Have you heard the one about the biologist who went to work in the plastics industry? Well, you’re about to, and it’s not a joke. It’s the story of Chloe Linsmeier, Marketing Manager at Advanced Blending Solutions (ABS) in Michigan, where they design and manufacture material handling, blending, and desiccant drying machinery and controls for the plastics industry.

Chloe was about to complete her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology at the University of Wisconsin, when she found herself in a dilemma. She needed to decide exactly what her next steps would be. Should she continue pursuing biology or go in a wholly different direction?

“Through one of my college jobs, I connected with ABS CEO Mike Rasner, and VP of Sales & Marketing, Brent Berquist” Chloe said. “After I let it be known that I was unsure of what wanted to do with my career, they invited me onto the team for an internship and I’ve been with ABS ever since.”

Settling into a rewarding career

Today, Chloe spends her days promoting Advanced Blending Solutions through traditional and new media, social channels, and both internal and external events. She also appreciates having discovered a wonderful community in the plastics industry. “I am passionate about building relationships with people and learning about them,” Chloe said. “Whether that means learning about their roles and the technologies they work with, hearing how they got where they are today, or enjoying stories about their families.”

Those relationships have enriched Chloe’s life both professionally and personally. “I’m currently participating in the FLiP [Future Leaders in Plastics] mentorship program,” she said. “Brenda Clark with Hasco is my mentor. It’s been great to hear how she paved her way through a mainly male-dominated industry. I’ve been fortunate to have many internal and external mentors throughout the industry whom I feel comfortable turning to for advice, as well.”

Believing in what she does

Whatever a marketer in the plastics industry is focused on marketing, they’re eventually faced with all-too-common misconceptions about plastics. “Media portrays plastics as destructive but, in reality, plastics have the capacity to save the world,” Chloe said. “Plastic keeps our food safe during transportation to grocery stores and it can be used in medical equipment to keep our loved ones healthy.”

Undaunted by the challenge, Chloe added, “With the rise of sustainability and the circular economy, we have the power to overcome these misconceptions by educating the public about the advantages of plastics and how we can all do our part by recycling.”

Putting passion into action

One of the ways in which young plastics professionals of Chloe’s generation are seeking to change the narrative on plastics is through the Plastic Industry Association’s (PLASTICS) aforementioned FLiP initiative, which provides personal and professional development opportunities for plastics professionals under 40.

“I’m currently on the Community Impact Task Group with FLiP,” Chloe said. “Seeing how our recent Asheville Clean Up event came together and the pride that was taken by the FLiP group was amazing.” Noting that the experience made a big impression on everyone who participated, Chloe added, “I loved giving back and helping make a difference in the community and would love to see more of these experiences at future events.”

Chloe is quick to advise other members of her generation to join her in the industry, saying, “Plastics is ever evolving and growing. There’s no end in sight for our industry and it only keeps getting better.”

But has the plastics industry changed Chloe? “WelI ,” she said, “I do find myself looking at packaging on items in stores and the bubble wrap from all of my Amazon packages to see where they were manufactured!”

PLASTICS and the Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP) Committee are devoted to supporting and encouraging the next generation of plastics leaders who will play a crucial role in the innovation, technology and future of the plastics industry. FLiP’s mission is to provide young professionals under the age of 40 the exposure, education and resources they need to build lifelong careers in plastics. Want to join? Want to get your employees involved?  Email: flip@plasticsindustry.org