How seriously does Niigata USA take service management? Consider the background of service manager, James Lucas: ten years in the navy as a nuclear engineer, operating and coordinating maintenance for the reactors on nuclear vessels. To put it mildly, he’s got an eye for detail when it comes to maintaining safety and smooth operations.
James has been with Niigata, which builds and services injection molding machines, since 2020. “I arrange service technicians to assist customers,” he explained, “and I provide expert troubleshooting to technicians/customers who need help.”
Growing industry pride
He saw a lot of the world while serving in the navy, but James has found another world to explore since entering the plastics industry. “I really enjoy going to all of the different customers to see what they make,” he said. “It helps me realize the extent and importance of plastics.”
Understanding the importance of plastics is something James wishes more people understood, rather than getting caught up in unfair plastic pollution rhetoric and the politics surrounding it. “I think this can be battled by highlighting the amount of good plastic does, such as food packaging, fuel efficiency, and medical safety,” James said. “Promoting the advancement and availability of recycling centers and biodegradable plastics would also be a big step forward in the United States. Many other countries are far ahead of us when it comes to recycling.”
James went on to point out some everyday ways in which people may not realize they rely on plastics, for things they couldn’t or wouldn’t want to live without. “My reusable water bottle, for instance. I use it constantly every day,” he said. “Also, without plastic car parts, I could be walking twenty miles home after work.”
A generation on the rise
As an employee of Niigata, James has the opportunity to be part of PLASTICS’ Future Leaders in Plastics initiative, and he recommends it as a benefit to other plastics professionals under the age of 40. “FLiP has been beneficial by introducing me to new people and ideas in the industry,” he said. “It has kept me engaged in the current events and concerns facing the industry.”
According to James, the FLiP generation of professionals is uniquely positioned to do something about those concerns. “People in my generation are very active on social media and can be a positive change to the perception of plastics,” he said. “It’s also important for my generation to be in plastics to advance the industry by being mentored and bringing in new ideas.”
In addition to new ideas, James’ life in the plastics industry has resulted in some new habits, as well. “It’s a running joke with my wife because she always catches me looking at plastic parts and judging them,” he said. “Did they use too much pressure to push the part? Did they cool the part long enough before ejecting? Did they pack the part enough? There are small changes that make a big difference in part quality.”
We’re glad to have James in the industry. and equally glad that people of his quality are watching out for the U.S. nuclear fleet!
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: [email protected]