole, we need to better educate the population on how to recycle and which items are recyclable [and] the overall benefits of recycling if we all just improved by 50 percent. Just a small adjustment to our everyday lives could have a lasting impact globally.
Q: What is your current challenge at work?
Dell: Understanding each member of my team operates a little bit differently. Being able to adjust my management style to fit the needs of my team members and building a foundation of transparency and trust. Also, making sure my feedback is consistent, clear and concise.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Dell: I have been fortunate enough to have multiple people help get me to where I am today. But I have always looked up to my parents work ethic and am so appreciative of the sacrifices they made to allow me and my siblings to have such a great childhood. Very lucky.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Dell: Never burn a bridge. The plastics industry is the largest but also smallest industry in the world. It's important to represent yourself and your company at the highest level at all times.