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 As vice president of operations at AmSty, Jonathan Kammerer is on the road. A lot. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love being at the plants, helping and supporting plant managers," said Jonathan, who has served in this role since 2019, overseeing all manufacturing, engineering, quality and reliability at AmSty's seven plants. That includes the St. James plant, AmSty's single styrene monomer plant, which supplies styrene to five polystyrene plants in the U.S. and one in Cartagena, Colombia.

While he calls AmSty's Marietta, Ohio, facility, home, Jonathan travels three weeks out of the month to be as visible as he can, meeting with plant managers, listening, supporting and serving as the conduit between them and AmSty headquarters.

"I'm their advocate and their voice, ensuring they have the tools to succeed," said Jonathan.

He's been with AmSty since the very beginning in 2008, first named plant manager at the Allyn's Point, Conn., facility. Previously, Jonathan worked at Dow Chemical, one of AmSty's parent companies, for nearly 20 years.

"I grew up working with operators, technicians and maintenance crews that lived and breathed their work. My success was a result of working alongside them and understanding and solving challenges," said Jonathan. "As I grew in my roles, I knew the key to success was getting to know everyone at the plants and giving them what they need to get the job done."

With his vast experience in the industry, including having served in and now overseeing the role of plant manager, Jonathan points to four traits that make a good leader: courage, adaptability, resilience and results-driven.

Courage: "Plants are their own entities and plant managers are the voice and focal point not only for the plant but for the surrounding community. They must have the courage to do the right thing, whether or not anyone's looking, and go above and beyond to get the work done and earn trust with employees and area citizens."

Adaptability: "Plant managers are going into facilities every day and often experiencing curveballs. You never know what you're walking into. Good leaders, whether they're overseeing 30 people or 120, must be able to consume the information quickly and make decisions with a cool head. Everyone is watching and expecting you to adapt – to bring calm and reason to the situation."

Resilience: "Things don't always go as planned and reacting to failures with a mindset of resilience is the sign of a quality manager. Good leaders learn from their mistakes and make course corrections. People who report to them see their strengths and weaknesses. True leaders make an effort to overcome those weaknesses to lead more effectively."

Results-Driven: "We're a results-oriented company, working to show our customers that we can deliver against set expectations. The buck stops with the plant managers who are given directives they're expected to meet. Some managers may excel at the three prior traits but fall short here. We hire plant managers who excel in all areas in order to meet the expectations of the business."

While hiring the right people is essential, creating the right culture and developing competencies that allow leaders to thrive is just as important, according to Jonathan.

"We reward people who exemplify excellence and give them bigger roles," he said. "They are the reason for our success and I want to make sure they get the recognition and resources they deserve to excel." 

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