Kristian Andersen-Lentine started his career in packaging at BPI as a part time warehouse employee while he was in college double majoring in dance and music. But packaging was in his blood as his grandfather founded a packaging company decades ago. Overtime, he became fascinated with machines and automation so he switched his major to focus on advanced mechatronics. Now, a lead engineer, Andersen-Lentine has his sights set on leading the company one day.
What’s the most fascinating part of your job?
As a lead technician and trainer, I love the diversity in projects that we do. Some companies stick to one vertical system. However, we can work with any kind of application from food to pharmaceuticals. We touch base on any industry that needs automated equipment.
What are some packaging trends you have been eyeing ?
The robotic industry is particularly interesting to me. Especially spider robotics for material handling, once you get those incorporated in your line, you set yourself on a higher standard and also you are opening a door that separates you from the rest of the market. It’s been one of those things that as a company we would like to get into more. In my childhood days I remember seeing robotic arms swinging around performing automated tasks or doing things that humans can’t do, it intrigued me then, and still does to this day. Simply fascinating how a huge piece of equipment can move around so precisely.
As an emerging leader, what were some obstacles you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me was understanding my role within the company and the industry when I first came to BPI. When I started at BPI, I chose to make this my career, but I was still in school. So balancing both a college education and a career was also very challenging, but everyone at BPI was helpful, and it really helped me to understand how my studies were being applied to my work.
What advice do you have for others looking to break into this industry?
You need to be flexible and learn how to work with people who have different skill sets. When I began to move up in the company, I only had a little bit of experience in the field. I was put on certain projects and the people working with me had so much more knowledge that it was intimidating at first, but became an advantage for me. Working with them taught me so much, and what I learned helped me excel.
As a way to recognize young talent making their mark on the packaging and processing industries, PMMI set out to find 10 rising stars. OEM Magazine spoke with each On the Rise Award winner to find out where they think the industry is heading, how they have overcome obstacles in their careers and how the industry can better accommodate incoming generations to bridge the skills gap. Learn more about PMMI’s On the Rise Awards, and see the other winners.