PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, will open nominations for its sixth annual On the Rise Awards on April 28, 2023. Developed by PMMI’s Emerging Leaders Committee, the awards will recognize 10 young professionals who have demonstrated leadership potential in packaging and processing. Check back soon to nominate a rising star at your company!
Only one employee can win per member company. Prior winners are not eligible.
Senior Product Manager
Alison Zitzke’s most recent achievement has been spearheading the development and launch of ORBIS’ flagship 40x48 pallet, the Odyssey, bringing ORBIS’ pallet portfolio into new manufacturing technologies, applications, and markets within the reusable packaging space. Alison is no stranger to breaking barriers as she continues to challenge the status quo in the industry to support the continued conversion from wood pallets prevalent in the marketplace to a sustainable, reusable plastic pallet solution. Alison is passionate about promoting the circular economy and experimenting with incorporating post-consumer and post-industrial recycled materials back into manufacturing of new products.
Business Development Manager
Morrison Container Handling Solutions
Allison Wagner grew the Morrison Communications Manager role into a full-fledged marketing department in just six months. Aligning with sales, Allison helped Morrison achieve over 20% year-over-year growth for three consecutive years. She cultivated Morrison’s brand’s story, “Innovative Container Handling, Expert Design, and Support Built-In,” bringing the customer’s needs front and center. This transcended through a completely new 2,000-square-foot trade show booth, which gave Morrison record-breaking qualified leads for PACK EXPO Las Vegas in 2019 and beyond. When COVID-19 hit, Allison took it upon herself to transform the company digitally by overhauling the SEO and social media. This led to an average improvement of website traffic over 120% per website product page and lead generation form fills going up 200% annually.
Service Project Manager
Caitlin Eargood helped transform the Project Management role into a more efficient, structured process to better support the Field Service team and improve the customer experience while simultaneously maintaining the required data for KPIs. Caitlin thoroughly tested the installation performance & acceptance (IPAC) sign off criteria, along with new tools for enhanced visibility, accountability, and overall customer experience. She was instrumental in the development of new software tools to professionalize and harmonize the XR process. On top of being a new mother, Caitlin is currently enrolled in college to obtain her master's degree having just completed PMP certification in March 2022.
Delkor Systems, Inc.
Eric Andersen is a pace-setting, performance-driven team player. He is a fearless change agent who is unafraid to disrupt the status quo and continuously exceeds expectations. Eric is a leader of Delkor’s brand strategy and has focused on implementing a branding campaign that ensures each interaction with Delkor provides a consistent experience. Eric’s marketing leadership has delivered some of the most successful sales years in recent company history. He partnered with executive leadership, sales, and engineering teams to create and execute significant sales strategies to help grow and diversify the customer base. Eric has continued his education by taking an assortment of advanced classes in videography, which has ushered in a new era for Delkor and significantly advances the company’s marketing capabilities.
Nancy Garza – Castaneda
Nancy Garza – Castaneda performs the accounting and procurement functions for Formers International. She is unbelievably resourceful and has streamlined the process for securing consumable gases used in Formers International’s manufacturing process. Nancy established providers of telemetry services that have dropped changeover times by 30% and have reduced costs by 72%, which resulted in over $100k in savings annually. Additionally, she played a huge role in the implementation of ISO 9001:2015 in late 2021. She obtained an internal auditor certification and was a primary member of the team that increased on-time delivery by 63% over a span of 12 months. Nancy is currently pursuing a business degree and enjoyed networking at the PMMI Young Professionals Conference in 2022.
Controls Engineering Manager
ID Technology / ProMach, Inc.
Ravi Patel was promoted to Controls Engineering Manager in 2021 based on his strong technical and leadership skills. His extraordinary efforts and ingenuity have enabled ID Technology / ProMach, Inc. to keep up with customer demands, including complex overseas installations. Ravi’s leadership and communication abilities also help attract, retain, and develop new engineers and technicians. He has also introduced improved documentation processes and procedures, which have reduced six hours of work for each project. Ravi is currently working toward his Certified Automation Professional (CAP) certification through the International Society of Automation and is also a Six Sigma White Belt.
Mechanical Design Engineer
Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery
Samantha Hoover’s initiatives within the applications team have led to advancements in Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery’s processes and designs for even the most complex product properties. This work has included in-depth interviews with known product specialists and documentation of findings, expansion of product testing, and data utilization and evaluation. The trait that has impressed the team the most about Samantha has been her ability to get things done quickly, efficiently, and with a high-level of quality assurance. Samantha is also passionate about education and has led Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery’s “Pack Challenge” initiative. To further expand her knowledge, continually improve her education, and share that information with others she maintains multiple positions with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Content Marketing Senior Specialist
Barry-Wehmiller Packaging Systems
Taz Lombardo developed the “Packed with Expertise” blog, which elevates Barry-Wehmiller Packaging Systems team members’ voices around the world on topics ranging from packaging sustainability to calculating total cost of ownership (TCO). By taking a collaborative, listen-first approach, Taz utilizes his time to fully understand these topics before helping the subject matter experts (SME) write about them. Due to the engaging and informative nature of the blog, many of these stories have also been featured in trade publications. Taz also led a project to develop the new BW Packaging Systems website, which helps customers connect with the five divisions faster by allowing them to browse a portfolio of solutions by market, equipment, or packaging type. Taz displays a true commitment to personal and professional development by taking advantage of various conferences, workshops, and lectures throughout the year.
Director of Engineering
Tom Lex is a process improvement wizard and has completely revamped the engineering department at TechniBlend into a finely tuned, process-oriented, and streamlined team. He has opened communications among all engineers and implemented accountability and procedural standards, which has the team delivering on time with error-free results. Tom managed a value-stream-mapping project called "quote to cash" which led to TechniBlend’s productivity and manufacturing efficiency reaching new levels. He is currently on a career track to become the COO and is a steadfast representative of the company. To further his corporate development, Tom has been invited to attend classes and speak at local tech colleges.
Director of Engineering
William Reese’s attention to detail and excellent communication skills launched him into a sales position where he managed Garvey’s central territory. After several successful years in sales, management recognized that his experience would make him the perfect person to manage the proposals department, where he would maximize communication and teamwork between management, engineering, sales, and production. In his management role, William reduced the time to prepare detailed proposals by 75% and increased overall pricing accuracy. He also worked with the marketing group to promote the latest innovations and design advertisements, as well as trade show displays. William’s hard work and dedication have earned him a seat on Garvey’s steering committee, where he plays a key role in Garvey’s major decisions and long-term strategic planning.
Senior Marketing Specialist
Bringing leads and the sales team together, Stacie Eberly focuses on finding, reviewing, and delivering valid warm leads to Ossid’s sales team. This allows the sales team to engage in a more targeted and personal way with prospective customers. Since Stacie’s arrival she has been one of the go-to people when colleagues need to understand new markets, or how a market is changing. She works effectively to create targeted marketing pieces to her customers, providing them with the knowledge they need to understand Ossid's products. Recently, she began managing Ossid’s tradeshows. Stacie was recently accepted into the Clemson MBA program, where she will gain greater understanding of customer marketing behaviors and how to better strategize what she learns into executable plans for Ossid and the other brands in ProMach Flexibles & Trays business line.
Bevco Sales International
Kevin Fortier co-manages Bevco’s engineering department and is heavily relied upon by the engineering team for direction and support. As a Production Engineer, Kevin creates a variety of documents for production purposes, including shop drawings, BOMs, Scopes of Work, purchase requisitions, CNC programs, fiber laser programs, etc. – all while coordinating with customers, integrators, and other OEMs to design and integrate packaging line layouts. He also trained to become Bevco’s resident expert on their new laser machine, allowing Bevco to make a $500,000 investment in the machine. Kevin is beginning the process to become registered as a Professional Engineer with Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia.
BluePrint Automation, Inc.
Alexandra Francis created the Revenue Pipeline for BPA which allows the company visibility on sales opportunities for their service, spare parts and aftermarket business monthly. By taking the lead on aftermarket project management, she grew the upgrade sales in VA by $600,000 and in CO by $100,000 for the first half of 2021. She has been able to achieve this by continuously quoting, entering orders, driving shipments on time and coordinating between departments to get orders out the door.
In addition, Alexandra grew spare part sales in VA by $300,000 and in CO by $500,000 for the first half of 2021 by taking lead or spare parts orders and driving accountability to get them out on time. Alexandra finished her bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from ECPI in 2021 with a 4.0 GPA all while working 50-60 hours per week.
Xavier Gonzalez has demonstrated leadership skills at a very young age. As the youngest member of Formers International’s management team, he wrote a 200+ page quality manual that was “made from scratch” to move the company in a direction to prepare for ISO 9001 compliance and approval. In addition to being Quality Manager, Xavier possesses fantastic design and engineering skills. He is responsible for the design of former storage racks which supplement Formers International’s core business. His new design utilizes a modular removable and adjustable shelf that can adapt to multiple rack configurations and former types. The success of this design has resulted in a staggering 1,500% increase in former rack sales in 18 months.
Xavier has also been the primary advocate for safety trainings through the company’s risk assessment analysis by consistently completing safety trainings through ThinkHR, often scoring highest on these trainings.
Manufacturing Operations Coordinator
Kolinahr Systems, Inc.
Shannon Leiter wears multiple hats within the organization and is fearless when it comes to taking on any project. Shannon crosses all boundaries from marketing and website development to operations and building equipment. She takes on the responsibility to order parts and make out the equipment build and delivery schedules as well as maintain valuable vendor relations. From a marketing perspective, she taught herself how to redesign the website, make videos and edit them, and create brochures for equipment. Shannon's dedication and service is what helps drive Kolinahr Systems to be successful.
Aftermarket Sales and Service Manager
Morrison Container Handling Solutions
Seth Licke accepted the challenge of Project Manager and was instrumental in Morrison Container Handling Solution’s Thermo Fisher COVID-19 Test Kit Project success. Thermo Fisher initially requested 16 lines to increase their production of COVID-19 test kits. This request was quickly followed by another 15 lines bringing the total to 31. Seth, along with the team, worked around the clock to begin delivering the first 16 requested lines within three months!
Due to Seth’s determination, talent and hard work, Morrison Container Handling Solutions measured a significant and major increase in the inside sales revenue. Within the first year of Seth taking on this newly created position of Inside Sales Manager, there was a 663% increase in sales from the previous year.
In his short tenure at Polypack, Aum Patel is already training new engineers on Polypack's design philosophy. Aum's ability to learn quickly does not only benefit him, but others who he often supervises.
While designing projects for existing customers, Aum is also involved in developing new R&D projects which ensures a continuous improvement program. Aum spends significant time improving the communication between engineering and manufacturing – he streamlines how cut sheets are issued and always makes sure that virgin materials are manufactured with zero waste. Aum is currently pursuing a master's in Engineering Management, which will help him become one of the youngest engineering managers.
Vice President of Business Operations
Meredith Perry developed and led Spec Engineering’s sales application department and helped create the system to have a more accurate and efficient quoting process. As part of this new department, Meredith also developed the customer service department within our company, identifying customer surveys and better communication with customers.
Meredith has completed a marketing certificate program at DePaul University as she developed the marketing department at Spec. From that certificate, Meredith was well-equipped to build and implement a company marketing plan. She also has taken courses in business writing, human resources and Excel.
Alycia Swayze just accepted a recent promotion from Customer Service to Account Manager which is an incredibly dynamic and challenging role within Intralox. Her volunteer proactive outbound work, furthering technical education, training of her peers, self-managed activity, increased sales and contact base, and exceptional job performance are all reasons why she was offered the role.
During Alycia’s two years in customer service, she has needed little to no supervision. She has an innate ability to identify problems, formulate a plan, assemble the right team members, and execute on solving that problem without needing to ask permission. Alycia lives a self-managed role day to day and has earned the trust and respect of peers because of it.
Marketing & Sales Specialist
Anthony Zapata enhanced Hiberbaric’s sales operations, data analysis and lead management practices with the implementation of Salesforce and new email automation using Pardot. Anthony helped efficiently segment the company’s database and set up email nurturing campaigns, using content marketing, to qualify leads for the sales team. Anthony was able to maximize a $1M marketing budget to generate over 1,700 leads and $80M in marketing sourced opportunities, which allowed Hiperbaric to close $22M in new HPP machinery business. Anthony took the company’s marketing initiatives to new heights by building a professional marketing infrastructure from scratch.
Anthony recently became SalesForce and Pardot certified. In addition, he is currently taking Google Academy courses, to become certified in Google Analytics and AdWords. Anthony has also taken the initiative to become fully fluent in Spanish, which is the primary language spoken at Hiperbaric.
2021 Honorable Mentions
Banding Sales Manager - Pharmaceuticals
Felins USA, Incorporated
Chris Anguil started at Felins in 2018, coming from an industry outside of packaging. His passion and can-do attitude allows him to do a great job of strategically learning and engaging with Felins’ Healthcare/Pharma/Cosmetic industries, which were not previously actively engaged. Part of Chris’ responsibility is educating the internal staff, so they are best positioned to serve the industries for which he is responsible. Chris has helped the business grow in his targeted industries by over 50 percent in the past two years.
Human Resources Generalist
Cristina Astahov is the heart of Human Resources at BellatRx Inc. After immigrating to Canada in search of better opportunities, Cristina pursued certificates in human resources and labor management with honors. She is a very disciplined individual, continuing her education online while balancing her family and career.
When Cristina started with BellatRx, she demonstrated team spirit and exceptional soft skills, quickly learning how to take charge in this new department. She is instrumental in company growth by proactively taking charge of recruitment and creating systems to ensure the cohesiveness of company culture. Cristina has implemented many of PMMI U’s educational programs, evaluation tools and benchmarking surveys to position BellatRx to be competitive within the packaging industry.
Furthermore, Cristina has gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing employee communication and implementing procedures that keep employees and customers safe.
Customer Success Manager
Katie Exum is the bridge between two critical functions at Specright: customers and product. It is her responsibility to ensure that the Specright solution best matches customers’ needs. She excels in this role, highlighted by her work leading the development of PackSight, a groundbreaking online packaging testing platform with the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). By understanding both the Specright product and the intricacies of packaging testing from her previous role at Amazon, she was able to turn PDFs of test protocols into an interactive, digital experience. This process saves packaging testing labs a tremendous amount of time, increasing testing visibility to brand owners and ultimately enabling analytics that will benefit the packaging industry.
Katie’s vision, packaging expertise and attention to detail have driven these outcomes. Beyond her work with ISTA and other Specright customers, Katie is a mentor to many team members and to packaging students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She is instrumental in hiring and employee training and has an infectious positive attitude.
Proposals and Project Manager
Yvette Goitia is relentless in her efforts to support and guide the beverage team toward operational excellence, possessing the willingness to seek a deeper understanding of decisions and challenges. Her background as a mechanical engineer is invaluable in her role as a strategic partner to the Intralox selling, operations and support teams. As the primary customer point of contact for new equipment orders, she manages new projects and orders through execution and completion, including engaging Equipment Aftersales Support for onsite services as needed.
Yvette developed a checklist for service engineers and technicians which ensures all technicians have relevant project information prior to going onsite. During a recent factory acceptance test with an integrator, Yvette's attention to detail was critical to the project's success. She consistently deploys a proactive approach to ensuring seamless project execution.
Vice President of Automation
Erik Grinnell joined Quest Industrial as a Field Service Engineer, making significant contributions to the development and advancement of the service organization. He was instrumental in the startup of several key projects, always ensuring customer expectations were exceeded. In his time, he has contributed to controls engineering, mechanical engineering, led the service team, and now as the Vice President of Automation, leads product development and commercial transformation.
Erik has been instrumental in the development of several key products. He excels at developing a deep understanding of the customer requirements and pain points, translating them into high-value comprehensive solutions. Due to Erik’s technical abilities, he can take an integrated approach to guiding development, balancing all technical aspects along the way. The results have been several highly successful projects with very positive customer outcomes leading to long-term customer relationships and successes. Erik is also a key player for inter-division collaboration at ProMach and has worked with multiple other divisions to partner for integrated systems.
A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Randy Hoffman joined the Zarpac team in April 2018. He was assigned a mentorship role supporting three turn-key packaging machinery production line projects for Sunsweet (exceeding 4 million in total revenue), which recently opened a manufacturing facility in Chile. Within only a few months it was evident that his learning curve exceeded the norm for his experience level and he was subsequently assigned the leadership role for the entire scope. The customer has dispensed countless accolades regarding Randy's leadership and ownership of the project, which included endless challenges considering the end user's location.
Randy was also selected as the project leader for a 25 million turn-key project for Abbott Nutrition. Randy possesses the core skills, leadership qualities, organizational wherewithal and financial acumen to succeed well beyond the project management realm.
Business Development Manager
Cama North America
Erica entered a new company and new industry with a fresh approach to marketing and generating new leads. She has succeeded at streamlining Cama North America’s advertising, enhancing social media presence, consolidating lead generation and opening many new doors across a variety of industries. Erica has also taken a leadership role on the sales team, seeking, exchanging and advancing efforts to increase revenues. She has jumped into the global sales effort in conjunction with worldwide subsidiaries, taking the lead in new marketing initiatives. Within PMMI, Erica joined the Packaging & Processing Women's Leadership Network and hopes to become more active within the association.
Change Parts, Inc.
Cody Leedham is the youngest Engineering Manager to join Change Parts Inc. He started his career as a Junior Design Engineer and through dedication, hard work and proven leadership skills was promoted over his peers to Engineering Manager. He leads a six-person engineering department, steering them to greater accomplishments than ever before. Cody’s work ethic has led Change Parts to dramatic quality improvement, increased engineering/customer interaction and overall customer satisfaction improvement for the first time. Cody constantly seeks innovation and cutting-edge processes that will improve not only his skills and processes, but those of the team as well.
He has a very bright future and is continually seeking innovation and cutting-edge processes to improve not only his skills and processes, but that of his team.
Key Account Manager
Deville Technologies, LLC
Elie Mechaalany joined Deville Technologies in 2018 as the Key Account Manager for the European market. Since then, he has constantly exhibited professionalism, entrepreneurship, and an Olympian mind-set, willing to roll up his sleeves and working hard for clients and colleagues.
His relentless efforts have led him to surpass expectations and grow Deville’s European market ten-fold through building trusting relationships with partners and key salespeople. He brought a different approach to the market: selling on value and providing complete technical solutions. With the current travel restrictions because of COVID-19, Elie developed a comprehensive virtual training program. He provides support and keeps pushing forward with the development of a new and unique technology for hard to shred cheese such as Edam (popular in Europe).
Global Branding and Graphic Design Specialist
In 2020, Liquibox started an exciting new phase by acquiring DS Smith flexible packaging and worldwide dispensers portfolio, strengthening its leading position in the bag-in-box packaging market. Amanda Nimry was instrumental before, during and after the companies’ merger. With her help, the marketing team was able to refresh the brand and visual identity, highlighting Liquibox as the flexible packaging solutions provider of choice for customers hungry for innovation, quality and sustainability. Leading and coordinating multiple high visibility projects, such as new corporate website and signage for Liquibox buildings around the world, Amanda managed to stay focused and positive even during the COVID-19 pandemic, inspiring her colleagues and bringing new fresh ideas to the team every day.
In her tenure at Zalkin, Vannesa has demonstrated a high level of effectiveness while managing multiple diverse assignments including project management, developing technical solutions, Salesforce CRM leadership and commercial engagement with customers in the United States and within Latin America. Her unique blend of communication, language, collaboration and technical skills makes her a stand-out performer.
Product Marketing Manager F&B
ASCO / Emerson US
Amit Patel focuses on leading new product development, while defining the marketing direction and strategic vision for the Food and Beverage segment of ASCO / Emerson US. He has become a go-to expert, not only within the organization, but also in gaining recognition within the industry, often executing thought leadership articles, webinars and conference presentations. He is a natural leader, who actively collaborates across Emerson’s large organization and consistently goes above and beyond in his work responsibilities. Amit has executed several critical initiatives, being an instrumental player in defining a fluid control and pneumatics product portfolio dedicated for food and beverage processing. He continues to lead new product development programs and most recently is supporting the digital transformation efforts within Emerson’s Fluid Control group.
Batching Systems, Inc.
Chris Staruch began work at Batching Systems, Inc. in 2012, shortly after graduating from Purdue University. He has consistently put in 110 percent effort daily, asking questions and assisting any way he can. Chris is willing to put in extra hours assembling equipment, supporting shipping and setting up show booths out of state.
When Batching Systems updated a product line, Chris was an attentive listener, putting his organizational skills to use to assist in testing and validating an entire range of products. He quickly became familiar with the equipment and how it should function, allowing him to provide guidance to staff on the shop floor. Over the last eight years, Chris’ knowledge of equipment and processes have grown and in part so have his responsibilities, allowing him to be promoted to Production Manager.
Research and Development Manager
Triangle Package Machinery Co.
Mike approaches the food and packaging industry with devoted interest, curiosity and drive to understand and improve packaging equipment capabilities. He is the first to go out to customers to meet the people packaging products so he can understand customer discussions on a weekly basis. His focus is on not only addressing a need but understanding how that need could serve the entire industry.
Mike’s drive for direct engagement with industry experts, tied with his impeccable engineering skills, have allowed him to quickly rise through the engineering team ranks, into Manager of Engineering. He has developed his R&D team of five engineers to embrace the industry and the packaging world’s needs at the forefront of their design work.
Beyond engineering and science, Mike has participated in PMMI’s Leadership Development Program. The skills he learned have had a direct impact in how he engages his team, company management and conducts his daily work. He is focused not only on how he can serve the industry through great products, but also in the development of other team members to become leaders themselves.
Customer Relationship Specialist
Sarah is a liaison between QC Conveyors’ sales, service and engineering teams and their OEM division’s customers. She is responsible for facilitating answers to customer inquiry and presenting solutions to problems including providing technical support. Sarah is always willing to assist, even after hours, meeting aggressive metrics that directly contribute to OEM division’s sales growth. Her hard work has helped reduce warranty claims to less than one percent.
Sarah took the initiative to create dedicated highly detailed and mechanically accurate manuals and support documents for custom OEM users. She led the project, working with leadership between customers and engineers. She has earned the respect of her peers, leaders and customers, through her tenacity, eagerness to learn and ability to lead others.
Sarah was tapped for QC Conveyors’ young leaders program and was elected the leader of the 2020 team, which is now exceeding expectations and doing so under budget.
ID Technology, a division of ProMach
As the business analyst for ID Technology, a division of ProMach, Alex Nunnally is charged with bridging the gap between manufacturing and technical support. During his last two years he has been a quick learner, gaining knowledge on the ERP system, business processes and writing SQL code. Alex has assisted with five acquisition integrations and one upgrade project all with the mindset that there is no task in front of him that he can’t accomplish. Driven to learn more and challenge himself, Alex is working on completing his Master of Business. Alex’s attitude and determination has allowed the company to further the ProMach mission, blurring division lines and working on projects as a cohesive team.
Mechanical Project Engineer
Britny Lochowitz joined the Mechanical Engineering Group of Busse/SJI in 2014, shortly after graduating from Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She immediately immersed herself into the palletizing and depalletizing product lines of Busse/SJI and learned the nuances of packaging glass, aluminum and plastic containers of all shapes and sizes.
Through her attention to detail and quick responses to questions from the shop floor, Britny was able to establish a positive rapport with the manufacturing and assembly departments. Her initiative has led to the identification and introduction of programs that maximize design and process efficiencies within the Engineering Group. Britny now is involved in extracurricular efforts such as mentoring junior engineers and working on process improvement, safety and wellness committees.
ROVEMA North America, Inc.
Emmanuel Myers currently serves as a controls engineer for ROVEMA North America, Inc. He is leading two initiatives; an implementation of a new electrical documentation program and the development of new product testing platforms to improve the ability to evaluate potential projects in house.
Often working with service teams and customers, it is crucial that he can work well under pressure. When faced with stressful situations, Emmanuel stays calm and focused, ensuring that the rest of the team is able to get the job done.
H.B. Fuller Company
After graduating magna cum laude from Ohio State University, Garrett Price began working at H.B. Fuller. Since then, he has consistently climbed the ladder due to his data-based decision-making skills, propelling him to lead complex consumer continuous improvement projects while training and coaching teams. Level-headed and conscientious, Garrett instinctually demonstrates strong business acumen which has helped grow H.B. Fuller’s top line. He developed and executed qualification plans that captured $10 million in annual organic revenue growth and led cross-functional teams to develop new product innovations totaling $4.4 million annually.
In 2015, Garrett received the H.B. Fuller Technical Manager of the Year Award for his exceptional work in developing customer value quantification standards and mentorship of new hires through real-world problem solving. Garrett plans to complete his Master of Business at University of California, Davis this year to continue becoming a business leader in packaging.
Guillaume Savoie- Lavigueur started at NJM Packaging seven years ago. After working on new product development projects and having an interest in management, Guillaume obtained his Master of Engineering in 2018. Since then Guillaume has been involved in key strategic R&D projects of the organization and led the technical demand of federal grants. After relocating twice for the organization, displaying strong leadership and a high level of initiative, as well as a track record of successful contributions, Guillaume was promoted to R&D Supervisor in 2019.
Guillaume now leads a team of professional engineers, managing the full R&D portfolio as well as the intellectual property of the business. With solid influence in the strategic decision of the organization, Guillaume has had a positive impact on engineering processes and improved time to market.
Sales Operations Manager
Soft Robotics, Inc.
In the beginning of 2019, Haley Parizo was commissioned as the first manager of sales operations for Soft Robotics. In this role, she has made meaningful impacts on the efficiencies of all key sales processes, from quotation standardization and management, through order fulfillment and after sales support. Haley became a key team member of the SRI distribution management group when a new technical distribution sales channel was introduced, working closely with marketing, product management, operations and sales. She continues to drive innovative thinking in the use of Soft Robotics’ CRM tools and sales channel communication methodologies.
A-B-C Packaging Machine Corporation
Jeremy Despota started his career with A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp. eight years ago as a general shop help employee, cleaning floors and emptying trash cans. While working full time, Jeremy went to school to learn PLC programming in order to move up into an assembly position and then into his current role of service engineer. As one of the highest skilled service engineers at A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp., Jeremy tackled countless projects from rebuilds of machines older than him, major conversions of equipment and startups of newly designed equipment. Through displaying confidence and leadership in his job, Jeremy has proven many times that he can handle any task set in front of him.
Loren Starr Luck
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Loren Starr Luck joined Shibuya Hoppmann as a marketing assistant directly out of college in 2012. Since then she has initiated a new digital approach to advertising, managed Shibuya Hoppmann’s social media presence, website development/maintenance, targeted email blasts and video advertising, all leading to her current role as marketing and communications coordinator. Loren continually demonstrates collaborative skills necessary to support the entire company. Under her own initiative, Loren has expanded her knowledge of the packaging industry and takes advantage of webinars and other educational avenues to expand her skillset and better her marketing strategies.
International Sales Manager, Dairy & Senior Market Manager
Paul Krechel joined Deville Technologies in 2016 as a market manager for the protein industry and was the first employee at the Kenosha, Wisconsin facility. Since then his leadership, determination and hard work has helped Deville’s protein business segment see a 1000% growth in the past three years. Paul’s work ethic does not go unnoticed, as he inspires other team members and has presented at several industry events such as IPPE TechTalks, Ideas Showcase at ICTE and the International Association for Food Protection. A strong commitment to both Deville and the industry in general, has Paul led to have a dual role within Deville as international sales manager for the dairy industry and senior manager for the protein industry.
Robert Schmelzer grew up in Sangerhausen, Germany and started his career in the Army as a mechanical technician. With a drive for knowledge, he attended Heinze Academy for Technic and Design where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After completing his degree, Robert moved to the United States and was hired as an Electro-Mechanical Technician I at Mettler Toledo. Robert’s education and experience from the Army showcased as an exceptional ability to lead and streamline a team when building x-ray systems. Armed with this knowledge, he was able to troubleshoot issues in order to meet critical timeframes.
From there, Robert quickly moved into the applications specialist position where he became the technical expert on Mettler Toledo x-Ray and Metal Detection systems. There his expertise helped shorten the sales cycle by testing and demonstrating a customer's product on the technology, prior to purchase. Always showing initiative, Robert signed up for the first annual Six Sigma Green Belt training. There he led a Six Sigma Green Belt project that improved efficiency and reduced the waste by 50% in the Applications Center. Using this project as a springboard, Robert has created and maintained multiple SOPs to continuously streamline process and improve productivity. Robert's eagerness, passion and drive have propelled him to be a strong leader while motivating his coworkers to face the challenges that arise.
Electro Mechanical Technician
Pineberry Manufacturing Inc.
Tarique Walters was hired by Pineberry Manufacturing Inc. directly after graduating from Centennial College with an Electrical Mechanical Technologist degree specializing in Automation and Robotics. He quickly learned the various systems/solutions while enhancing the process by putting his knowledge and expertise of PLC programming to use. Tarique’s ability to handle various situations during the design and manufacturing stage internally along with his skillset of working directly with customers off-site from senior management to operators during the start-up phase is a tremendous asset to Pineberry Manufacturing Inc.
Travis Robert started his career with RND Automation six years ago as an engineering intern. His dedication, self-motivation and can-do attitude propelled him up to buyer then machine shop manager and now manufacturing manager. When asked to take on the scheduling portion of the machine shop, Travis took the initiative to teach himself CNC programming so he could assist in writing programs for the machinists. These new skills helped reduce RND Automation's Lead times by half.
Account Manager, Omron
Aurelio Delgado got his start in industrial automation as an intern for Omron while at Bradley University. He graduated in 2016 with a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Entrepreneurship and joined Omron to pursue a role in sales, with a focus on the packaging industry. In his first year, Aurelio received the Omron Sales Excellence Award for 200% achievement for target accounts: 117% of key accounts; 106% growth of territory. Recently, Aurelio has taken additional responsibilities in the field surrounding training. He stepped up to become a trainer for Omron’s Engineering Trainee Program and serves as the trainer for the Southern California region, overseeing sales and product training, monitoring productivity and establishing benchmarks for Omron Distributors and Systems Integrators.
Aurelio works with both small- and large-sized companies in the packaging industry solving applications from verifying labels on fruit, picking and packing ice cream bars into secondary packaging, verifying barcode integrity for pharmaceuticals as well as detecting absence/presence for clear bottles. Aurelio is from Venezuela, but currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Mechanical Drafter/Laser Operator
CLE Can Lines Engineering
Connor Koplien started his career with CLE at a mere 17 years old as a shop helper. Learning to sweep floors and take out the trash, there was no task too small that did not receive his maximum effort. His thirst to learn and develop was quickly recognized by his fabricating peers on the shop floor, and soon Connor was turning wrenches, cutting metal and welding steel. He earned the respect of some of the most talented – and toughest to please – Millwrights around within months. Connor’s intuitive questions and eye for detail have only compounded his array of skills applicable to a CLE leader. He quickly picks up complicated and involved tasks such as designing in AutoCad and laying out fabrication drawings.
Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc.
Daniel Harmann currently serves as project manager for Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc. He schedules, coordinates and implements the company’s timelines as projects progress through the manufacturing process. In this role, Daniel also develops and implements changes in the QRM (Quick Response Manufacturing) process in order to reduce lead times. Daniel started at Spee-Dee Packaging in 2005 as general labor, then began programming and operating CNC machining centers the following year. After graduating from UW-Parkside with a B.A. in Criminal Justice, Daniel started his role as a machine shop supervisor where he worked with various departments to improve efficiency.
SMC Corporation of America
Gina Barrieau joined SMC Corporation of America’s Atlanta branch in 2016 where she had the opportunity to transition into the Global Accounts Group and support the Coca-Cola account for North America. She is also the Food & Packaging point of contact for the Atlanta branch to help support and grow these important accounts. Gina learned about SMC Corporation of America through their new Sales Academy Training Program. The program allowed her to receive technical product training and sales training. In addition, she gained an understanding of the processes and operations from working in each department while building relationships within headquarters for nine months. Gina graduated from Butler University in 2015 with a double major in Marketing and International Business, a minor in Spanish and was in the Honors Program. She is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Jackie Irvine grew up in Toronto, Canada, and attended the University of Toronto where she graduated with distinction earning an Honours Degree in English Literature. While completing her degree, Jackie began her career in London, England as a marketing intern at the Heart of England Forest, a subsidiary of the Dennis Group, the second largest publishing group in the UK. It was in England that Jackie also began working as a freelance copywriter, writing copy for the film, fitness and manufacturing industries. With the strength of Jackie’s copywriting portfolio, she was eventually hired on at Plexpack Corp. upon her return to Toronto. While working at Plexpack Corp., Jackie showed exceptional adaptability, authoring and designing many of Plexpack’s advertisements while also piloting a new Inside Sales program and launching a new subsidiary brand for Plexpack, Vacpack.
After assisting with the induction of the Inside Sales program and Vacpack launch, Jackie consulted on, programmed and implemented both a new CRM (Salesforce) and an automated marketing program for Plexpack. Jackie looks forward to the future of manufacturing and hopes to establish a major manufacturing advisory board in product development for companies such as Salesforce and SAP.
Client Development Associate
Jenelle Gaskins is the client development associate for QC Conveyors, a role that puts her front and center in the development of QC Conveyors' newest channel partners. She provides the resources and training new distributors need to grow their sales in their first few years with QC Conveyors. Jenelle works tirelessly in this role, facilitating solutions to the individual needs of QC Conveyors’ customers. She often interacts with many different groups within the organization to achieve these solutions, from production to upper management. She has a knack for determining the team needed for a particular solution and works to quickly facilitate their activities to help distributors solve even the most difficult problems. Her leadership skills helped propel QC Conveyors to 25% growth in core product sales in 2017 and to more than 30% growth year to date in 2018. Jenelle grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and Columbus, Ohio. She graduated from the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati and joined the QC Conveyors team immediately after graduation. Jenelle lives in Fort Thomas, Kentucky with her husband Alex.
Kristian R. Andersen-Lentine
Lead Technician & Trainer
Kristian Andersen-Lentine started his career with BPI Equipment as a shop helper and quickly demonstrated his ability to learn. He was then offered an intern position within the company. Kristian received an associate degree in Applied Science (Mechatronics Automated & Integrated Technology) from South Western Michigan College. While in school, Kristian obtained certifications for Fanuc Robotics in Industrial Robotics & Industrial Robotic Vision. He also received his PMMI Certified Trainer certification at the 2017 PACK EXPO Las Vegas. Since graduating, Kristian was promoted to lead technician due to his ability to work independently and provide proven results.
Banding Sales Manager
As the banding sales manager for the Food Industry at Felins, Lisa Barrieau is charged with developing sustainable alternatives for bundling and labeling that are both good for the bottom line and good for the environment. In this role she is managing all aspects of business development, marketing, application solution and sales. Through self-education of the rules and regulations as well as consumer trends and industry pain points, Lisa has invested in the success of her food customers as well as Felins. She works to help the fast-paced industry increase their throughput, decrease packaging waste, reduce labor costs and increase sustainability while building sustainable relationships.
Prior to joining Felins, Lisa was fortunate to have a successful, seven-year professional career as a ballet dancer. Performing with Milwaukee Ballet, Minnesota Ballet and Atlanta Ballet Company, she had the opportunity to work with world-renown artists and choreographers. After retiring from ballet, Lisa transitioned into the fine dining industry, serving in five-star, four-diamond, James Beard Award Winning Chef restaurants where she discovered her passion for customer service and customer satisfaction. After joining the Felins team in 2015 as a customer service and inside sales representative, she discovered a new and growing interest in the world of business. Driven to learn more about the inner workings of the business world, Lisa made the decision to go to school for business at Cardinal Stritch University, applying her new knowledge to build her career.
Marketing Coordinator & Quality Manager
Precision Automation Company
Stephen Huvane has been with Precision Automation Company, Inc. for over three years, serving as a sales support specialist, marketing coordinator, and recently, corporate Quality Manager. He began his employment at Precision in July 2015, after serving four and a half years as an U.S. Army logistics officer. Stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, he was an integral leader in a support company attached to an artillery unit, and deployed to Jordan and Kuwait on a year-long training mission. After deciding to depart active duty to transition his leadership and operational skills to a new industry, Stephen joined Precision Automation as a supply chain specialist and project manager for the Integrated Conveyor Solutions division. He was eager to learn about conveyor capabilities, and assisted with parts orders while also picking up AutoCAD drawing skills through a local college course in the evenings.
Stephen then transitioned to a marketing position within the company. As marketing coordinator, he led the charge of rebranding Precision Automation with a brand-new website, updated logo and corresponding promotional materials. Stephen was recently promoted to the role of quality manager and successfully led Precision Automation through the recertification process to ensure the company’s ISO 9001:2015 compliance. Stephen recently completed the PMMI Leadership Development Program, continuing to advance his leadership skills. He noted that the professional networking aspect of the program made for a fantastic experience on top of many lessons learned.
Schneider Packaging Equipment Co., Inc.
Tim Graham graduated from Clarkson University in 2014 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Electrical Engineering. Prior to joining Schneider in 2016, Tim was an automation engineer for JMA Wireless. In his first year at Schneider, Tim quickly progressed from a supporting engineer, to a controls team lead to a project lead. Tim specializes in robotic palletizers. In his short time as project lead at Schneider, Tim has led over a dozen projects. His determination, decisiveness and ability to encourage and empower his team help drive results and keep projects on track. Tim’s positivity, enthusiasm and drive are relentless and infectious. These qualities inspire his team to persevere through the challenges faced in our industry. He demonstrates a commitment to Schneider and to the packaging and processing industry.