Renee Havrilla joined the plastics industry when she started at Bayer Material Science AG, the unit of global chemicals giant Bayer AG and now Covestro, one of the world's largest makers of polycarbonate and polyurethane.
She said she became interested in the plastics industry because she studied chemistry. Havrilla graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.
She interned at Bayer then decided to go into marketing.
Havrilla joined Westlake Global Compounds in Houston in 2013 as the general manager of Westech Building Products LLC, a Westlake Chemical Corp. company. She became vice president of building products for Westlake in April 2015 and vice president in 2017.
Havrilla said her biggest accomplishment is being a female vice president at Westlake.
Under this role, she has full profit and loss responsibility of the PVC compounds business. She provides leadership for overall strategy, sales, marketing, new product development, customer service, quality, supply chain management and plant operations.
"Because of COVID, I am unable to travel to get the face-to-face interaction with employees throughout the Westlake Compounds organization. Westlake Compounds, a subsidiary of Westlake, is the most geographically diverse organization in the enterprise with operations in nine countries," Havrilla said.
"It is important to meet with people to begin creating a rapport with them. That has been my biggest challenge during the pandemic, is the inability to travel to all of the Westlake Compounds location," she added.
Havrilla said that the coronavirus pandemic happened quickly and she anticipated the impact would only last a few weeks. "But now, it has been over a year, which has also been a surprise to me," she said.
Havrilla is involved with Advancing Women Executives in Energy.
Havrilla was nominated by Erika Soechting, manager of corporate communications for Westlake.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Havrilla: Someone once told me that it is possible to effectively lead a business and still be a good mother and wife. The balance is possible and that I could be successful with all three.
Q: What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the plastics industry?
Havrilla: Be open to trying all areas within a business. If needed, take the lateral move to learn a new area.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?