The Young Professional of the Year is an annual honor that 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 recipients of the 2022 TAPPI Young Professionals of the Year awards are:

  • Jessica Spadaccino, Communications Manager, Mica Corporation
  • Kirk Carlson, Capital Project Engineer, Clearwater Paper Company

The award recognizes young professionals who have made significant contributions to the forest products industries in the following areas: leadership, community service, and problem-solving contributions to scientific or engineering projects.

Winners are granted one full year of TAPPI membership and are invited to attend their division-specific TAPPI conference during 2022 to receive their award.

Learn More about this year's winners: 

Jessica “Jessi” SpadaccinoJessi Headshots-Outside_Square.jpg is Communications Manager of Mica Corporation, a global supplier of water-based primers and coatings, which offer adhesion or other properties to paper, metal and plastic surfaces in continuous web applications.

In her current role, Jessi is responsible for creating and executing Mica’s global digital, content, events, and social strategy, as well as protecting and enhancing the business’ brand and reputation.

Jessi took an entry-level position at Mica Corporation in 2012, after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Pace University (NYC) with a Bachelor of Arts degree with major concentrations in Communications, English, and Psychology. Her communications skills and drive helped her get a promotion to internal sales where she worked to develop a suite of sales and marketing tools and platforms to help strengthen relationships with stakeholders and grow business.

After accepting her current role as Communications Manager in 2016, Jessi joined TAPPI. In 2018, Jessi was appointed as the TAPPI Young Professionals (YP) Division’s Director of Communications. In 2020, she took a leadership role in the TAPPI International Flexible Packaging and Extrusion Division’s (IFPED) Digital Team. In these capacities she was integral in developing new online hubs for members of the respective divisions to gain access to valuable resources, get involved, and learn how to best amplify the new connections they were creating. Her active involvement and professional talent in communications helped create greater awareness for the Divisions and encouraged others to get actively involved as well. Jessi is currently an active member of IFPED’s marketing team, where she is continuously working to find new ways to reach and engage emerging leaders in packaging and converting spaces.

Jessi has also written technical articles and informed opinion pieces that have been published in publications such as Paper, Film, Foil Converter (PFFC) and FlexPack Voice. In 2021, Jessi coauthored a white paper on promoting adhesion in commercially compostable hot cups that was published in Converting Quarterly.

When she’s not in the office, Jessi enjoys watching The Office, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, taking on challenging home improvement projects she has no business taking on, making people laugh, and spending time with her daughter and dog.

Kirk Carlson. During his time at CleKirk Carlson.jpgarwater Paper's Lewiston, Idaho mill, Kirk delivered solutions to improve energy efficiency, increase production, and reduce chemical usage costs. His efforts resulted in over $170,000 in utility energy rebates and over $340,000 in combined cost savings for the mill. Kirk has been a TAPPI member since 2019 and that membership has played a key role in broadening his knowledge of papermaking. He holds a Six-Sigma Green Belt and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

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