Ed Tucker ’85 believes everyone has a responsibility to maximize his or her potential. That belief and Christian faith have been his guiding lights.
Tucker is founder and CEO of PlasticolorsRus, a Philadelphia-based company whose purpose is to ensure that colors of plastics consumers see on shelves are consistent, perfect and durable.
Tucker has become one of the few world-renowned experts known to effectively “color engineer” plastics. His career has taken him through leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies including General Electric and Honeywell, and on to his current venture. “If you’re blessed with a talent,” Tucker says, “it’s your responsibility to use it to better the world.”
It’s hard to fathom that a company so young it was founded in 2001 already has carved its niche in the world of engineering plastics. PlasticolorsRus targeted its mission as developing, manufacturing and marketing high-end color concentrate to the Engineering Thermoplastics and Thermoplastic Elastometers market. Tucker has managed to develop a service that uses just the right amount of pigment to make just the right color without compromising the performance of the plastics.
Because colors used on plastic material act as a contaminant, what his company does is crucial to not only customer satisfaction, but also structural performance of the plastics. For example, his color formulation for the plastic on a car door handle must hold up in the cold of winter and still be able to withstand heat in the middle of summer without shattering or fading.
The journey that Tucker’s life has taken helped identify his purpose in life. Born in England, he grew up in Sierra Leone.
Tucker enrolled at RU in the early 1980s, and while a full-time student, he dabbled in diamond trading, the apparel industry and worked as an orderly in both nursing homes and hospitals. In the summer, he added construction and security guard to his list of jobs that would help pay for college. His time at RU as a chemistry major positioned him for something that would make a difference for him, the plastic industry and for the world.
“I had professors whose care and concern went beyond the classroom. Organic chemistry professor Rogers Lambert was not only a teacher but a mentor. He contributed greatly to making many of his students what they are today. He would go out of his way to mentor a student,” Tucker recalls. Preston Durrill is another professor that made an impact. “What a man! I remember him as someone who was always moving and shaking things even when he was sitting still,” Tucker laughs.
“These teachers showed me that I could take classroom learning and apply it to industry. They made me ask myself what my priorities were and what the education, knowledge and skills acquired at a university could do for my future,” Tucker says.
“Happily married” and the father of four boys, Tucker’s life proves that happiness and contentment can still be attained. He has solid words of wisdom to those seeking that sometimes-seemingly-elusive American dream. “Be attentive. Identify the talent and tools that you have been given to work with. Work hard and persevere. Remember that to whom much is given, much is required.”