A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

Spencer Null | 34

Engineer, director of product development, Natural Fiber Welding (NFW)

Spencer Null
Spencer Null

In his capacity at Natural Fiber Welding, a start-up company that invents and manufacturers sustainable products from plant-based materials in a quest for a plastic-free future, Spencer Null interfaces with customers while adjusting production and testing to develop products for commercialization. He also researches and designs proprietary equipment for welding natural fibers, for which he has shared patent credit. He has secured brand collaborations with world-renowned brands such as Patagonia and Ralph Lauren.

“Spencer is an ambassador for our brand outside the company and a stalwart standard-bearer for the culture we want to build inside NFW,” said his nominator. 

Meanwhile, Spencer is a foster parent, providing love and stability to the children who need it most. He and his wife are in the process of adopting twin girls they’ve been fostering. He volunteers as a board member at Central Illinois Ballet and is active in Boy Scouts, attaining Eagle Scout status – the highest Scouting honor – in his own right. He is restoring a historic home to enhance the appearance of his community and bring beauty to an area he is passionate about. He’s been a board member of the Moss-Bradley Residential Association. He competes in triathlons and loves travel. 

Childhood ambition: “I was fascinated by a movie in which the main character traveled back in time. He had to recreate the things that we rely on in everyday life, like a light bulb. This cultivated an interest in engineering at a young age.” 

Favorite cause: “I am passionate about replacing plastics. Growing up, I loved the outdoors and it created a fierce desire to protect it. One of the biggest detriments to the environment is our over-reliance on plastics. My experience at NFW has taught me that replacing plastic with uncompromising natural solutions, instead of consumer education, is the most effective way to drive meaningful, sustainable change. My hope is to make the easy choice and the sustainable choice one and the same.”

Book recommendation: “Atomic Habits by James Clear. Who we are is a summation of our habits. Consciously constructing habits creates routines that automate success over time. The problem is, hustle and willpower are finite and ultimately are unsustainable. Rather, a person’s identity is a culmination of automating daily habits, which lead to sustainable, long-term success.”