I also provide technical training to customers’ processing technicians and material handlers. These training programs are done at the customers facility, and custom designed around topics they want to learn about. I have many topics in my toolbox I can discuss. In most cases, they are designed to cover the basics for successful results.
2. What has been the best part of your role as senior technical service manager at DSM Engineering Materials?
The best part about working for DSM is that I get to do what I have an interest in, resolving technical issues and supporting our customers. DSM has always focused on my strengths and supported further development. I think all companies need to promote development programs at all levels.
3. Why do you think it’s important to take continuing education courses and/or seminars?
It’s important for anyone to continue learning and stay up to date about new technologies and advancements in materials sciences. If you don’t do that you become stagnant. You send a message that you don’t need further education or training. Through continuing my education, I not only benefit, but so do my customers. I have completed several seminars and secondary classes relating to topics in the material sciences and business management.
I work mostly with people on a production floor. At the end of the day I want those people to be able to figure out a problem. I put myself in a position where they get the credit for figuring out a problem. Many time’s I have two or three hours to troubleshoot a problem, so in that time frame I need to put my best foot forward and make people feel like I want them to succeed and solve a problem.
Think of continuing education as a win-win for you and your company, or customer.
4. What are some of the most memorable experiences you have had working at DSM?
The people I have worked with have been great—they have been supportive of me and have a lot of confidence in me. I will always cherish that. Also, I have satisfaction from seeing programs that I’ve been involved in completed. For example, in 2010, we commercialized the Fuel Lock material and that was a big achievement. Also, DSM asked me to get involved in suction-blow molding, and I worked with Russ Bloomfield, application development engineer, to commercialize suction blow molded air ducts for the automotive industry.
6. What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in the industry?
My first suggestion to a person interested in the materials sciences field is to get with a company and find a mentor. I had three great mentors when I started in plastics. Those guys taught me a lot of what I know. Probably 60-70% of my knowledge was learned processing plastics. DSM taught me about plastics from a molecular level, and the use of additive and reinforcers in plastics.
Also, students will need to take a two or four-year materials sciences program. Once they graduate they will need to continue educating themselves—you should never stop learning and need to stay up to date. Companies today want key technical people to understand materials sciences, scientific molding and the newest technologies and innovations. These companies are always looking for employees with the rights skills set.
To learn about another Person of DSM Engineering Materials: Paula Kruger, click here.