Mark Kent Anderson not only thanks the plastics industry for a great career, but for a good night’s sleep as well. “My back would be sore every morning if I didn’t have an all-foam mattress,” he said. “Consumers don’t realize the plastics used to manufacture the foam for beds. They only see the plastic films that package each mattress. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep!”

Of course, Mark can tell you all about the benefits of packaging film, too. As Executive Vice President for Sales & Marketing at Mid South Extrusion (MSE), he’s involved every day in the world of industrial and food-grade films, servicing the flexible packaging industry. MSE is a family-owned business, established in 1986.

Asked for a one-sentence description of an average day, Mark gave us one word: “Meetings!” He went on to say, “It starts meeting with our Customer Success Manager, going over our sales from the previous day. It shifts to interacting with our Sales Team to discuss ongoing business and new opportunities, then, as always, calling customers and prospects.”

Mark is also quick to note that his world of meetings is anything but mundane, pointing out the growth and complexity of the industry. “There are so many opportunities with the business environment constantly changing that inspire me,” he said. MSE has also provided him with excellent mentorship. “I’m fortunate to work with one of my mentors daily, our President and COO, Ron Mason,” Mark said.

The perception of plastics among the general public is a concern for the entire industry, but it resonates especially with people from Mark’s environmentally conscious generation. “I don’t know if we’ll ever overcome the stigma that follows the word ‘plastic,’” he said. “As an industry, we need to educate the public of the benefits of plastics and continue to innovate to supply sustainable products to the everyday consumer.”

Peers outside the industry would do well to speak with Mark about what he has learned working in the plastics industry and how his thinking on plastics has evolved. Asked about such changes, he mentioned, “My perspective of what plastics contribute to the global economy and my understanding of the industry’s commitment to innovations that will lead to sustainable solutions for the future.” Anyone who asks Mark for job-hunting advice may just find themselves pointed straight toward MSE’s HR office. “Plastics is an industry in which demand is high, and the market is growing,” Mark said. “I think everyone should work in an industry that promotes growth, innovation, and sustainability.”

Once inside, the industry, Mark believes it would also be nice to find oneself, as he has, at a company with a PLASTICS membership that gives young professionals access to Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP), the association’s group for professionals under the age of 40. Mark has been involved with FLiP for three years. “It’s been very beneficial in terms of networking,” he says. “Plastics Industry Association does a great job getting people from our industry together. I’ve enjoyed attending the Flexible Film and Bag conference over the years.”

Mark is one more example that today’s FLiP members are tomorrow’s association leaders.

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

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