Congratulations to Reneé Onesti, Director of Engineering and Maintenance at KEP, for her nomination to be profiled in Plastics News’ July 23, 2018 Women in Plastics issue for this year’s report of Women Breaking the Mold.

Plastics News Women Breaking the Mold Network (WBM) is an empowering community dedicated to the professional development of female executives in the plastics industry. Their goal is to create a community that empowers women in the plastics industry through networking, education, mentoring, and other professional development initiatives.

At KEP, Reneé Onesti’s team reengineers, improves and maintains equipment, facilities and processes at all 3 of our locations. She leads them in initiatives to maximize safety, productivity, efficiency and reliability. She is a Safety Leader, passionate about energy savings, and has overseen millions of dollars in capital projects. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from The University of Akron, and currently in the process of attaining a Masters of Business Administration from Malone University, Reneé knows a lot about what it means to be dedicated to educational and professional development.

In her 17 years in the plastics industry, Reneé has worked on projects in the USA, France, England, and Uruguay in 3 different product categories. These include Blow PVC films, TPE extruded tubing, and dip-molded tubing and products. Reneé’s long list of educational and professional milestones includes earning her 6Sigma Black Belt, becoming a Lean Master, and receiving her Certificate in Applied Project Management.

When asked about her greatest achievement, Reneé said the thing she loves most about her career is how she works with people in each of our departments “to achieve some really great things—I am proud of the collaboration that happens when it’s not ONE person’s job to make improvements,” she said. These improvements range from impressive energy savings, water usage reductions, increased throughput and reduced scrap. They also manage budgets and create successful Preventive Maintenance programs. Being a driving part of these teams is not only a favorite part of her job, but also the most rewarding.

“We don’t fail, folks. We just haven’t succeeded yet,” a quote from Bob Oborn, President of KEP, is what Reneé said comes to mind when she hears the word “failure.” Reneé sees failures as an opportunity to learn and improve with new Project Management planning tools, 6Sigma analysis tools and Lean action-driven tools. Keeping up with the ever-changing marketplace is a challenge Reneé tackles weekly by staying on top of all of the technological advancements happening in manufacturing. Reneé studies technologies in recycled materials, advancements in using plastics waste and much more. From recycled material in tennis shoes to 3D printing in space, Reneé loves how engineers and people with an imagination are using plastic in new and interesting ways to improve safety, reduce weight, increase strength, and are great for use in many of the applications of traditional materials.

Of the many people she has gotten to know throughout the years, Reneé says it’s an honor to work for and learn from Bruce Pindyck, the owner of Kent Elastomer Products’ parent company, Meridian Industries, Inc. Under his leadership, Meridian Industries supports five vastly different companies; however, each company is intertwined with Bruce’s values. Through Bruce, Reneé has learned about the effective management of companies, the importance of investing in technology, and caring for its employees above all.

“There are a myriad of applications in the plastics industry. Plastics has been relatively stable and continues to make advancements. Find something you are passionate about and find the place that makes it. You won’t be bored, you won’t run out of ideas, and you won’t run out of possibilities,” said Reneé. We love how Reneé “Breaks the Mold” to push her own advancements, helping our company to adhere to safety guidelines and increase productivity, efficiency and reliability for our company and customers!

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