Association Awards

April 30 - May 4, 2022 | Charlotte, NC USA

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Congratulations to TAPPI's 2021 Association Award Winners


Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award

The TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award is the highest honor that the Association can bestow upon an individual. Established in 1928, the Gold Medal is granted to those “who have made preeminent scientific and engineering achievements of proven applied benefit to the world’s pulp, paper, board, and forest product industries.


Ben Frank - Gunnar Nicholson Award Winner


Benjamin Frank, Ph.D.

Director Materials Research and Innovation
Packaging Corporation of America

Dr. Benjamin Frank received a Ph.D. in physics and M.S in Colloids, Polymers and Surfaces (Chemical Engineering) in 1995 from Carnegie Mellon University. Following post-doctoral research at Stanford and IBM, he started his career in the forest products industry in 1996 at International Paper and joined Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) in 2001 as the Manager of the Packaging and Materials Testing Labs. He is presently Director-Materials Research and Innovation.

In his role at PCA, Dr. Frank leads a team involved in research, technical support, and product development. Their research efforts focus on gaining a better understanding of materials and improving existing test methods in both accuracy and precision. Their research has championed the development of new paper grades and evaluation methods, which have enabled sustainability benefits while assuring reliability in packaging.

Dr. Frank has also run an active co-op program at PCA, training and mentoring over 60 students. This outreach effort has provided him with the opportunity to guest lecture, teach and guide undergraduate and graduate students at many of the top packaging schools across the country.

As Dr. Frank’s career has grown with PCA, so has his involvement in TAPPI and the industry. With TAPPI, he has held leadership roles in FISCOTEC (pronounced fisk-o-tech), the Corrugated Awards Committee and Q&SMC, and has been active in CORBOTECH (pronounced corb-o-tech) and ISO TC6 (pronounced eye-so). He has been deeply involved in the standards process, authoring and revising for both TAPPI and ISO. He is also active in ISTA, particularly through the ARVD program. Currently, Dr. Frank is chair of the FBA Technical committee and has been deeply involved in many of their activities and technical publications for the past 15+ years, including various revisions of the Fibre Box Handbook and recently sponsored research projects.

Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award

Established in 1983, the TAPPI Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor that the Association can bestow upon an individual for exemplary leadership that has significantly contributed to the advancement of the Association. 

Frank Sutman - Herman Joachim Award Winner

Frank Sutman

Solenis LLC

Currently, retired, Frank J. Sutman was a Senior Group Leader, Global Technology at Solenis. He received his BS from The University of Idaho and his MS from The Institute of Paper Chemistry. His first job after graduate school was in technical roles with Great Northern Paper. With encouragement from his manager and mentor, he joined TAPPI in 1984. He joined the Pressing and Drying Committee at his first TAPPI Engineering Conference and ascended through various leadership roles of the re-scoped Water Removal Committee. In 1994, he joined the Engineering Division Council.

In the early 2000s, Sutman helped consolidate the papermaking program content within TAPPI from two conferences per year to one spring platform which eventually became PaperCon (now TAPPICon). He completed his term as Engineering Division Chair in 2004 and spent several years on the PaperCon Steering Committee, chairing it in 2010.

In 2005, Sutman and a handful of others started the Runnability Fun Run, which is held annually at the spring conference. He chaired the Fun Run Committee from 2005 to 2010. In the past 15 years, the Fun Run has raised more than $176,000 for TAPPI Division Scholarships with generous support from sponsors and participants.

Sutman served on TAPPI’s Board of Directors from 2013-2015. This coincided with the planning for TAPPI’s Centennial Celebration in 2015.  He also served on the Centennial Steering Committee and contributed to “TAPPI: Celebrating A Century Of Achievement”, the commemorative book.

After initial work in paper manufacturing, he spent the majority of his career in chemical product development for Betz PaperChem, Hercules, Ashland, and eventually Solenis LLC.  This work resulted in 13 US patents and 17 publications. His greatest technical contributions improved the sustainability of papermaking through increased recycled fiber utilization. Sutman received TAPPI’s Engineering Division Leadership and Service Award in 2005 and became a TAPPI Fellow in 2010.

TAPPI/PIMA Executive of the Year Award

The TAPPI/PIMA Executive of the Year Award is presented to a senior-level executive in the pulp, paper, or converting industries for excellence in management and outstanding contribution to the industry as a whole.

Michael Doss - PIMA Executive of the Year

Michael P. Doss

President and CEO
Graphic Packaging Holding Company

Michael Doss began his career at Graphic Packaging in 1990 serving as the plant manager for the Gordonsville, Tennessee and Wausa, Wisconsin plants. He has held positions of increasing management responsibility ever since. Prior to January 2016, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of Graphic Packaging and also served in other leadership roles, including Chief Operating Officer; Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations; Senior Vice President, Consumer Packaging Division; Senior Vice President, Consumer Products Packaging; Vice President of Operations, Universal Packaging Division; and  Director of Web Systems for the Universal Packaging Division.

Under Doss’ guidance, Graphic Packaging has made environmental, social and corporate governance a top priority, earning them a spot on Newsweek's 2021 list of America's Most Responsible Companies. He has also championed the organization’s efforts to develop diversity and inclusion programs.

Doss serves on the Board of Directors for the American Forest & Paper Association, the Sustainable Forest Initiative, the Paper Recycling Coalition, the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Paper & Packaging Check-off Board. He is also active in the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Doss holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Marketing and a Master of Business Administration in Finance, both from Western Michigan University. He is also a graduate of Harvard University’s General Manager Program.

Paul W. Magnabosco Outstanding Local Section Member Award   

The Paul W. Magnabosco Outstanding Local Section Member Award was established to recognize outstanding leadership and exceptional service to one or more Local Sections which has resulted in significant and demonstrable benefits to Local Section members.

Travis Plains - Paul Magnabosco Award

Travis Plains

Senior Regional Terminal Operations Manager
Lhoist North America

Gulf Coast TAPPI Local Section

Travis Plains is Senior Regional Terminal Operations Manager for Lhoist North America. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Arizona State University and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Plains joined Lhoist in 2011 as a market analyst at their Fort Worth, Texas facility. In 2013, he transitioned into sales and now works in their Southeast region specializing in the paper and steel industries. Lhoist North America is part of the Lhoist Group, a major supplier of lime, limestone and clay products to various industries, including the pulp and paper sector. A TAPPI member since 2015, Plains is an active participant in the Gulf Coast TAPPI Local Section, currently serving as Vice Chairman. He has made a lasting impact on the Section’s operations though his planning and participation in the Section’s meetings, improvements to communications and updates to the membership roster.

Young Professionals of the Year  

The Young Professionals of the Year Award recognizes aspiring, young leaders in the global forest products, pulp, paper, packaging, tissue, and related industries. Eligible nominees are age 35 or younger with less than 10 years of industry experience. For 2021, TAPPI has chosen five recipients based on their outstanding leadership, community service, and problem-solving contributions to scientific or engineering projects.

 Kyle Duffy

Kyle Duffy

Finished Products Manager
International Paper

While serving as Environmental Health and Safety Manager at International Paper’s Franklin, Virginia mill, Duffy was able to drive the expansion of the mill’s safety leading indicator-tracking system leading to more than a year free of recordable events. Duffy is currently a finished products manager at International Paper. He is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified and holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Miami University.

Josiah Fonte

Josiah Fonte

Quality Supervisor

As quality supervisor for WestRock, Fonte works with lab personnel to assess testing measures and procedures. He has analyzed data for various processes and performed an extensive capabilities analysis of his facility’s paper lab testing. Fonte holds a Bachelor of Science in Bioresource Science and Engineering from the University of Washington and has been a TAPPI member since 2017

Kimberly Hollifield

Kimberly Hollifield

Manufacturing Excellence Leader
International Paper

“Building relationships with the people on the team and helping them achieve their goals” has been a driving force in Hollifield’s career. As a manufacturing excellence leader – paper at International Paper, she improves engagement and morale on her team of newly hired engineers by giving them an opportunity to voice their suggestions on ways to improve their development within the company. Hollifield holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton.

Lena Sharesky

Lena Sharesky

Packaging Sales Representative
Packaging Corporation of America

As Director of Events for the TAPPI YP Division, Sharesky has successfully executed several events and activities for TAPPI’s early career professional and student members, including the Division's first ever Virtual Orientation event, and a series of virtual networking mixers. These events directly contributed to the success of the YP Division and its recruitment efforts in 2020. Sharesky is a packaging sales representative with Packaging Corporation of America. She graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s in Business Administration from Monmouth University.

Avery Wilson

Avery Wilson

Process Engineering Professional Intermediate

A TAPPI member since 2019, Wilson developed multiple mill-wide mass and energy balances for major pulp and paper clients that were used to help develop a long-term capital project and execution strategy for each of the mill’s locations. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Carolina-Columbia and is on track to earn an MBA from the university in 2021. Wilson is currently a process engineering professional intermediate with Jacobs.

TAPPI Journal Best Research Papers

“Creasing severity and reverse-side cracking”

Co-authors: Joel C. Panek and Swan D. Smith from WestRock and Douglas W. Coffin from Miami University

“Modeling of the energy of a smelt-water explosion in the recovery boiler dissolving tank” 

 Co-authors: Eric Jin, Malcolm MadKensie and Steve Osborne from The Babcock & Wilcox Company and Honghi Tran from the University of Toronto