Wed October 16, 2019

The FLiP Files: Steve Schlehuber

His path was set.  Steve Schlehuber earned his finance degree and knew he wanted to work as a financial analyst. 

But Steve earned his degree in 2006.  And just a few months after he started on his path to become a financial analyst, the recession hit.  Steve needed to find a new plan.

After working in college recruiting for several years, Steve wanted a change.  He found an opening for a sales position in a small mold shop outside of Detroit, Michigan.  The training he received there opened his eyes to the plastics industry. 

“I learned a lot about plastics and worked with a lot of people from the resin industry who became mentors to me.  Over the course of working at that mold shop for about six years, I really learned a lot about how the plastics industry works.”

Steve has since held several sales positions in the plastics industry.  His current position is the vice president of outside sales at Xcentric Mold and Engineering.  Throughout the years, the mentors and friends Steve made in the plastics industry continue to provide guidance.  In particular, he spoke of the support of his friend Ryan Lang.  “I found he was someone who always had great insights into the industry.  He is always very involved.  He has always been able to give me good advice,” Steve said.  “I think it is so important for people in the industry to find people like that.  Ryan and I bounce a lot of ideas off of one another.  We are peers, and I find we both mentor each other at the same time.”

Since his time at the mold shop, Steve spent eight years in the plastics industry.  In recent years, Steve notices that more and more people are talking about the environmental impact of plastics and the industry as a whole.  Steve stresses that plastics are a valuable and useful material.  “No matter how many plastic pieces or components are produced around the world there is a user behind that piece.  The consumers have to do something with it or take action with it.”

Something else has changed over the years: Steve’s career ambitions.  Steve realizes that the plastics industry provides him with ample opportunities for work. 

“I wish more young kids realized the opportunities available here in the industry.  I have seen people move from handling materials on the floor to program manager positions.  It has really changed my life seeing the opportunities that are out there.  My goal is to be a big part of the industry as a whole, wherever that path leads me.  It has really opened my eyes seeing that I do have opportunities if I continue down the career path I am on right now.”

Did Steve see himself in the plastics industry ten years ago?  No.  But since joining the industry, he has found a new path.

“Just being a part of such a big and vast industry is a positive thing.  There is always an opportunity.  There is never a lack of opportunity.”

The FLiP Files is a blog series spotlighting young professionals who are active in PLASTICS' Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP), a group for plastics professionals under the age of 40.  For this FLiP File, we spoke with Steve Schlehuber, the Vice President of Outside Sales at Xcentric Mold and Engineering and former sales engineer at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery, about his experience working in the plastics industry.  Interested in participating?  Please contact: Katie Hanczaryk at