Day 18 – Noble Plastics and Manon
Do what you say. Care about getting it right. Help people succeed. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded. Be enthusiastic, tenacious and competitive. According to Missy Rogers, founder and president of Noble Plastics, those are the key values of her company.
On day 18 we drove to the site of Noble Plastics, near Lafayette. Missy welcomed us in a conference room and told us about her career. She and her husband Scott both studied mechanical engineering at LSU. After working for a large company for a few years, Scott and she founded Noble Plastics in 2000. It was very interesting to hear what challenges they faced, how they were able to develop and invest in their own company and how they acted in times of crisis. For Missy it is crucial that her husband and her have complementary skills: While Scott has creative ideas and is searching for new products and production techniques, she is the businesswoman signing contracts, writing bills and keeping an overview of the company. She told us that nobody can accomplish all given tasks. Instead, one should become aware of what skills one does not have and bring an expert into the team. Missy was a very inspiring woman with outstanding rhetorical skills. Talking with her gave us much to reflect.
After this very interesting and enriching visit we headed directly back to Lod Cook. Due to the current situation and spread of the corona virus Harald was very busy bringing LSU students from abroad back to the US and had special meetings. Although we were constantly reading the news and keeping in touch with our family and friends from Germany, the virus and its consequences felt as if they were far from our reality in Baton Rouge. But on that day the mood of our group seemed to change slightly: the Startup Weekend, which we were looking forward to so much, was cancelled, the hotel’s gym had been closed and a 30-day travel ban on Europeans was imposed. It was the first time that our topics of conversation were more about the corona virus.
However, we still enjoyed our stay on LSU campus. Some of us spent the evening watching the opera Manon performed by LSU students. This piece was a unique adaptation of the original Manon, the music was still by Jules Massenet, but the story took place in New Orleans of the 1950s. So, the set design was inspired by the French Quarter, beads were thrown like on Mardi Gras and even the characters sung about crawfish. We got into conversation with two kind gentlemen who told us that they regularly come to Germany. As it turned out later, the two were none other than John Turner and Jerry Fischer, founders of the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at LSU. This evening showed us once again a completely new facet of the university. It is really exciting how versatile and committed the students are and how many possibilities the campus offers in addition to all the sports events and activity clubs.