Subscribe

At what point does a future leader in plastics become a…leader in plastics?

It’s a question worth asking when talking to the newest chair of Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS)’ Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP)—Shannon Stickler, manager of marketing strategy at Printpack in Williamsburg, VA. Shannon has been a powerful voice in the plastics industry for a while now, and this year she takes the wheel as FLiP’s chairman.

Originally founded with Michael Stark (Arburg) as its chairman, FLiP has grown beyond being just a meeting place for young professionals in the plastics industry. Between its mentorship program and support for Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) and numerous other activities, FLiP has become a force within the PLASTICS and the industry at large. This trend continued under the watchful eye of Stickler’s predecessor Annina Donaldson (Maxi-Blast), who oversaw the inclusion of FLiP members in each of PLASTICS’ main councils and committees.

“Michael and Annina built such a strong foundation and a solid base of people to support FLiP’s mission,” Stickler said. “My biggest goal is to build on that foundation by taking things from awareness—the industry and the PLASTICS community knowing that FLiP exists—to action—making a bigger impact on the industry and the organization as a whole.”

The challenges facing the organization—and, thus, the industry—are the same ones it’s faced for years now, but part of Stickler’s plan is to make FLiP an integral part in addressing those issues. At the macro level, Stickler says, FLiP can help drive efforts to address the skills gap: a shortage of manufacturing workers that—according to PLASTICS’ most recent Size & Impact report—is already starting to have a negative effect on the industry’s growth.

“We have smart and capable associates from different companies that want to make a difference. They want to engage people. They want to demystify manufacturing,” she said. “FLiP can drive change in this area because we’re eye-to-eye with the people plastics and other manufacturing companies want to be speaking to.”

As to FLiP’s position in the PLASTICS infrastructure, Stickler again supports going beyond awareness and into action. “We don’t want to be on the outside,” she said. “We’ve got council ambassadors, but we’re looking at taking a more official role in our groups and not just a secondary position.”

“I know I’m only chair for two years, but we should think beyond that,” she added. “Let’s have that five-year plan. Let’s make it so that every leader in the industry asks themselves ‘why wouldn’t I want my younger folks involved in this?’

 

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 Shannon Stickler, manager of marketing strategy at Printpack, about her experience working in the plastics industry.