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Engineering Materials

People of DSM Engineering Materials: Michael Kinnunen

We recently sat down with Michael Kinnunen, Virtual (Inside) Sales Specialist for DSM Engineering Materials Americas, to learn more about his role at DSM and discuss the importance of team camaraderie and safety in the workplace.

1. Tell us a little bit about what you do at DSM. 

I’m one of the Virtual (Inside) Salespeople for Engineering Materials. I’ve been with the company since June 2018, and it’s a really fulfilling position. There was a decision to start inside sales for Engineering Materials in North America, and I was the first person hired for the role. 

2. What has been the best part of the role you are in at DSM?

Being on the ground floor of a position and department is exciting. On a daily basis, it’s very neat to see the new opportunities that are cultivated through website based leads, leads from the field and through prospecting. Seeing a whole global department for Virtual Sales become a reality is very gratifying. We can get information to customers quickly and  accurately, and it’s exciting to see it be implemented especially in this “new” normal. 

3. What is the best part of working at DSM Engineering Materials?

Definitely the people—feeling like you have value and are part of a team driving initiatives and success is a huge part of one’s professional development, in my opinion. Feeling empowered to make a difference in our customers’ lives on a daily basis is very gratifying. Globally and regionally we all want to succeed as a team, and our people help each other towards our goals.  I can reach out to anybody in our organization for help at any time, which is a great environment to work in. I definitely feel like we have something special in our company culture. 

4. What are a couple of the most memorable experiences you have had working at DSM?

One day in particular was the day when we were all told that we would be working remotely, if possible. The Covid-19 outbreak had first started, and there was such uncertainty for the future. Seeing everybody come together and soldier through this initial change was so good to see.

We, as a team, were able to prove that we could effectively (and excel) working remotely, and even though we weren’t together physically, we were together as a team being customer focused. Although we have been successfully working remotely, I do miss the camaraderie, and that day when we come back into the office is going to be incredible. 

5. What inspired you to have a career in the materials science industry? 

It’s funny, I had no idea what I was getting into when I got into the plastics industry! I had been selling cellular telephones back in 1997, and a fraternity brother of mine had been working for a stock shapes distributor. I gave him my resume, and the rest is history.

Being in an industry that has such growth and such material innovations is pretty exciting. Seeing Engineering Materials be so foot-forward when it comes to things, such as sustainability and circularity, is very gratifying. A circular economy is being driven by consumers as well as many OEM’s now, so we have to be on the forefront in order to remain relevant. Especially in a world with global warming and other economic hazards, it’s wonderful to see when a carbon footprint gets reduced or there’s a contribution to the sustainability of a product. 

6. Besides working as an inside sales specialist, you are also part of DSMs Safety Team. Can you tell us a bit about your role on this team and the importance of this team? 

First and foremost, safety has to be No. 1 in all of our lives, be it at the workplace or at home. The team we started in Troy is a self-directed work team, and we all joined the team on our own to help with ongoing safety initiatives. We get together monthly and make sure our initiatives are being driven consistently and with SHE guidelines. When we do come back to in person working, we will not have missed a beat. I look at safety quite differently today than I did when I first started with the company (I was on safety teams at other companies).  

To learn about another Person of DSM Engineering Materials: Lydia Swan click here

Candace Roulo

Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development

Published on

29 January 2021

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Candace Roulo

Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development

Candace Roulo is Global Manager of Messaging and Content Development for DSM Engineering Materials. Based in Troy, Michigan, she specializes in writing blogs and articles about advanced materials solutions. Prior to joining DSM, Candace served in editorial roles at SME and Penton Media. Candace earned her bachelor’s degree in communication, specializing in public relations, at Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

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