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Recognizing Emerging Industry Leaders


Each year, TAPPI recognizes aspiring young leaders in the paper, packaging, tissue, and related industries in its Young Professionals of the Year awards. Eligible nominees can be up to age 35 with no more than 10 years of industry experience who have made significant contributions in the areas of Leadership, Community Service, or Problem Solving Contributions to Scientific or Engineering Projects.

We're happy to introduce this year's awardees to Ahead of the Curve readers. Feel free to share this story with those in your company who will be inspired by these young leaders—or with those who may benefit from being a part of the Young Professionals Division. The seven winners of the 2018 Young Professionals of the Year awards are:


Lindsey Clifton, Process Engineer, Domtar: Throughout her time in the industry, Lindsey has worked at US Playing Card as an R&D intern, and Domtar Paper Company as a Fiberline intern, process improvement coordinator, and process engineer.

Lindsey has developed a training program for three positions on the paper machine, led a continuous improvement project to decrease size press break downtime, helped create Domtar's Process Control Scholarship at Miami University, and is currently on the Executive Committee for Miami University's Paper Science & Engineering Foundation.

Jaclyn Epstein, Sales and Marketing Strategy Manager, Mica Corporation: Jaclyn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from Syracuse University in 2011. Prior to joining Mica Corporation in 2016, Jaclyn spent six years at General Electric (GE), gaining global communications experience in public relations, public affairs, media relations, digital strategy, employee communications, crisis communications, thought leadership and executive communications.

Jaclyn is currently sales and marketing strategy manager of Mica Corporation, a global supplier of water-based and other environmentally responsible products that offer adhesion or other properties to paper, metal, and plastic surfaces in continuous web applications.

Patrick Hartnett, Process Engineer in the Pulp Mill, WestRock: Patrick is a graduate from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a BS in Chemical Engineering. He began his current role at the Tacoma Mill after completing WestRock's Early Career Development Program where he worked as a process control engineer at the Mahrt Mill in Cottonton, AL; process optimization engineer at the Tacoma Mill, leading a major chemical trial on a paper machine; and as a process engineer at the St. Paul Mill, developing and running a full-scale mill trial studying the effects of polyethylene and polylactic acid resins on stock preparation of a recycle mill.

Mike Kohler, Technical Sales Associate, Kohler Coating, Inc.: Mike has worked for Kohler Coating, Inc. since 2009. He has extensive experience on corrugators and the world's only 13-inch corrugating line used for trials and testing in Canton, OH. He specializes in rod-metering systems associated with Kohler's WaterDecks, coaters, and glue units. Mike was recently named co-director of events for TAPPI's Young Professionals Division. He graduated with honors from Walsh University where he played football.

Brianah Morse, Process Engineer, Jacobs:
Brianah has worked within the pulp and paper industry for more than six years. During her career as a process engineer, she has worked on numerous projects mainly focusing on stock preparation within paper mills and the start-up and commissioning of systems.

Brianah has presented a paper at TAPPI PaperCon 2017, published a research article, participated in the Women's Leadership Institute at Furman University, and served in leadership roles both within her company and her community. Brianah previously served as the local president of Jacobs Future, a global company initiative for young professionals.

John Roberts, Assistant Quality Assurance Manager, WestRock: John started working at the Tacoma Mill in 2014 when he was hired as a summer intern. Upon graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Bioresource Science and Engineering, he came back to the Tacoma Mill as a full-time process engineer.

In 2017, after leading a successful implementation of a new quality management system resulting in the Mill's ISO 9001 certification, John was promoted to his current role.

Ricardo Santos, Powerhouse Supervisor, WestRock: Ricardo has worked in the pulp and paper industry for nearly 10 years. In his career, Ricardo has worked at MeadWestvaco as applied technology specialist, and WestRock as senior engineer. Ricardo has published 18 papers in peer review journals. He has served on the TAPPI Journal editorial board and has received the David Wetherhorn Award.

The Young Professionals Division is comprised of graduate students, recent college graduates, and professionals who are beginning their careers in the pulp, paper, packaging, tissue and related forest products industries. The division promotes the future of the industry by recognizing the creativity of this young generation of driven and innovative minds as well as encouraging them to become more personally involved in the industry.

As a YP, there is a lot of opportunity out there," says Division Chair Sudip Neupane, WestRock, in this short video about the group. "Be open, and the future is yours—it's as simple as that."

For a modest investment of $174, receive more than US$ 1000 in benefits in return.
Visit www.tappi.org/join for more details.