Rebecca Kisch, who started a job with a commercial printing operation in June, updates her career path since being identified by Cal Poly as a Rising Star in Packaging in 2014.
Please bring us up to speed since your Rising Star in Packaging feature from September 2014.
Kisch: Prior to graduating in December 2015, I had the opportunity to work at Cal Poly as an Instructional Student Assistant and Research Assistant. Working as an ISA, I assisted the professors in teaching the lab sections of some courses. As a Research Assistant, I performed ISTA testing profiles on different projects for members of our packaging consortium.
During this time, I participated in the 48Hour Repack Challenge and PMMI Pack Solutions challenge where my team won Second and First Place respectively. The greatest takeaway from working at Cal Poly was definitely learning how to apply the knowledge I gained in the class room to real-world problems.
Leaving Cal Poly was bittersweet; it had been my home away from home for the last couple years. I actually miss the excitement of working long nights in the labs to meet short deadlines. I also miss setting new standards and raising the bar for subsequent students to try and break.
After graduating I stayed in San Luis Obispo, working as both a server and a homeschool teacher, while conducting job searches.
What changes did you see in the Cal Poly packaging program as an ISA?
Kisch: There are continual improvements as the Packaging Program Director moves towards implementing a Center for Packaging Excellence and introducing a Master’s program in Packaging Value Chain. While I was still a student, there was the addition of a few new professors to handle growth in the department. With the hiring of additional professors, new courses, such as a Pharmaceutical Packaging class, have been added to the catalog.
Rebecca Kisch fronts the company’s Packsize Machine, an on-demand packaging system that allows the printer to create any size RSC for shipping.
Congratulations on your new position! What can you tell us about it?
Kisch: I started working in late June as a structural packaging engineer at Moquin Press, located in Belmont, CA, and so far I am loving it! Moquin Press is a full solutions provider of printing and packaging and does everything from offset and digital printing to custom packaging and wide formats.
In my brief time here I have gained so much knowledge about printing. We work on a variety of different jobs daily; it is gratifying to see the final printed package that you contributed to designing.
I decided to work for Moquin Press for the opportunity to expand my knowledge in both packaging and printing. My design and manufacturing background helps me when it comes to my job. At Cal Poly, design was my forte; so my experience with the CAD programs and designing packages comes in handy. My manufacturing background also helps me know whether a design is feasible or not. Knowing exactly what parameters every package has to go through is essential in my job. While I spend a good deal of my time designing packaging, I also have to perform the detailed preparation of files readying them to go to press. I am excited to learn more and be exposed to new things. It is an exciting time in my life and I am grateful to be at a company that allows my creativity to flow.
What’s it like to be a Millennial packaging engineer in the work world?
Kisch: It’s exciting. As a Millennial, I feel that I bring passion, excitement, desire and energy to my work and have a mindset that anything is possible—I am always up to a challenge. It makes me feel as if I am bringing a new, fresh perspective to packaging, while knowing that that I can learn from so many experienced people from a different generation.
Kisch seen Now and Then.
What new advice do you have for students in packaging?
Kisch: My biggest advice to students in packaging is to do your research on packaging jobs before you graduate. I remember looking at job descriptions for “Packaging Engineers” and being a little shocked that it didn’t describe what I understood the job to be while I was in school. However, I am fortunate to have a degree in Industrial Technology, which is the perfect marriage between Business, Supply Chain and Packaging. My degree and experience created choices for me so that I didn’t box myself into a certain kind of job.
For more information, visit the Cal Poly Packaging Program web page or the Industrial Technology & Packaging web page. Packaging Program Director Jay Singh’s profile is http://www.cob.calpoly.edu/directory/profile/jay-singh/ and his email is [email protected]
Interested in continuing your professional education in packaging? Attend MinnPack September 21-22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and use discount code PDigest16 to get 20% off your conference registration. ____________________________________________________________________________________