Our People : Van Linh Dang

 Van Linh Dang

Meet Van Linh Dang, our Business Director of Performance Products department.

Introduce yourself...When and why did you join Safic-Alcan? What made you consider joining us?

I joined Safic-Alcan France eighteen years ago already. I started as an account manager at the Rubber Department and I sometimes feel like I always had a “special and durable link” with the rubber universe!  

I was born in Vietnam close to rubber plantations, my father worked for 30 years for a tire manufacturer in France, but, completely by chance, my first summer student jobs were for another rubber company located few minutes from my place by bicycle ride.. And eventually, I became chemical engineer with a last year study at IFOCA (now elanova education, the French Rubber Institute).

During my first position as a R&D elastomer laboratory manager for a small company for 3 years, I had the opportunity to meet and build a good relationship with the Safic-Alcan sales teams representative. His technical approach and great sense of service stood out from other suppliers and distributors. 
So when I’ve been called to move to technical sales and join Safic-Alcan, I did not hesitate a single second. 

What is the Safic-Alcan value which stands out the most for you ?  

Literally the durable link. With our partners of course, but also with the employees. Internal evolution is a reality in our company. You just have to take a look at our Executive committee ! And at a local scale in France, all our business directors were previously account managers for Safic-Alcan. I also benefited from the company philosophy. Coming from the Rubber department, today I’m leading the Performance Products Division in France, which covers the rubber, coatings, adhesives, plastics, detergency, lubes, and even animal feed markets, among others.  
Our business development strategy lead us to gather a solid team of close to 20 account managers covering those markets in France. 

I’m grateful to have the opportunity to diversify my knowledge, I’m learning every single day.  

Beyond your role at Safic-Alcan, you also serve as a lecturer. Could you tell us what inspired you to pursue a career in academia alongside your role in the corporate world?  

We all have in mind one of those teachers who inspired us and lightened a sparkle in our head after his or her course. I do not have this pretention, but after a quarter of a century in the industry, sharing my technical knowledge and passion for the rubber industry with students might be at least interesting and useful.

As both a lecturer and a business leader, what advice would you give to aspiring professionals looking to enter the rubber, plastics or coatings industry?

Be curious! Curiosity brings awareness, passion and makes you agile for shaping the future. Indeed, evolution might bring some threats but it always bring opportunities for innovation.

How do you see these two aspects of your professional life complementing each other? 

In our job, we are lucky to have a transversal view of the manufacturing value chain, from the raw materials to the finished goods. And from a local perspective to macro-economic and technologic trends, we have to foresee the evolution of our industries. And this is on this aspect that we can bring some insightful observations to the students. Where should they put emphasis on in their future career, what will be the main (r)evolutions they will be acting for?

As you mentioned, The industry is evolving, especially in terms of sustainability. How do you incorporate discussions on sustainability and environmental considerations into your teaching curriculum? 

As part of the elastomers and additives courses at Elanova Education, I cover the sustainability aspects of raw materials and their pros and cons. This year, we welcomed Elanova students and teachers, exposing them to the latest rubber innovations and sustainable compounding methods. Our discussions with students explored their views on technology and sustainability, envisioning the future of rubber and upcoming market trends.

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