Jeremiah Foster, 23, spent his high school summers on the manufacturing floor of Core Technology Molding Corp., a Greensboro, N.C.-based injection molder founded in 2006 by his father, Geoff Foster.
"My father taught me a lot during this time, and I had a huge appreciation of understanding manufacturing. I started to realize how many things in my life were injection molded," Jeremiah Foster said. "I started to further examine vehicles, consumer goods and electronics on a daily basis. I started looking for gate vestiges on parts and finding parting lines and pointing them out to him."
Foster earned a bachelor's degree from North Carolina A&T State University and is working on his MBA at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He works in business development for Core and is a co-facilitator for its nonprofit organization, Molding Kids for Success, which works with local schools to give students access to STEM learning.
"We have also been able to target children who do not have the same access to things other students take for granted. These disadvantaged kids are extremely brilliant but are not given the same tools to succeed as some of their counterparts," Foster said. "Teaching these kids about STEM and truly inspiring them has been a highlight of my career. … I have closed on some deals and brought in multimillion-dollar companies, but to know that I have an impact on the future generation is the far more rewarding."
Foster also is involved with the National Minority Supplier Development Council and Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council.
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?
Foster: My philosophy is that they must work together. When many people ... learn I work in plastics, they might have a bad idea about what I do. They might think that I am contributing to waste in our world and reducing sustainability. I am doing the opposite, however.
Our world is full of plastic, and that is just the way it is. So many things we use on an everyday basis are plastic. I strive, however, to use as much recycled content as possible. I talk to customers about using regrind in their parts. We focus also on proper planning and use of machinery to make sure we are not wasting materials as well. We have a LEED-certified facility, where conservation is at the forefront of what we do.
Q: What emerging technology or market most interests you?
Foster: I think the electric vehicle space is what most interests me. With already seven OEMs pledging to be fully electric by 2030, it makes me wonder about the logistics and infrastructure. From charging stations to batteries, the world could look very different in a few years. I am doing research everyday to make sure that if the automotive industry heavily turns electric, Core will be readily equipped to keep cars on the road.
Another market that I am very interested in is the regenerative medicine space. I attended a bio-night where they are 3D printing lungs, organs and other connective tissue. The medical space will look heavily different soon, and hearing about the regenerative parts being produced in a printer is an eerie but miraculous breakthrough.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Foster: I look up to my father. He is a huge mentor and someone I look up to. He created this company from scratch 16 years ago and never looked back. We now work with Merck, Eli Lilly, BMW, Volvo and more. He has taught me an immense amount, and I am forever grateful.