Awards & Scholarships

TAPPI Young Professionals of the Year Award

This award recognizes Young Professionals employed in the global forest products, pulp, paper, tissue, packaging, and associated industries for their contributions in the following areas: Leadership, Community Service, Problem Solving Contributions to Scientific or Engineering Projects. Eligible nominees are age 35 or younger, with no more than 10 years of industry experience, and been a TAPPI member for a minimum of one year.

Originally named “TAPPI’s Top 20 Under 30” award, this award was initiated in 2015 to recognize 20 aspiring, young leaders in the paper, packaging, tissue and related industries. The award was amended by the Young Professionals Division in 2017 to recognize a smaller group of young professionals, in an effort to raise the level of prestige of the award, expand the demographics of winners to be more inclusive of all younger professionals, and provide more exposure for each awardee. The award was elevated to Association level status starting with the 2018 class.

Nominations are due by August 1 of each year for the award to be presented the following calendar year.   

Nominate an outstanding young professional. 

TAPPI 2019 Young Professionals of the Year Award Winners

Michael J. Subilia, II

Process Engineer, Domtar

Michael Subilia II is the Continuous Improvement Lead & Process Engineer at Domtar’s Port Huron Facility.  Michael received a BSc (Chemical Engineering) in 2010 from the University of Maine.  After graduation, he joined SAPPI Fine Paper as a Process Engineer, where he assisted in the development of new paper grades as well as leading variable cost reduction projects, before moving to a Maintenance Planning role.  In 2013, Michael joined Domtar Paper in Johnsonburg PA and spent two years on rotation gaining supervisory experience in papermaking, pulp production, and chemical recovery & utilities.  Upon assuming the role of Pulp & Power Process Engineer, Michael facilitated the variable cost reduction Continuous Improvement project in the Fiberline, for which he received his Six Sigma Black belt.  His current role in Port Huron focuses on facilitating projects and training others in the use of LEAN and Six Sigma tools. Michael has been a Member of TAPPI since 2010.  

David Mead

Process Engineer, Packaging Corporation of America

David has been with PCA for almost 6 years, where he currently serves as Production Manager at the Fairfield, OH sheet plant.  David began his career with PCA at their paper mill in Counce, TN, first serving as a Process Engineer on the paper machines.  He also held the position of Paper Mill Shift Foreman.  After 3 years in Counce, TN, he took a position in Manufacturing Services as an Area Production Superintendent.  In this development role David completed training in all areas of box plant operations including design, corrugator, fabricating, planning, shipping, customer service, and accounting.  During this time David completed PCA’s Leadership Development Program after which he was assigned to serve in his current position.David 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 in their Technical Center in Mundelein, IL and their paper mill in Counce, TN.   

Victor E. Padilla

Scientist, FPInnovations

Victor Padilla is the manager of the Corrosion and Thermochemical group in FPInnovations. With 10 years of corrosion and engineering experience, he has been a member of FPInnovations since early 2015. He completed his Ph.D. in the Materials Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia, with a focus on corrosion science. The focus of his research at FPInnovations spans from high-temperature corrosion to equipment inspection and reliability. In recent years his research work has been 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. As a manager, he focuses on supporting the research staff to implement new technologies and accelerate the transformation of the industry. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time outside. He makes a point of hiking up a mountain wherever he travels somewhere. He is an amateur runner, photography enthusiast, and camping fan.

Taylor Bryant

Operations and Maintenance Coordinator Power & Recovery, WestRock

Taylor Bryant is the Operations Maintenance Coordinator for the WestRock - Tacoma Mill. Taylor started his career in 2015 as an intern, was hired full time as a reliability engineer in 2016, and was promoted in 2018 to his current role. Taylor is a Mechanical Engineer from Washington State University (Go Cougs!). Taylor has focused the majority of his time at the mill working with the Power & Recovery dept. He has had the opportunity to manage a Turbine Major rebuild, complete projects to extend the Turbine Major outage cycle, and day-to-day prioritize maintenance projects to meet dept. goals and metrics. He also participates in WestRock Power & Recovery Audits allowing him to visit other mills to learn and audit their processes. Outside of work, Taylor enjoys the outdoors by riding his Harley, hiking, fishing, and snowboarding.

Rachael Simmons

Product Supply Engineer, Procter & Gamble

Rachael Simmons is an Engineering Manager at Procter & Gamble in Cape Girardeau, MO, at their Family Care Plant. She earned both her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in Chemical Engineering from Miami University of Ohio, with undergraduate concentrations in Biochemical and Paper Science. Rachael is also a graduate of P&G’s Family Care University, a curriculum built upon technical and leadership skills required to be successful in the paper sector network. While at P&G, she has lead multi-disciplined groups toward process reliability improvements through work process improvements as well as using loss elimination tools.  She is a strong advocate of women in STEM careers by being on the lead team of the Paper Sector Women’s Network.  Rachael was an active member in the student chapter of TAPPI while she was at Miami University where she earned the Bob and Barbara Williams Scholarship in 2011-2013.  This award is given to those who demonstrate superior leadership and creativity skills as well as high academic achievements.  She looks forward to continuing to build relationships through TAPPI as a Young Professional.

John A. Sly

Production Superintendent, Sonoco

John Sly is the Production Superintendent for Sonoco in Sumner, WA. Previously he functioned as Process Engineer for Caraustar, followed by a Shift Supervisor and then as a Brown Stock Washing/Bleaching Superintendent with WestRock. John is a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.S. in Bioresource Science and Engineering and a minor in Environmental Science and Resource Management.  Throughout his career he has focused on improving safety in his areas of responsibility while also improving process and business performance through various management and Lean Six Sigma methodologies. John has aspirations of becoming a mill manager and then continuing his career into executive level leadership within the Pulp and Paper Industry.

TAPPI 2018 Young Professionals of the Year Award Winners

Emerging leaders represent WestRock, Domtar, MICA Corporation, Kohler Coating, Inc., and  Jacobs Engineering

TAPPI is pleased to announce the selections for this year’s Young Professionals of the Year awards.  The contest 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.

The seven winners of the Young Professionals of the Year awards for 2018 are:

  • Lindsey Clifton, Domtar
  • Jaclyn Epstein, MICA Corporation
  • Patrick Hartnett, WestRock
  • Mike Kohler, Kohler Coating, Inc.
  • Brianah Morse, Jacobs Engineering
  • John Roberts, WestRock
  • Ricardo Santos, WestRock

The award recognizes Young Professionals in the industry who have made significant contributions in these areas:

  • Leadership
  • Community Service
  • Problem Solving Contributions to Scientific or Engineering Projects

In addition to being recognized in TAPPI’s various publications and online, the winners are invited to attend their division-specific TAPPI conference during 2018 to receive their award and are granted one full year of TAPPI membership.

TAPPI congratulates the winners and thanks all of the Young Professionals who submitted nomination forms. 


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.

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 more than 100 years. 



TAPPI offers several different scholarships for students in the pulp, paper and related industries.

Several Technical Divisions offer scholarships totaling an amount of over $20,000. In addition, we also offer the William L. Cullison Scholarship, an annual scholarship in the amount of $4000.


The William L. Cullison Scholarship

The William L. Cullison Scholarship was named in honor of our 5th Executive Director, who was an extraordinary industry leader. This scholarship provides support for students entering their third year of college to pursue an academic path related to a career in the pulp, paper, corrugated and converting industries. Application deadline is May 1.

Learn more about the William L. Cullison Scholarship


Technical Division Scholarships

Our Technical Division Scholarships offer multiple opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students, and we encourage students to apply for all scholarships they might qualify for.

For example, our Engineering Division provides two $2000 scholarships each year for undergraduate students interested in pursuing an engineering or science degree within the pulp and paper industry, while our Coating and Graphic Arts Division provides up to four $1000 scholarships for students majoring in related disciplines.

In all, there are 15 scholarships offered on behalf of 8 of our Technical Divisions, totaling over $20,000.

Learn more about all of our Technical Division scholarships and download the application package. (Link:


Additional Scholarships

In addition to these scholarships, there is also support for students in the packaging industry, through the Packaging Association:

FTA Scholarship in Flexographic Printing Processes

The AICC J. Richard Troll Memorial Scholarship

The IoPP Packaging Educational Scholarship Fund


For more information about our scholarships, please contact us by email at [email protected], or by phone at 1-770-209-7276.