DRI Interviews Rich Hall, VP, Proprietary Product Sales at Ingenia
Direct Recruiters and Ashley Gannon, Executive Recruiter, recently had the opportunity to connect with Rich Hall, VP, Proprietary Product Sales at Ingenia for a series of Thought Leader Interview questions. Mr. Hall shared insights on the plastics and flexible packaging industry, how Ingenia has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, and his personal career in the industry.
VP, Proprietary Product Sales
Please tell us about yourself and your company, Ingenia.
Ingenia was founded 34 years ago in Brantford Canada by John Lefas and the company is still privately held with John as the CEO. We currently have 5 manufacturing sites – 2 in Canada, 2 in the US & one in KSA with continued focus on expansion. Our business is split into 2 divisions – the Primary Division services resin producer post reactor needs with custom compounding, grinding, research and product development support and our Super Blend technology. The Proprietary Division that I am responsible for services plastic processors with our White & Black concentrates, Additive Masterbatch formulations and our Superlink cross-linkable rotomolding compounds. My background is in Sales and Operations management – much of it in Plastics Distribution.
What led you to pursue a career in the Plastics industry?
I really had no intention to pursue a career in plastics – but had an opportunity to join a plastics distributor in Detroit, MI after graduating from Walsh College in a management training program and progressed through operations management and into sales and then sales and senior management roles.
What or who has motivated and influenced you to be successful in your career? Have you been involved in mentorship throughout your career, whether being mentored or mentoring others?
I was fortunate to have some great mentors that challenged me and shaped my career path through very diverse roles and career opportunities - including Dan McGuire of General Polymers and Michael Rademacher while at Ashland Chemical.
How did/has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Ingenia Polymers? Has your organization had to pivot or take specific or unique initiatives throughout the pandemic?
We have been fortunate that much of our Proprietary Divisions focus is in flexible packaging which has been very strong in 2020 because of Covid 19 – especially in food packaging. Our “heroes” in our manufacturing plants have been able to keep running safely and at a high level while our sales and customer service teams have learned to adapt to work remotely and support our customers with exceptional service. 2020 will be another record year for Ingenia.
Describe the ways you and the leadership team have been keeping your teams engaged and motivated throughout 2020.
We were able to understand the impact of Covid 19 quickly and get in front of the curve to keep our employees safe, our plants running and provide high levels of service to our film customers – many who have had very strong demand in 2020. We have successfully adapted to using more technology for both customer and employee interface and have “over-communicated” to insure alignment.
What challenges do you expect the industry to face in the next 3 years?
Our biggest challenge in the Plastics industry is sustainability and balancing public perception with the value that plastics provide. We need a much-improved focus on the collection and reuse of post-consumer plastics and it is rewarding to see the public and brand owners supporting those efforts.
What interesting new products is Ingenia Polymers working on?
Ingenia has a Research & Development team led by Zach Charlton – our Chief Technology Officer who are very focused on creating new products especially in the area of sustainability through our INCIRCLE product family made up of INABLE (recycle friendly), INHANCE (support recycle with enhanced properties) and INBIO (biopolymer based products).