What is your current role? Company?

I’m currently working as Technical Sales and Service Representative at WestRock Company, based in Texas.

What are your job responsibilities?

Providing onsite and remote customer services including start-ups, troubleshooting, training, and account maintenance visits. I am responsible for coordinating the resolution of customer issues and complaints, assisting customers in troubleshooting any equipment or material problems, and lead or support new product developments activities/opportunities internally and with the customer.

What led you to where you are now? Details about previous jobs, school, other life journey.

My story begins in Nepal, where I was born. It is a matter of pride to achieve a higher education degree, especially in a field like Engineering, from countries like the United States. So, when I decided to go for my degree in Chemical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University, it was a big deal. I chose to pursue Chemical Engineering because I enjoy problem solving and troubleshooting. In a way, I became James Bond. I got my first internship at a paper company. Through this internship, I began to understand how dynamic the industry is, and I decided to pursue a career in this industry.

What is your proudest accomplishment to date?

Two proudest moments come to mind. The first is when I received my undergraduate degree from Louisiana Tech. I knew how much it meant to my parents and my younger brother, and seeing them so happy made me very proud. The second is when I was awarded TAPPI’s Young Professionals Top 20 Under 30 Award in 2015. It felt incredible to be one of the recipients and it became a big deal back home in Nepal, making the national news (and I had no clue). My parents even flew in to the US to be there when I accepted the award. I had to warn them it was not an Oscar and I wouldn’t be giving a speech or anything.

What is it like being a young professional in this field?

It’s like being in a movie, but as a child actor. You learn each step of the way. I’ve tried to make the best and the most of being a young professional in the field by networking and learning from the people around me.

Who is your mentor? What’s a lesson they’ve taught you that you’d want to pass on to others?

My parents taught me that honesty, integrity, and hard work are the keys to success. They also taught me to earn respect when you are alive, and earn people to go to your funeral when you die. At work, my mentor has helped show me what it means to be part of a team. You are successful because your team is successful.

What are your career aspirations?

In the near term, I’d like to be more technically sound at what I’m doing now. I aspire to be a great Technical Sales and Service Representative and be someone people can look up to. In the longer term, I have great interest in strategic and business aspects of the industry. I’m thinking about ways to learn, share, and grow my network.

What motivates you at work?

My work is very dynamic, with new projects and challenges, which is very motivating for me. I would say that people are the biggest motivator for me at work because I never feel alone tackling the problem in front of me.

If you could give advice to other young professionals in our industry, what would it be?

Don’t be shy - express your ideas and yourself. At the same time, be open to other people’s ideas. Network with other YPs. Find a mentor. Join groups like TAPPI Young Professionals (YP) Division where you can meet other people in the same boat as you. At the end of the day, all that matters are things you did, efforts you led, punches you took - so show initiative, be humble, and find ways to enjoy what you do.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I like spending time with my wife, cooking her few dishes I know. I like playing music with my brother. I enjoy writing songs and give them a life. I like getting together with friends, playing soccer, watching sports and movies, and I love traveling.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I am very proud to be part of the TAPPI YP Division. It has given me lots of opportunities to network and learn about different technical aspects of the industry. I have made great friends. We have a great team working toward a common goal of making the industry better and using the YP’s platform to get involved, network and be successful.