Marzieh Ebrahimi, 34, was born in Iran and studied chemical engineering and polymer engineering at the Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. She moved to Canada to pursue her doctorate in chemical and biological engineering at the University of British Columbia.
She previously worked as a research associate at the University of Toronto and a research scientist for Nova Chemicals Corp. in Calgary, Alberta.
"I've spent my time working on product development and correlating structure-property relationships of new polymers used in packaging applications. Polymers have complex characteristics and outstanding properties. Ever since I started studying polymers, I was amazed by their unique characteristics, and I knew I want to pursue this field for my career," said Ebrahimi, who is now an innovation accelerator of PE technology for the materials maker.
Ebrahimi said her greatest achievement has been "leading multiple innovative projects from concept to commercialization to deliver sustainable solutions for our customers."
"Recently, I had the great opportunity to lead cross-functional teams to develop and commercialize a novel biaxially oriented polyethylene product that demonstrated excellent performance for flexible packaging applications. I am really proud of this work as oriented polyethylene films are essential building blocks in producing recyclable and fully circular monomaterial flexible packaging," she said.
She added: "I am extremely enthusiastic about the fields of plastics and sustainability and aspire to take on a leadership position that would allow me to foster the progress of innovative and recyclable material development and recycling technologies and contribute to the plastics circular economy."
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Ebrahimi: The plastics industry is a multifaceted and evolving field. What surprises me about plastics is their versatility and wide range of applications. This versatility makes it possible to create different products from toys and medical equipment to car parts and packaging materials. Plastics continue to expand to sectors such as 3D printing, energy storage, wearable technology, electronics and construction, which is very interesting to me.
Q: One of our criteria for Rising Stars is whether they are active in plastics industry, manufacturing or their community. How are you involved?
Ebrahimi: I have been studying and working in plastics industry for the past 15 years. During my professional career, I had the privilege of working on many industrial projects that demonstrated the versatility of plastics in tackling real-world challenges. In my current role, I have led scale-up and commercialization of novel polymer formulations targeted to improve the circularity of demanding flexible and rigid packaging applications. To date, I have more than 20 journal articles and conference presentations in renowned journals and international conferences of this field.
Q: What should the plastics industry do to expand its efforts in diversity and inclusion?
Ebrahimi: Being an immigrant woman leaving my home country at age of 24, I truly understand necessity of diversity and inclusion in the work environment. There are several steps that [the] plastics industry can take to promote diversity and inclusion: (1) identifying clear goals for promoting diversity and inclusion; (2) recruiting from diverse talent pools; (3) providing training and education to help employees better understand and appreciate diversity and inclusion; and (4) establishing employee resource groups to provide a supportive community for employees from underrepresented backgrounds. It is important to foster a culture throughout plastics industry that every voice is welcome, heard and respected.