Jon Smalling, the Southeast Regional Sales Manager for SEPRO Group, knows that the future of the plastics industry is bright. PLASTICS Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP) Committee just elected Jon to serve as the FLiP Vice Chair for the 2021 year. Jon shares his thoughts on the value of FLiP involvement.


It is amazing to me how many FLiP members there are that are already current leaders within our industry. FLiP members run their own companies, lead their departments, and develop new products. When people talk about FLiP, they talk about the “future.” The reality is that when FLiP members meet, I get to work alongside some of our top industry leaders, today. I believe that leadership is a journey that has many paths. The FLiP group understands that even though we might not have the traditional “leader” titles on our email signatures, we are all playing a very important role in the future of our industry. What inspires me about my peers is that we are all acting as leaders, learning, and working to make others around us better. When we are all together, there is a sense of accountability to the greater group. FLiP members have the unique opportunity to lead while also learning from the best and brightest in the PLASTICS community.

FLiP recently started a book club that challenged me to think about my leadership style. The FLiP Mentorship program brought people into my life for some one-on-one “business therapy” and challenged me to think outside the box. FLiP also brought lifelong friends into my life. Friends I would have never met if it wasn’t for involvement in FLiP. My life professionally and personally is better because of this group.

For the plastics industry leaders who want to get involved with FLiP, remember the value of FLiP is what you put into it. My hope as FLiP Vice Chair is that in 2021 you will encourage the future leaders in your organization to take an active role in FLiP. I believe participation in FLiP should be a priority for every PLASTICS member company. Your future leaders want to be part of a professional community, they are waiting for you to ask them to join. There are countless opportunities for career development, networking, leadership training, and mentorship within FLiP. We have a lot in store for 2021, there is no time like the present to get involved!

What is the next step for FLiP members, both current and future? I see a community that will be pushing the status quo to meet the changing needs of our industry. My hope is FLiP will be the benchmark to what the future holds for our industry.


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 the future of the plastics industry. FLiP’s mission is to provide young professionals in the plastics industry the exposure, education, and resources they need to build a lifelong career in plastics. Want to join? Email