Published April 14, 2020
Mandy Craig graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in management and Harvard Business School with an MBA. She said she did not plan on working in the plastics industry, “but a lucky series of events landed me in the Dow packaging business in Houston.”
“I had interned in the housing and construction business, and didn’t really enjoy my experience. My mentor appreciated my experience in food manufacturing and thought that packaging could be a good fit for me,” she said. “I was very drawn to the sustainability aspects of food packaging, and when I had the chance to head up a marketing and sustainability department, I jumped at it.”
She previously worked at General Mills in finance with various positions of responsibility, from operations and merchandising to innovation.
At Dow, she was the senior marketing manager for $1.1 billion in business leading all of rigid packaging for North America and caps and closures worldwide. She was the Dow Pinnacle award winner for marketing excellence.
Craig joined flexible packaging maker Accredo Packaging Inc. of Sugar Land, Texas, as the head of marketing and sustainability in 2019, she said, where she works on marketing and sustainability initiatives “globally helping brand owners convert to more sustainable packaging solutions.”
Plastics News: What is your current challenge at work?
Craig: Working in sustainability in such a complicated regulatory environment can be very challenging but also exciting. People look to me to help them choose the most sustainable packaging solutions for their products. Keeping up on all of the exciting technologies available, making sure that I understand all of the latest legislation and synthesizing that information so it is easily understandable is a constant battle. However, the dynamism of this industry is also incredibly exciting and rewarding and puts me in a unique position to make an impact.
Q: Who is your mentor or someone you look up to?
Craig: Growing up in Oregon, I was always a fan of [Olympian] Steve Prefontaine. His grit and determination were unparalleled and he always performed best when he was under intense pressure. He reminds me to elevate my game when things get tough and that life can be short so you have to live it to the fullest.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Craig: At Accredo, sustainability is at our core. We are the only LEED Silver-certified flexible packaging company in North America using 100 percent wind energy to power our facility. We were the first to commercialize a compostable pouch and have industry-leading recyclable pouch technologies. If I were a CEO at a packaging company, I would replicate this and ensure that sustainability is at the core of what I do even before consumers and customers may have that expectation.
Q: One of our criteria for Rising Stars is whether they are active in plastics industry, manufacturing or their community. How are you involved?
Craig: I am the chairman of the board for the Wells International Foundation, a nonprofit here in Houston that focuses on child literacy and the arts. I’m extremely passionate about making sure that kids have the right tools to learn how to read, including having books at home. Studies show that if a child graduates elementary school without the ability to read, they are much more likely to drop out of high school. Helping to get books into the hands of kids who don’t have access to reading materials at home really helps me to make a difference. I believe that volunteering is not a selfless act because you get much more out of it than you give.