Samantha Kortas, 26
Marketing Communications Manager
Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc.
Samantha Kortas graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in public relations.
She joined Fowlerville, Mich.-based Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc., one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers, as an internal communications specialist in 2017 and was promoted to focus on internal and external communications the following year.
In 2019, she took over all marketing communications functions as well as hired her first employee. Also in 2019, she designed, managed and launched a new office in Novi, Mich., for Asahi Kasei Automotive and traveled to Japan to visit the Asahi Kasei headquarters and innovation centers.
"My greatest achievement was helping our CEO create a 'What Global Means to Asahi Kasei' strategy. It gave me the opportunity to think outside of APNA, outside of just North America, and include all the key functions of a business," Kortas said. "Being able to be involved in projects of that magnitude and getting to help make a difference for our company is something I am truly thankful for."
Kortas is involved in the Society of Plastics Engineers.
Kortas was nominated by Asaclean-Sun Plastech Inc. Marketing Manager Tom Hanvey for Rising Stars.
Plastics News: 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?
Kortas: Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are a huge part of my job. APNA has started an initiative to be 'Zero Waste to Landfill by 2025.' I lead that cross-functional team within our company and have started an office recycling program. Our focus now is in our manufacturing area to reduce pellet waste on the floor, with our end goal of creating a closed-loop system for both our facilities. My philosophy for sustainability is that I need to do what I can to create an accurate image for APNA and other plastics industries. If that means me personally leading a team to reduce landfill, then I will and help other plastics companies set that standard.
Q: One of our criteria for Rising Stars is whether they are active in plastics industry, manufacturing or their community. How are you involved?
Kortas: Inside of work, I manage Asahi Kasei Plastics North America's and Asahi Kasei Automotive's relationships with SPE and its different divisions (automotive, Detroit, composites, thermoforming, etc.). I also manage all sponsorship's related to plastics for our company — whether it is a golf fundraiser or scholarship initiative to help the industry.
Outside of work, I am a member of SPE personally and volunteer for events like the TPO conference. I also participate in community events around Livingston county like Run for Impact and All Minds Matter, and have been nominated to participate in Howell Young Professionals association by APNA's president.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Kortas: Visit every single site that is part of that company. I would want to introduce myself and get to know the employees better. I believe forming relationships with the people who work for/with you is essential for any leader.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Kortas: Someone once told me if taking a new opportunity doesn't scare you, then it is probably not worth taking. If you always push your boundaries or comfort, you will continue to grow and reach the goal you want.