2019 TAPPI/PIMA Awards: Saluting Our Industry Leaders

The pulp, paper, and packaging industries are experiencing a time of pivotal growth, challenge, and opportunity. Strong, innovative leadership will be the key to meeting today’s challenges and to inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.

Each year, Paper360° showcases members of our industry who lead by example—in their service to others, their exemplary management, or their remarkable contributions to helping our industry grow. On the following pages, you’ll meet the winners of the TAPPI/PIMA national-level awards—the association’s highest honors—as well as those receiving awards from several TAPPI Divisions. Many of these awards were presented at the Awards Breakfast during this year’s PaperCon in Indianapolis, IN. (Other notable Division awards are presented at events and conferences throughout the year.)

Recognizing scientific achievement, outstanding leadership, professional excellence, and service to our industry and communities, these awards do more than honor the achievements of those receiving them—they remind us of the qualities valued by TAPPI members.

For many TAPPI Awards, nominations are open until August 1. Several national-level awards include generous honorariums funded by private donation. Visit www.tappi.org and choose the “Get Involved” tab for more information on TAPPI Awards & Honors.

For Scientific Achievement:
Gunnar Nicholson
Gold Medal Award
Dr. Shih-Chin Chen’s revolutionary work in the field of paper machine control has had far-reaching and lasting effects on the ability of papermakers to reduce variability, control costs, and enhance quality. For these outstanding technical contributions to the industry, Dr. Chen is this year’s recipient of the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal, the highest honor TAPPI can bestow upon an individual.

Chen is a corporate executive engineer at ABB and has been with AccuRay, CE, and ABB for more than 34 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cheng-Kung University, master’s degree in Power Mechanical Engineering from Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan, and Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. In the 1990s, Chen led a group of engineers to develop 1190 QCS control solutions for paper machines and later continued developing advanced control applications in ABB’s current 800xA QCS systems. Both 1190 and 800xA QCS have been widely used throughout the world.

His development work includes scanning measurement processing; MD, CD, and color controls; scanners, sensors, and process diagnostics; and control performance optimization. He holds more than a dozen patents and has received two Jasper Mardon Memorial Awards and three Process Control Division Best Paper awards.

“Dr. Chen has pioneered numerous efforts to improve control of paper machines; these contributions are well-documented in his many patents and published papers,” writes Kerry D. Figiel, International Paper.

Chen has been a member of TAPPI since 1988, and has served in volunteer roles within the association. In 2011, he was named a TAPPI Fellow. He has been instrumental in the success of TAPPI’s Process Control Division, and served as chair from 2010-2012. Previously, Chen taught Process Control for Chemical Engineering at Ohio State University as an adjunct professor. He is also a lifetime member of the IEEE Control and Signal Processing Societies.

Adds Figiel, “There is not a world-class paper machine built today that would even consider not using the methods developed by Dr. Chen.”

For Service Leadership:
Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award
“Engagement” and “leadership” are two words that come to mind when describing Kerry Figiel’s contributions to TAPPI. Figiel served as the Process Control Division’s first chairman and has continued to contribute in valuable ways to ensure the division’s growth.

Figiel has worked for International Paper for the past 38 years and is currently an Engineering Fellow specializing in process control, quality control systems, and web inspection systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the US Military Academy, an MSBA from Boston University, an MS in Industrial Engineering from Louisiana Tech University, and is a Professional Engineer.

A TAPPI Fellow since 2015, Figiel joined TAPPI in 1987. In addition to serving as division chair from 2007-2010, he received the Process Control Division Leadership and Service Award in 2012. He has served as Division Awards chairman, Technical Program chair, and the Conference chairman for PaperCon 2013. He was a co-author for the Divisions Handbook, “Paper Machine Quality Control System Vol. I, Measurement Systems and Product Variability.” He has also been active in encouraging and recruiting young professionals for TAPPI involvement.

“Through meaningful engagement in TAPPI, its various divisions (Paper & Board, Process Control), the Ohio Local Section, and TAPPI events (especially PaperCon), Kerry has worked diligently to accomplish the goals of the association,” writes TAPPI Fellow John Neun. “He has a true spirit of volunteerism.”

For Business Leadership:
TAPPI/PIMA Executive of the Year
This prestigious honor is presented to senior-level executives in the pulp, paper, or converting industries for excellence in management and outstanding contributions to the industry as a whole. During his decade as CEO of Domtar, John Williams has demonstrated all of these qualities by continually evaluating long-term strategy while achieving strong short-term results, as well as through his commitment to people as the most valuable asset for Domtar and our industry.

Williams has more than 30 years of experience in both consumer products and packaging. He began his career in consumer product sales in 1976, gaining insight into key market dynamics in the UK and the US. Prior to joining Domtar, he was president of SCA Packaging Europe. Williams served as past chair of the Paper and Packaging Board (the Paper Check-off); and past board chair for the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). In 2010, he was named North American CEO of the Year by Fastmarkets RISI as well as Global CEO of the Year by PPI. In addition to roles on the boards of several corporations, he serves on the boards of the British-American Business Council of North Carolina, which promotes trade and investment between the state and the United Kingdom; and the nonprofit Camp Blue Skies Foundation, which is dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities.

As a leader, Williams is always open to new ideas, writes Domtar’s Steve Smith. “He has helped foster a culture and workforce that brings together people with a broad range of experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. John believes strongly that an inclusive culture, with employees that are engaged and empowered, leads to greater job satisfaction and makes Domtar a better company.”

Domtar’s EarthChoice Ambassador Program was developed largely due to Williams’ desire to invest in the communities where Domtar operates. The program engages employees across North America through volunteerism and giving back to the community.
For Local Section Service:

Paul Magnabosco Outstanding Local Section Member Award
Although his sales career has taken Richard (Dick) Olsen across the country during the past 30 years, Chicago must be “his kind of town”—Olsen’s dedication to the Chicago TAPPI Local Section has had a lasting impact on the group’s success.

After serving as a lieutenant in the US Army with the Corps of Engineers from 1966 to 1967, Olsen began a career in the corrugated industry by joining Continental Can Company in 1970, first as a trainee, then a corrugator supervisor, and then a plant superintendent. In 1987 he joined Marquip and began his career selling corrugated machinery. For the last 17 years, Olsen has enjoyed selling well over 100 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ EVOL Flexo Folder Gluers across the US.

A member of TAPPI since 1973, Olsen served as the treasurer and then chairman of the Chicago TAPPI Local Section from 1985-1990 and has been on the Chicago section board ever since. He was National TAPPI Corrugated Local Section Advisory Committee chair for 1993-94.

“Dick’s involvement in and promotion of the Chicago Local Section has raised awareness in the geographic area for people in the industry to know what TAPPI is; he has also fostered a good working relationship with the AICC. Several other corrugated-focused local sections have not survived, but Chicago TAPPI is thriving due in large part to Dick’s dedication and involvement,” writes Chicago TAPPI member John Semenske, BW Papersystems.

Olsen’s efforts toward recruiting young people are particularly noteworthy, Semenske adds. “Dick continually promotes TAPPI as the technical resource for the industry. He is a true TAPPI ambassador, helping increase membership and letting people know what involvement in TAPPI and particularly the Chicago Local Section has meant to him and his career.”

TAPPI Fellows: Our Best and Brightest
There is no more complete “who’s who” of industry leaders than the list of TAPPI Fellows. The TAPPI Fellows program recognizes meritorious service to the association and the industry. The first class of TAPPI Fellows was selected in 1968, and for more than 50 years our Fellows have continued to enrich the industry with their contributions. Only a small percentage of TAPPI members ever achieve this distinction.

Considerations for selection include longstanding TAPPI membership, exemplary volunteer leadership, and outstanding contributions to the industry’s knowledge base. The TAPPI Fellow designation is also conferred upon recipients of the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award and those who have served on TAPPI’s Board of Directors upon completion of their term. “These men and women have contributed so much throughout their careers, providing countless volunteer hours to our association,” says TAPPI President Larry Montague. “TAPPI Fellows truly represent our best and brightest, and their service forms the foundation of TAPPI.”

TAPPI Fellows represent every area of the industry and hail from all over the world, creating a global fellowship of men and women whose professionalism and high personal standards serve as inspiration and example. We welcome the seven new Fellows who will join this elite group in 2019.

Umesh P. Agarwal
USDA FS Forest Products Laboratory
TAPPI Member since 1985
Paula M. Hajakian
United States Gypsum Inc.
TAPPI Member since 1990
Pekka Kormano
International Paper
TAPPI Member since 1993
A. Dale Midyette
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
TAPPI Member since 1985
Mark A. Sorenson
TAPPI Member since 1980
Martti Toivakka
Abo Akademi University
TAPPI Member since 1999

From the TAPPI Board
of Directors:
James R. Haeffele
TAPPI Member since 1999

For Service and Emerging Leadership:
Young Professionals of the Year Award
This award recognizes aspiring young leaders in the paper, packaging, tissue, and related industries. Eligible nominees can be up to age 35 with no more than 10 years of industry experience. For 2019, TAPPI has chosen six recipients based on their outstanding leadership, community service, and problem-solving contributions to scientific or engineering projects.

Currently operations maintenance coordinator at WestRock’s Tacoma mill, Taylor Bryant started his career in 2015 as an intern, was hired full time as a reliability engineer in 2016, and was promoted to his current role in 2018. He is a mechanical engineer from Washington State University (Go Cougs!) Bryant focuses most of his time working with the Power & Recovery department; he has managed a Turbine Major rebuild, completed projects to extend the Turbine Major outage cycle, and prioritizes maintenance projects to meet department goals and metrics. He also participates in WestRock Power & Recovery Audits, visiting other mills to learn about and audit their processes.

Mead serves as production manager at PCA’s Fairfield, OH, sheet plant. He began his career at PCA’s paper mill in Counce, TN, first serving as a process engineer on the paper machines, and has worked up through a variety of positions. He also completed PCA’s Leadership Development Program. Mead holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Paper Science from Miami University. While at Miami, he completed co-ops for PCA at the Technical Center in Mundelein, IL, and the paper mill in Counce.

With 10 years of corrosion and engineering experience, Padilla has been a member of FPInnovations since early 2015, and is currently manager of the Corrosion and Thermochemical group. He completed his Ph.D. in the Materials Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia with a focus on corrosion science. In recent years his research work has focused on testing candidate materials for the next generation of biomass conversion technologies for bio-refineries, and developing and installing corrosion monitoring devices to provide a proactive, less costly solution to corrosion management. He makes a point of hiking up a mountain wherever he travels and is an amateur runner, photography enthusiast, and camping fan.

Rachael Simmons is an engineering manager at Procter & Gamble’s Family Care plant in Cape Girardeau, MO. She earned both her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Miami University of Ohio, with undergraduate concentrations in Biochemical and Paper Science. While at P&G, she has led multi-disciplined groups toward process reliability improvements through work process improvements as well as using loss elimination tools. Simmons is a strong advocate of women in STEM careers and serves on the lead team of the Paper Sector Women’s Network. She was an active member of the Miami U TAPPI student chapter.

John Sly is production superintendent for Sonoco in Sumner, WA. Previously he was process engineer for Caraustar, followed by a role as shift supervisor and then as brownstock washing/bleaching superintendent with WestRock. Sly graduated from University of Washington with a B.S. in Bioresource Science and Engineering and a minor in Environmental Science and Resource Management. Throughout his career, Sly has focused on improving safety in his areas of responsibility while improving process and business performance through various management and Lean Six Sigma methodologies. He hopes to become a mill manager and continue his career into executive leadership in the pulp and paper industry.

A TAPPI member since graduating from University of Maine in 2010, Michael Subilia II is the continuous improvement lead and process engineer at Domtar’s Port Huron, MI, facility. After graduation, Subilia joined SAPPI Fine Paper as a process engineer, where he assisted in the development of new paper grades and led variable cost reduction projects. Subilia joined Domtar Paper in 2013 and spent two years on rotation gaining supervisory experience in papermaking, pulp production, and chemical recovery and utilities at the Johnsonburg, PA, facility. As pulp and power process engineer, Subilia facilitated the variable cost reduction Continuous Improvement project in the fiberline, for which he received his Six Sigma Black belt.

PIMA Management Division:

Brookshire Moore Superintendent of the Year
As the superintendent for the A1 fluff pulp machine at Domtar’s mill in Ashdown, AR, Brown is known as an active, hands-on leader. In 1997 she graduated from Miami University with a B.S. in Pulp and Paper Engineering and has worked in the pulp and paper industry for 22 years, since joining the Ashdown team as an entry-level engineer. Brown has worked across all four paper machines in a variety of roles, has served as the superintendent on two PMs and the fluff pulp machine, and was part of the mill’s A64 Fine Paper Machine/A1 Fluff Conversion Project. Says her colleague Jeff Levensailor, “Kerry is exactly what this award is looking for: a leader who supports and mentors others and has built a strong team on one of Domtar’s newest machines.”

IT Person of the Year
Rick Smith is a chemical engineer with 35 years of paper industry experience. His career has centered on process control, process data, and mill information systems. His focus has long been to get data to decision makers to improve product quality and company profitability. Smith has worked with process data systems since 1985 and has spent a lot of time educating new hires on data retrieval methods to solve day-to-day problems. His techniques and tools are used hundreds of times each day. “Over the years, Rick Smith has impressed me with his application of technology and data analytics,” writes IP colleague Mariana Sandin. “He is a leader in the field not afraid to share his findings and methods for solving the inherent challenges of technology.”

Ray H. Cross Community Service Award
Greg Linscott is manager of Domtar’s Johnsonburg, PA, paper mill. He began his career in 1991 as a project engineer and worked at several different facilities before joining the Johnsonburg Mill in 2017. Throughout his career, Linscott and his teams have been dedicated to serving local communities. In 2017 and 2018, he and a group of employees partnered with the Johnsonburg Community Center to upgrade the 99-year-old facility with a world-class fitness center, breathing new life into the iconic building and putting it on a financially sustainable path by tripling membership. In 2018, the Johnsonburg Mill partnered with Johnsonburg Area High School to create the Domtar Learning Lounge. After its completion, Domtar donated 500 books for the lounge, some of which are printed on paper produced by employees at the Johnsonburg Mill.

PIMA Student of the Year
A senior at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point, Katie Ebelt studies Paper Science & Engineering and Chemical Engineering. After graduation, she will join Kimberly-Clark as a process engineer in Kimberly-Clark Research & Engineering. She also served as a student lab technician at Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at UWSP. “Katie is very skilled at understanding and following TAPPI Test Methods,” writes Lindsey Hoffman, WIST. “She stood out as a model student, exhibiting leadership, skills, and professionalism.”
Ebelt enjoys helping others by tutoring physics and calculus and as a lab assistant for the freshman paper science course. Ebelt has also been involved with the Society of Women Engineers and with Student TAPPI.

Coating and Graphic Arts Division:

Division Technical Award and the Charles W. Englehard Prize
One of the world’s leading experts in starch chemistry and applications, Glittenberg was deeply involved in pioneering work for surface sizing with the new film transfer size press, publishing the first paper on this topic in 1988. He joined TAPPI in 1991 and the C&GA Program Committee in 2003, and was session chair for two Coating Conferences. Over 20 years Glittenberg has presented almost 90 papers at conferences around the world, has written 71 publications, and has applied for six patents.

Division Leadership and Service Award & DuPont Soy
Polymers Prize
Hiscock is a senior manager in the business development group of CP Kelco, a J.M. Huber company. He has spent his career around biopolymers, especially cellulose and soy protein. A graduate in PS&E from Miami University, Hiscock had previous career stops at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus and DuPont Soy Polymers in Saint Louis. He has been a TAPPI member since 1980 and active in the C&GA Division since the early 1990s, serving in many leadership roles. He has authored/co-authored many papers, book chapters, and conference presentations and holds nine patents.

Coating and Graphics Arts Division and WestRock Outstanding Educator Award
Lyons has more than 35 years of experience in fluid mechanics, paper coating, paper finishing, and mineral pigments for paper coating, paper filling, and other specialty applications. His work experience includes five years each with Westvaco and Repap Technologies, and he recently retired from Imerys after 25 years. A member of TAPPI since 1985, he just finished a term on the TAPPI Board of Directors. Lyons has chaired several TAPPI committees and conferences, has led many TAPPI courses on coating and finishing, and has regularly published and presented at conferences and in trade journals.

Process and Product Quality Division:

Division Leadership and
Service Award
Dennis Crawshaw is manager analytical sciences at IP’s corporate technology center in Loveland, OH, and graduated from Miami University with a M.S. in Paper Science & Engineering and a B.A. in Chemistry. A TAPPI member since joining IP in 1982, Crawshaw is a member of the P&PQ Division Council, Quality and Standards Management Committee, and Standards Advisory Review Group. He has served on P&PQ committees for many years. He is president emeritus of the PS&E Foundation at Miami U.

Process Control Division:

Division Technical Award
A process control consultant with ABB, Murphy has held various roles at ABB for more than 30 years and is now team leader for ABB’s optimization services group. He is an expert in QCS paper machine applications with a focus on advanced control features. Over the past 15 years, Murphy has been actively training both customers and ABB employees on configuration and tuning of QCS control applications. He has also been a leader in developing and delivering training courses for performance diagnostics and optimization of both PID and QCS control features. A TAPPI member since 2000, Murphy has authored/co-authored more than 15 papers and holds four patents.

Women in Industry Division:

Woman of the Year Award
Currently an owner and director, Kathy Buckman Gibson has served the pulp and paper industry for more than 25 years in roles at Buckman including COO, general counsel, and chairman of the board. In 2018, she established KBG Technologies, LLC as a joint venture between herself and Buckman, and serves as its CEO and president. KBG Technologies is a certified woman-owned business providing chemistries and smart technologies to the pulp and paper industry and the water treatment market.

Buckman Gibson is a TAPPI Fellow and received the Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award in 2007. She has served as a trustee of the TAPPI Foundation, and is a past board member of TAPPI, PIMA, and the Center for Paper Business Industry Studies (CPBIS). She also served on the board of the Pulp and Paper Foundation of North Carolina State University.