When Bobby Swigert's football career came to a dramatic end on the field playing for Boston College, he was not sure of the next place he'd feel at home.
After playing for the Eagles, he had several knee surgeries over the course of 18 months. With the hope of playing professionally out the door, Swigert had to look to his future. Swigert earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics in 2014 and his Master's Degree in Leadership & Administration in 2015.
While he majored in economics, the further he studied, the more he knew that he didn't want to work on Wall Street, Swigert told Rubber & Plastics News. He instead turned to sales.
"I knew my personality would thrive much more in an environment where I would deal with many different people and be exposed to very diverse situations on a daily basis," Swigert said.
"Knowing this, I felt that sales was the best fit for someone like me who thrives on activity and has trouble sitting still. I have an intense fear of monotony."
When Mike Baach, Philpott Rubber and Plastics CEO, learned that Swigert was in the sales game, he knew he needed him on his team.
"Our focus is making sure that we are keeping base with our customers' wants, needs and demands and we are constantly changing the company," he said.
"One of the manifestations of that you see is Bobby Swigert."
Baach said Philpott looks for people who have discipline, the ability to communicate and believe in team work. Swigert has all three traits, he added.
"He is very serious about his work and about learning," Baach said.
"They don't have a degree in the Philpott Rubber and Plastics company. We have to bring people to understand what our offerings are and what our strategic plan as to how we're going to address things in keeping with our customers' demands."
Prior to working for Philpott, the manufacturing realm was not something Swigert thought about. Yet, after starting there in March, he looks at business in a whole new way.
"Manufacturing is the absolute backbone of American prosperity," he said.
"I started to think of everything in a different manner. I looked around at my surroundings differently. I don't take things for granted as much anymore.
"It is incredibly interesting to actually think about how things are made, what something is comprised of, what process must it undergo before it is this finished end product I see before me today. It is a beautiful way of thinking, and makes your mind open up and discover/learn in a constant, sustained fashion."
Philpott itself is giving him everything he could want in a company, he added.
"Within a few minutes of being in the office, I could tell that it fit my ideal situation," Swigert said.
"It was extremely evident to me that Philpott was a team atmosphere. Everyone working as one toward a common goal, much like the successful football teams I have been fortunate enough to be on. There is a reason Philpott has been around since 1889, and I think it is because they realize that complacency is a recipe for disaster."
Baach credits Swigert's desire to go above and beyond on the football field, along with the work he put in to rehab through knee surgeries, terrible infections and dealing with the potential of losing a leg, as proof of his perseverance on and off the field.
"You think about what kind of commitment and discipline someone has when they are like that. And those are the types of people who've made Philpott what it is for the last almost 130 years now."
Baach explained the company looks at today and only looks backward at successes. The company goes into the future with full force, which means you have to have a degree in courage and take chances on people.
"We have to look not only to tomorrow, but for the next 50 years of the company," Baach said.
Although Swigert does not have a manufacturing background, his experience does set him up for success in the market.
"He is walking into the industrial sector when his background and passion has been sports….business is a competitive game," Baach said. "The ball is different and the compensation may come in a different manner, but we're all using strategies and tactics in order to win."
Plus, Swigert is quickly learning that everywhere you look, there is something made from rubber or plastic, making this industry essential in today's society.
"The part of the industry I find most fascinating is there is almost no limit as to where rubber/plastics can reach," he said.
"No matter what a company makes, you can almost always find some rubber or plastic that is involved in their process. Whether the finished product is primarily composed of it, or only a small rubber/plastic part is essential for the machine which makes it, there is something where Philpott's expertise can be inserted."