In her own words: Jessica Evans, Process Technician and Material Handler, Plastikos Medical
What or who fueled your interest in manufacturing?
I worked at a small plastics shop in my hometown for the first time, and I remember becoming fascinated by all the machinery. Beginning as an operator, I didn’t have knowledge of how to work the machines. I would watch how the machines cycled and observe the screens while trying to understand all the numbers and buttons meant. After hopping from one plastics shop to another and back again, I met a supervisor that had 30 years in the plastics field along with family history of the career. He tried to teach me what he was allowed to while on the job, which further increased my interest in plastics. That is what set me on this becoming my career.
What is your current role in manufacturing?
I have a hybrid role at Plastikos Medical, I am a process technician and a material handler. I pull and set the tools, maintain the materials, and change over the presses during job changes.
Describe your path to get to where you are today.
My path started as a temporary worker bouncing from one plastic shop to another, until I had the opportunity to be hired full time. My fascination with plastics grew when I became a floor technician. I trained operators, maintained quality inspections, and prepped machines for upcoming jobs. The supervisor I had at the time taught me how to answer some alarms on certain machines and explained some of the buttons on the many different press controllers we had. I worked there for a while when I was told that I should try to apply to Plastikos, and I kept brushing it off for a while. After having my third child, I realized that my opportunity to grow had stalled at the current company I was with, so I applied at Plastikos. I was quickly hired on, and my new journey started.
I became the material handler at Plastikos, and I was able to show that I was quick to learn and ready to take on new projects. I helped with work instructions, trained new material handlers, and was willing to step in as an operator to help on the molding floor if necessary. I excelled in materials and enjoyed it even when things got chaotic. I watched how the machines cycled, observed controllers, and continued to be fascinated with how it all worked. I learned that the position I was interested in was a process technician, and I wanted to be one badly. My opportunity came when the company decided to expand and build a brand-new facility (Plastikos Medical), down the road from Plastikos. The company also created a program to have someone like me learn and train to become a process technician. I happily joined the program, studied, and did my best. I was the first to graduate from the Processor Development Program. I still strive to be the best process technician I can be.
What is your Superpower?
I can learn new things and adapt quickly. Automation is a big feature at our facility and it’s always evolving and changing.
Why is your role important to others – like to customers or end users?
I maintain the constant production that is done at our facility and help keep things moving smoothly between alarms or job changes. This ensures our product is made and shipped out to our customers to their standards in a timely manner.
What do you think the future holds for your career or others you inspire?
My future with this career is not done growing yet and I am excited to see where it takes me, I enjoy learning new things every day. The journey that has brought me to where I am today shows that, even if you don’t know what you want to do yet in life, there’s still time to figure it out, even if its a little slow in the beginning.