Paula Lopez, 30, was the key contact of the sales teams for handling and processing customer technical and product stewardship queries in her first plastics job as a technical support specialist for Nexeo Plastics.
"I felt — and still do — plastics are a very wide and dynamic solution present in a lot of markets and applications. As part of a distribution company, I had the chance to learn and develop my professional career on an even broader combination of challenges and solutions for different end uses," Lopez said.
Lopez earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in chemical engineering, specializing in biotechnology, from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona. After being part of the technical team and using her engineering background, she moved to product line management. "This was helping me to develop my business skills, taking risks and decisions, and being under pressure to act and get real income within our organization," she said.
After four years in the role of product specialist for ETPs [engineering thermoplastics] and Styrenics, "I can say I have the confidence and knowledge to support and boost the business and our partnership with suppliers," said Lopez, who recently was named an EMEA product line manager at the materials distributor.
"I would say [the] current challenge is mainly to stay focused and positive, look for new ways of doing business and try to maximize the possibilities to create value within the company," Lopez said. "Some things are out of our control, but there's always others you could focus on and develop further."
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Q: What associations do you belong to or actively participate in?
Lopez: At PLM Nexeo, we try to have always active exchange of information with market information data bases such as ICIS or Platts. We do regular meetings to discuss market dynamics and analyze or comment their reports together.
On a personal basis, I love supporting local initiatives in Spain related to the recollection of food for people in need of it, taking the time go participate in at least one yearly event where the recollection takes place at supermarkets in Barcelona.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Lopez: I would certainly take the time to learn about the people within and around (customers, suppliers) the organization and how they work and interact within each other. Once getting to know this, I would try to create a great culture on work. Under my opinion, the companies whose employees, suppliers and customers cooperate efficiently and with a positive mood will always have higher chances to success.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Lopez: I am amazed by the velocity of sustainable solutions developments in plastics, from bio-based ISCC passing through also mass balance concept on chemical recycling and finalizing with [post-consumer/post-industrial resins] and others. There's a [whole] portfolio to offer to our customers and help them comply with new regulations and goals. Plastics industry dynamism is extraordinary.