Emerging leaders represent International Paper, Jacobs, PCA  and WestRock

TAPPI is pleased to announce five recipients of this year’s Young Professionals (YPs) of the Year awards. The annual honor identifies aspiring young leaders in the global forest products, pulp, paper, tissue, packaging and associated industries. Eligible nominees are age 35 or younger with less than 10 years of industry experience.

The individuals named 2021 TAPPI YPs of the Year are:

  • Kyle Duffy - Engage on TAPPI Connect
    Finished Products Manager, International Paper
    While serving as Environmental Health and Safety Manager at IP’s Franklin, VA mill, Duffy was able to drive the expansion of the mill’s safety leading indicator-tracking system leading to more than a year free of recordable events. He is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering from Miami University.

  • Kimberly Hollifield - Engage on TAPPI Connect
    Manufacturing Excellence Leader – Paper, International Paper
    “Building relationships with the people on the team, and helping them achieve their goals” has been a driving force in Hollifield’s career. In her current role, she improves engagement and morale on her team of newly hired engineers by giving them an opportunity to voice their suggestions on ways to improve their development within the company.

  • Josiah Fonte - Engage on TAPPI Connect
    Quality Supervisor, WestRock
    A TAPPI member since 2017, Fonte works with lab personnel to assess testing measures and procedures. He has analyzed data for various processes and performed an extensive capabilities analysis of his facility’s paper lab testing. Fonte holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Bioresource Science and Engineering from the University of Washington.

  • Lena Sharesky - Engage on TAPPI Connect
    Packaging Sales Representative, Packaging Corporation of America (PCA)
    As Director of Events for the TAPPI YP Division, Sharesky has successfully executed several events and activities for TAPPI’s early career professional and student members, including the Division's first ever Virtual Orientation event, and a series of virtual networking mixers. These events directly contributed to the success of the YP Division and its recruitment efforts in 2020.

  • Avery Wilson - Engage on TAPPI Connect
    Process Engineering Professional Intermediate, Jacobs
    A TAPPI member since 2019, Wilson developed multiple mill-wide mass and energy balances for major pulp and paper clients that were used to help develop a long-term capital project and execution strategy for each of the mill’s locations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Carolina-Columbia and is on track to earn an MBA from the university in 2021.


Kyle Duffy, International Paper 

Kimberly Hollifield Headshot.jpg

Kimberly Hollifield, International Paper


Josiah Fonte, WestRock 


Lena Sharesky, PCA



Avery Wilson, Jacobs 

To be chosen as a YP of the Year, individuals must have made make significant contributions to the forest products industries in the following areas: Leadership, Community Service, and Problem Solving Contributions to Scientific or Engineering Projects.

In addition to being presented the award at their Division-specific conference, the honored YPs are also provided with one full year of TAPPI membership.


About TAPPI Young Professionals Division:

The Young Professionals Division is composed of TAPPI members that are college undergraduates, recent graduates and young professionals in the industry.  The division provides a wide range of products, services and educational opportunities, as well as a means for experiencing different professional areas, resources for career advancement and the chance to network with peers and industry professionals. More information can be found on  the Young Professionals website.

About TAPPI:

TAPPI is the leading association for the worldwide pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and converting industries and publisher of Paper360°, Tissue360° and TAPPI Journal. Through information exchange, events, trusted content and networking opportunities, TAPPI helps members elevate their performance by providing solutions that lead to better, faster and more cost-effective ways of doing business. It has provided management training and networking to the industry’s leaders for more than 100 years. For more information, visit TAPPI’s website.

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