Research & Development Engineering Specialist in Houston, TX at ITW Specialty Products

Date Posted: 10/5/2019

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type:
  • Location:
    Houston, TX
  • Job Type:
  • Experience:
    Not Specified
  • Date Posted:

Job Description


Research & Development Engineering Specialist

Job Summary:

Reports to:

Global Innovation Director

Direct Reports:



Houston, TX


5 to 20%


This is an important entry level professional role for the Research and Development (R&D) department. In this position you will be responsible for ensuring pilot plant trials/operations are completed successfully, product testing and pilot project management. You will also begin learning about the ITW Business Model along with the Toolbox used to manage our business.

The 80:

  • Work closely with Innovation team to assist in the development and innovation process.  This includes; planning, documenting, setting up and running trials, test the products produced and summarize results. 
  • In coordinate with trials you will run equipment and maintain R & D lab and small-scale production equipment used in production and process development in the pilot plant.
  • Supervise, on a temporary basis, technicians and production operators to ensure innovation trails and testing are completed as needed.  
  • Take project management role and accountability for pilot plant and lab safety with a focus on continuous improvement.

The 20:

  • Provide technical support to internal departments including; Quality Assurance department, sales and management.
  • Complete testing and documentation associated with competitive films allowing Valeron to better understand our competition.
  • Investigate, determine root cause and effectively communicate to management and customers regarding  complaints, material failures and process concerns.
  • Actively participate in continuous improvement and toolbox projects to enhance product performance, increase process reliability and performance, and drive simplicity in the organization. 
  • Assume responsibility for development projects of varying scope including planning, trial and testing design, reporting and field trials and customer support. 

Key Deliverables and Progression:

  • 0 to 6 months – Learn the Valéron process, pilot plant operation and lab testing.  During the end of the period assume responsibility for and successfully complete one simple project.  Time required: Approx. 10%.
  • 6 to 12 months – With successful completion of initial project, a project or projects of increasing scope and complexity will be assigned.  Develop a simple project plan and complete project(s) per plan.  Provide a formal report at project completion.   Time required: Approx. 10 to 20 %.
  • 12 to 18 months – Continue working on projects of increasing scope and complexity.  Project management training will be provided.  Apply project management skills to current projects.  Attend ITW Toolbox training.   Time required: Approx. 20 to 30 %.
  • 18 to 24 months – Work on a typical R&D or product improvement project.  Develop formal project plan and compete project per plan.  Patriciate in and contribute to an ITW Toolbox project.  Time required: Approx. 30 to 50 %.

Skills and Experience Needed

  • Ideal candidate will possess or be working to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, or Materials Science preferred.
  • Some experience in plastics processing and testing is preferred, but not required depending on education level.
  • Interest in advancement based on performance and available opportunities to positions of increasing responsibility within Valéron and/or ITW.
  • Experience in plastics/polymer processing (extrusion, blown film, orientation coating/lamination) and laboratory testing of film products.
  • Experience in plastics lab testing and pilot plant operations.
  • Proven ability to work and communicate with people at all levels of an organization, both internally and externally, as both a leader and a team member.
  • Computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, SharePoint as well as experience with shop floor control and reporting systems.

Core Competencies:

Plastics Processing 

  • Blown film extrusion
  • Polymer orientation
  • Extrusion Lamination
  • Plastics film converting
  • Ability to trouble shoot plastics processes.

Laboratory Testing 

  • Physical properties: tensile strength, impact strength, tear resistance, melt index etc.
  • Microscopic analysis of defects and film structures
  • Ability to set up and qualify new instruments.

Data Analysis 

  • Summarize trial and test results and effectively communicate verbally and in writing.
  • Realize when results are incorrect and proactively determine root cause and implements corrections.


  • Ability to lead non-direct reports (R&D Technicians and operators, etc.) to get trials and testing done.
  • Able to prioritize work to focus on the 80. 


  • Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing (including email) with sales leaders, customers, VP/GM, division leaders, mangers and operators.

Valeron Strength Films is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, age, or any other characteristic protected by law.