BIDDEFORD, Maine—With nearly a half century of experience in silicones, Mark Stevens has learned a few things.
About compounding and about life.
And he's here to tell you things do not always work out as planned. But that's OK. It's even good.
"I've been in the silicone rubber business for more than half of my life. And if anyone had asked me what I wanted to do with my life up until I was offered a job in a silicone factory, I would have said, 'No thanks, it sounds pretty dull to me,' " Stevens said as a keynote speaker in the recent virtual International Silicone Conference, organized by Rubber & Plastics News.
"In truth, I had my whole life planned since I was about 8 years old. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a military pilot. And after that, I wanted to fly for the major airlines. That was the plan, anyway," he said during his virtual presentation.
"What I found, in fact, is life is a series of doors. Some open, some close and not always when you want them to. And not always the door you might have wanted," he said.
Stevens did join the military, flying helicopters during the Vietnam War, and later worked as a pilot for an airline. His life plan was on track, but that changed after being laid off from the airline and in need of work. That's where silicone comes in as he landed his first job in the industry.
What first was just a job ended up being a career with plenty of stops at different silicone companies. He honed his skills and made plenty of friends along the way. Those experiences ultimately allowed Stevens to help create Cri-Sil Silicone Technologies L.L.C. in Biddeford more than a quarter century ago. As CEO of Cri-Sil, Stevens was asked to look back on his time in the industry and share some life lessons he has learned along the way as part of the keynote address.
"Success comes differently to all of us," he said. Some measure success by what they accomplish in the business world. Others by how much time they can spend with family and friends.