Alberto Blanco has been looking forward to introducing customers to North America’s newest, most sustainably produced source of polypropylene —Heartland Polymers since he first decided to get on board as a sales representative a year ago.
As Channel and Export Account Manager with North America’s first integrated PDH/PP plant, Blanco will help oversee Heartland’s global market development with a close eye on South America, Central America, Europe and Asia. Sharing updates on the company’s journey to becoming fully operational is just the opener for Blanco as he delves deeper into the company’s brand promise: We believe in better.
“That approach of aiming higher really resonated with me,” he says about his decision to join the team bringing the new entrant to market. “It’s about the decisions taken before the facility was even built, like choosing air cooling instead of intensive water uptake, and the selection of leading technologies. At every step and in every aspect of the business, this group is choosing to prove that better is possible in sustainability, product delivery and customer service. ”
It’s about walking the walk.
There’s an HP in Team
Blanco works out of the Heartland Polymers office in New Jersey. He says the energy and collaboration across the sales and marketing group is another example of what aiming for better looks like on a daily basis. The team, headed by industry veteran Yonas Kebede, was hand-picked to ensure diverse skills, backgrounds, and deep experience across all sectors of plastics manufacturing, distribution, contracting, industry relations and technical applications. They are supported by a world class customer service and technical team.
“It’s very collaborative, a one-team attitude, and that’s the type of relationship we want to have with our customers as well,” he says.
For his part, Blanco will work with global export partners to service international accounts. While North America and Mexico remain priority geographies for Heartland Polymers, Blanco says a portion of production capacity will be made available for distribution and export.
Heartland Polymers Overseas
“My first job in the industry was growing a new market in Latin America, literally knocking on doors and building a customer base from the ground up,” he explains. “Heartland is similar. We’re starting grassroots, from scratch, and we’re trying to get our brand out there. And in my opinion, I think we’ve selected great export partners who will help us convey that message to the end users. We have that right mix of good team, good partners and good end-user clients.”
Blanco has learned over the years that effectively servicing international clients requires an understanding of local and regional dynamics that impact business – including economics, financial systems, politics, climate and social issues – as well as maintaining open lines of communication. Being naturally curious helps too, as every question raised helps develop better understanding of the people behind the business.
“I think it’s about constant communication with the people who live and work in those countries. They’ll be the first to tell you about shifting environments before you see it on CNN,” says Blanco. “What they’re looking for is a true partner that’ll have their back and help keep their plant running.”
It’s a strategic partnership, not a transactional situation.
Not the Same Old Thing
Customers have been eager to learn more about market differentiators such as Heartland’s sustainability, producing polypropylene with a 65 per cent lower GHG emission footprint compared to the global average, and our access to Polymer Grade Polypropylene (PGP) caverns owned and operated by parent company Inter Pipeline which can hold 30-40 days’ worth of feedstock. Anything that increases reliability, such as forward staging capabilities and a production location outside of the Gulf, is catching a lot of interest, Blanco says. And he’s always happy to walk through how Heartland Polymers is proving better is possible – even if he does it across a wild schedule of time zones.
When he’s not keeping an eye on world news, Blanco says he keeps active.
“I like to be very social. I always like to be hanging out, watching sports, catching up with friends. I don’t like to stay home. I always want to be doing something.”
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