There's no denying that the rubber industry needs to attract more young, qualified people. But look closely and you'll find plenty already embracing what it has to offer.
That's what the editorial staff at Rubber & Plastics News discovered when we solicited—and received—nominations for the 28 qualified individuals who make up our Under 40 Class of 2017. Our goal was to find and spotlight as many young professionals as possible. Anyone who was under the age of 40 and working for a company that serves the rubber industry was eligible; there just had to be a compelling reason why.
It wasn't a tough sell. Our class consists of innovative scientists, strategic marketers, crafty salespeople and even company leaders. Most were not exposed to the rubber industry prior to being recruited, rather they saw an opportunity to work for a strong company and discovered just how innovative rubber can be.
I, for one, studied to be a sports reporter and now will never look at a car the same way.
Others were born into it. With the industry being so tight-knit, it's not surprising to find young professionals who grew up watching their father, or in some cases grandfather, working at a plant. Or being involved with the family business at a very young age.