Veteran’s Leading Plastipak Forward:
A Q&A With Our Veteran Associates

November 2022

At Plastipak, we believe the values—such as work ethic, leadership, determination, and more— military professionals gain during their service are essential to the success of any business. 

We shine a light on U.S. Military veterans Samantha Hunzeker, Angel Garnica and Tiffany Sprague, who bring a unique set of skills and perspectives to their roles at Plastipak each and every day—driving our organization forward. 

Read on to learn more about their military careers, the lessons they’ve learned and how they’ve used their experiences to succeed in their transition to civilian life and build successful careers.

Samantha Hunzeker

Where did you grow up? 
I grew up in Peru, New York.

When did you decided to join the service? Why?
I was looking for something different in my life.  At the time I was in college and was not sure what direction I wanted to go in. I decided to join the United States Marine Corps and served for nine years. After that, I served in active duty for the Maryland National Guard for 13 years.

How do you feel like the service has influenced your life?
At the beginning of my career, it made me a more independent and confident person. It also taught me that women can be successful in predominantly male settings.

What lessons did you learn during your service?
An important lesson that I learned was that in order to help someone grow you have to show compassion as well as guidance. You cannot demand respect—respect is something that is earned and goes both ways in any relationship.

When did you join Plastipak? 
I joined Plastipak in September 2018 as Recruiter, and now I’m a Human Resources Generalist.

In the service, you have a brotherhood or sisterhood, similar to like you’re a part of an organization. Do you find that at Plastipak? 
Yes, I feel strongly about the people I work with and would do anything I can to assist them. I really enjoy being part of a team that is always looking for ways to give back to our community.

What is your favorite part about your current role? 
My favorite part about working at Plastipak is having the ability to support my coworkers. I enjoy being able to help someone who is feeling overwhelmed or stressed, feel less overwhelmed or anxious.

Do you have any advice to other veterans that are considering a career at Plastipak? or anyone that is a transitioning service member? 
My advice would be to take what you have learned from the service and use those skills as the foundation of your career. Be resilient and flexible as you grow in your new position.

Angel Garnica

Where did you grow up? 
I am originally from Fresno, California.

When did you decided to join the service? Why?
I decided to join during my junior year of high school because I didn’t have a plan for after graduation. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study and I also wasn’t prepared for the financial commitment of attending college. One thing I was interested in doing was moving away from my hometown, and joining the service gave me the opportunity to do that.

How do you feel like the service has influenced your life?
It has definitely shown me life experiences someone my age wouldn’t normally encounter. It has also helped me mature, expanding my views on life.

What lessons did you learn during your service?
I learned many lessons during the service that I apply in my everyday life such as hurry up and wait, Semper Gumby, arrive 15 minutes prior to 15 minutes, how to deal with stubbornness and have better situational awareness, Crayola makes the best flavors, and keeping an open mind.

When did you join Plastipak? 
I joined in October 2021 as a Direct Object Printing Electrical Technician.

In the service, you have a brotherhood or sisterhood, similar to like you’re a part of an organization. Do you find that at Plastipak? 
Plastipak does a great job of promoting a family environment. It is, however, a bit different than the family you have in the service. You spend every hour of the day, for months sometimes, with these people and they are often all you have to lean on.

What is your favorite part about your current role? 
My favorite part about my current role is that nothing feels repetitive. Each day, I have the ability to learn something new and work on a variety of tasks.

Do you have any advice to other veterans that are considering a career at Plastipak? or anyone that is a transitioning service member? 
The advice I would give is that military professionalism is not the same as civilian professionalism. Remember to be more tactful with your dialogue and interactions.

Tiffany Sprague

Where did you grow up? 
I was born and raised in Green, Ohio near Akron.

When did you decided to join the service? Why?
In February 2009, I joined the Ohio Army National Guard as an 88M. At the time I was attending the University of Akron and they were offering 100% tuition assistance. We were just coming off of a recession, and it was a way to pay for my schooling without accumulating debt. Plus, I received a hefty sign-on bonus for becoming a truck driver.

How do you feel like the service has influenced your life?
As with anything in life, there are positives and negatives. The biggest positive was the fact that it increased opportunities for me as far as my career. As soon as I graduated from college, I had a full-time job to step into at state headquarters. This was the stepping stone that led me to the career I have today because I had to reclass from a truck driver to human resources. All in all, it opened opportunities for me to grow within the organization until I eventually decided to transition into civilian human resources.

What lessons did you learn during your service?
That’s a long list… resiliency and how to love change, teamwork, adaptability, decision-making skills, resourcefulness, flexibility, persistence, the ability to follow processes and procedures, and discipline.

When did you join Plastipak? 
I joined Plastipak about six months ago in April 2022. I am the current talent manager for our facility in Jackson Center, Ohio.

In the service, you have a brotherhood or sisterhood, similar to like you’re a part of an organization. Do you find that at Plastipak? 
Absolutely, there is a great tenure here at Plastipak and it almost feels like family. There is a strong sense of community and everyone is so helpful.

What is your favorite part about your current role? 
What I love about HR is that the profession is constantly looking for ways to make things better—whether it’s new strategies to help employees with their development, effective training plans, new HR technologies and tools, or partnering with top-level managers to find ways of improving processes to help the company reach its objectives.

Do you have any advice to other veterans that are considering a career at Plastipak? or anyone that is a transitioning service member? 
There is a community here at Plastipak with a multitude of opportunities for growth. It’s never too early to start growing your network and preparing for your next move. Talk with former service members who have already transitioned to civilian careers for tips and moral support. Take stock of your skills and military attributes and think about how you could relate those to the civilian world. Brush off your resume and make sure it translates to everyday language but also captures everything you have to offer. You may not have the exact experience required for a position, but you probably have all the attributes a hiring manager is looking for, and you just need to make sure they know what you got!

Interested in a career at Plastipak?

We offer an abundance of careers suited for military veterans and the drive they bring to the workplace. Learn more about our open positions on our Lediga jobb page.

Plastipak Packaging, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plastipak Holdings, Inc., is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high-quality, rigid plastic containers for the food, beverage, and consumer products industries. Plastipak is also a leading recycler of rigid plastic packaging, producing food-grade post-consumer recycled resin for inclusion in new packaging. Plastipak operates more than 40 sites in the United States, South America and Europe, with a total of over 6,500 employees. Its customers include some of the world’s most respected and recognized consumer brands. Plastipak is also a leading innovator in the packaging industry, holding more than 420 United States patents for its state-of-the-art package designs and manufacturing processes. In addition, Plastipak licenses various packaging technologies around the world.  Plastipak was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Additional information about Plastipak can be found at its website www.plastipak.com 

Statements in this press release concerning Plastipak’s intentions, expectations or predictions about future results or events are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements reflect management’s current expectations or beliefs, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to vary from stated expectations, which variations could be material and adverse.  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the time made, and the Company assumes no obligation to publicly update any such statements.