Shana Sylvester graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and Babson College with an MBA.
She spent more than 10 years in the chemical industry in roles ranging from engineering to commercial, marketing and corporate strategy before joining Ravago as a business development manager in 2016. She is now Amco Polymers' regional commercial director, where she is responsible for managing the South regional sales territory and managing a team of account managers and a technical service engineer.
Her father, uncle and grandfather all spent their careers in the plastics industry, which is what interested her in joining.
What most surprises her about the industry, she said, are the tenures and "how so many people have spent their careers in this industry."
"With that comes a lot of long-term connections, relationships and friendships," she said.
Asked what job she would like to have in the future, Sylvester said "the job that I am best suited for and is the job the company needs me to take on." That insight has always been her feeling about career development and advancement, she said, "and it has always worked out well for me."
Sylvester was the first female sales director at Amco and will soon step in as the first female vice president and general manager at Amco and Ravago, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
"It is a great industry with strong, long-lasting relationships. I would say my advice to someone who hasn't worked in the industry is to talk with those who have been in the industry for years and don't be afraid to ask them for help making connections."
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Sylvester: The future of the automotive industry and the move to e-mobility. I am also interested in the continued development and advancements in chemical plastic recycling.
Q: Most unexpected thing you learned from the pandemic?
Sylvester: I learned how to use technology to stay more connected to both work and family. This was necessary during the pandemic but has continued beyond and has allowed me to stay more connected to family, friends and colleagues.
Q: What is your greatest achievement?
Sylvester: My greatest achievements are my children. They are 9 and 6 years old, and I may be biased, but they really are sweet, nice people filled with positive energy! As I keep taking on more and more responsibilities at work, I always keep time to focus on my family and raising good children.