In her own words: Danielle Bentley, Molding Manager, Plastikos Medical
What or who fueled your interest in manufacturing?
During my freshman year of high school, in my Algebra class, my teacher talked to me about various types of engineering and mentioned Biomedical Engineering. He let me use his computer after I finished my class work to research it. During my junior year of high school, I was able to go to Penn State Behrend for their Women in Engineering Day. I thought going would be a nice way to get out of my classes. During the tour I was amazed by the Plastics Lab. I realized I use plastic every single day but had no idea how any of it worked. I came back for the open house that year with my boyfriend who was graduating and showed him the lab and talked to Penn State faculty. Next thing I knew, he changed his mind on what he wanted to go to college for and ended up in the plastics program. Fourteen years later, we are married and have Plastics Engineering Degrees from Penn State Behrend. Today, we still enjoy talking about our industry, job roles, struggles and successes during our day in manufacturing.
What is your current role in manufacturing?
I am currently the Molding Manager at Plastikos Medical. I oversee the production floor and work with every department (Quality, Maintenance, Shipping, Tool Room, Engineering, etc.) to ensure quality products are going out the door and we run efficiently. No two days are the same for me. Priorities shift quickly throughout the day so good communication is key. This is especially important since Plastikos Medical relies on support from other departments at Plastikos. I also work on a lot of continuous improvement projects and order auxiliary equipment for new machines coming in. As needed, I help run mold samples, troubleshoot issues, and help on the molding floor. I am also a RJG Qualified Trainer, which allows me to teach RJG classes on systematic injection molding in-house, to our employees.
Describe your path to get to where you are today.
After I graduated from college, I worked at a company out of state for about a year. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we also decided we wanted to move back home to be closer to our family and start a family of our own. I had a childhood friend who was working at Plastikos, so I reached out and asked if they were hiring. They didn’t have a position right away, but when they did they called me. I started at Plastikos in May 2014, as a Process Engineer. From there, I was promoted to Process Engineering Manager, Cleanroom Manager, and eventually Molding Manager at Plastikos Medical once construction was completed and the facility was operational in 2019.
What is your Superpower?
I would have to say my Superpower is flying headfirst into the unknown! I am not afraid to take on new projects, even if it is something that I previously did not know how to do. I research and teach myself new things and then share that information with others either by email or creating work instructions.
Why is your role important to others – like to customers or end users?
Internally, I troubleshoot issues quickly on the molding floor, handle any personnel concerns, and work on projects to help the company run more efficiently. My role benefits customers through the implementation and completion of continuous improvement projects because these types of projects directly affect and help improve the quality of parts, reduced sample time, and capacity. I communicate directly with customers on projects to improve efficiencies. Receiving good, trustworthy parts with short lead times is always a priority to our customers.
What do you think the future holds for your career or others you inspire?
I hope my future holds continued success as Molding Manager at Plastikos Medical. We have a steady stream of new machines filling our expansion. As the facility fills up, maintaining quality and reducing alarms will be my top priority. I want to continue to learn all I can and optimize our processes.