The FLiP Files is a blog series spotlighting young professionals that are active in PLASTICS' Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP), a group for plastics professionals under the age of 40.  For our next FLiP File, we spoke to Rob Lawrence, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SolveTech, Inc.

-Where do you work and what’s your title?

I am the vice president of Sales and Marketing at SolveTech, Inc.

-Tell us a little about what your company does.

SolveTech makes a proprietary capacitance-based thickness gauging technology, which means that our equipment measures the thickness of plastic materials without touching them . The plastic film industry uses this technology to measure the thickness of their films and improve quality while reducing waste.

-How did you find yourself working in the plastics industry?

My father founded SolveTech 35 years ago, and I recently joined him in May of 2015. I had worked for him growing up doing many different jobs, which increased in complexity as I got older. After graduating from Cornell in 2007 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I worked for three companies in different industries over an eight-year span. These positions were outside of the industry, which gave me some good perspective.

-Has anyone in the industry mentored you?

My father, Doug Lawrence, has been my biggest mentor. We have a lot of honest discussions. I have also received advice from people who have been in the plastics industry for a long time, like Roger Kamla.

-Describe in one sentence what you do on an average day.

I market and sell gauging systems, which involves creating videos and marketing materials, running trials, maintaining our website and managing our global salesforce.

-What’s one thing about your personal life that you feel has been changed by having a career in plastics?

I moved back to my hometown of West Chester, PA since joining SolveTech, and I have gotten to spend a lot more time with family and friends, which has been a real blessing.

-What are the major challenges you think are facing the plastics industry today? How do you think the industry can overcome them?

I think there is some bad press about the environmental impact of plastics. However, I think these issues can be overcome with proper waste handling and the green evolution of the industry. There are some serious environmental benefits to plastics that I think everyone in the industry instinctively knows, but that maybe don’t get into the public discussion enough. For example, the role plastics play in the preservation of food has really big impacts on reducing world hunger and helping large amounts of people in significant ways.

-Why do you think someone from your generation should consider a career in plastics?

I think it is a very big industry with a lot of opportunity and there is potential to have a huge impact on the lives of the people in our society.

-What’s one plastic product you couldn’t live without?

There are so many, but probably the one I use the most is my glasses.