Operational Excellence and New Product Innovations Workshop

Operational Excellence and New Product Innovations Workshop

About this Event

Learn what we have in store for the next decade to help your operations' bottom line and introduce higher margin product opportunities.

March 11,2020 • 8:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Paper Tricentennial Building, First Floor

Join us on Wednesday, March 11 as we go through a number of innovations that the Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI) has sponsored including:

• Corrosion Sciences

• Multi-phase Forming

• Packaging Materials of the Future

One-on-one interactions with RBI Fellowship Graduate Students will also be available, as we host their poster session and luncheon at the Paper Tricentennial Building, the home of RBI.

The workshop is free, but registration is required.




Speaker Biographies

Steve Voorhees
Chief Executive Officer, WestRock

Steve Voorhees

Steve Voorhees is chief executive officer of WestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions and one of FORTUNE’s World’s Most Admired Companies. Prior to his current role, Steve was CEO of RockTenn and also served in various executive leadership roles, including president and chief operating officer; executive vice president and chief financial officer; and chief administrative officer.
His previous experience includes his work in operations and executive roles at Sonat Inc., a diversified energy company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.
Steve is a member of the board of directors of WestRock,
Truist Financial Corporation, the National Association of Manufacturers, 3DE, the American Forest & Paper Association and the Paper and Packaging Board.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and mathematics from Northwestern University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.


Professor, School of Mechanical Enginering - Georgia Tech

Cyrus AidunCyrus K. Aidun’s research focuses on direct numerical simulation (DNS) of suspension hydrodynamics, including fiber suspension, biotransport and whole blood flow. Additional research interests include methods for enhancement of convective and boiling heat transfer, multiscale biotransport and fluidics-based automation of sorting and selection of somatic embryogenesis for clonal propagation of plants. He has pioneered the development of the Lattice-Boltzmann (LB) method for suspension hydrodynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems. It is now well established that the LB method, based on the solution of discrete Boltzmann equation, is a superior computational method for hard particles as well as transport of deformable capsules and particle. These methods open the possibility for mechanical, thermal and rheological analyses of a broad class of deformable particle/fiber suspension flows. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his Ph.D. from Clarkson University.


Fani Boukouvala
Professor, ChBE - Georgia Tech
(404) 385-5371

Fani Boukouvala

Fani Boukouvala is an Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at GT. She earned her Chemical Engineering BS degree at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece and her PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University (2013). Before joining Georgia Tech, she spent a few years as a postdoctoral associate at Princeton and Texas A&M Universities. Fani is leading the Data-Driven Process Systems Engineering Lab at GT and their work focuses in the areas of data-driven process optimization and physics-based machine learning, with applications in process intensification, manufacturing, plastics recycling and power grid operations. Fani has recently received the NSF CAREER award to pursue computational research on merging physics-based knowledge with modern Machine Learning, and has previously been awarded with Best Paper awards from the Journal of Global Optimization (2017), Optimization Letters (2017) and Computers & Chemical Engineering (2015).


Alice Favero
Associate Director of Graduate Studies, School of Public Policy - Georgia Tech
Climate Change Mitigation Policy and Potential Affects to the Forestry Sector

Alice Favero

Dr. Alice Favero is the Associate Director of Graduate Studies at the School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on the economics of forest-based climate change mitigation actions and climate impacts on the forests. Her work has been published in interdisciplinary journals and economics journals, and she is part of the Forestry Modeling Forum. She also teaches two courses at Tech: Climate Policy and Environmental Policy. Lastly, she is the Director of the Georgia Tech Study Abroad Program on Sustainable Development and Climate Change in Italy.


Gus Lang
PhD Candidate, ME - Georgia Tech

Gus Lang

Gus Lang is a fifth-year PhD student in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Georgia Tech. Originally from Denver, Gus works for Dr. John Reynolds studying electrical, optical, and redox properties of conducting polymers incorporated onto cellulosic substrates. These printed electronics on cellulose could find use in smart packaging and environmental monitoring. Outside of research Gus enjoys playing tennis, biking, and exploring all of the excellent food Atlanta has to offer.


Chris Luettgen
Associate Director, RBI - Georgia Tech
Professor of the Practice, ChBE
Director, GT Pulp and Paper Engineering Undergraduate Certificate Program and Foundation
Advancing Foundational Technologies

Chris Luettgen

Dr. Luettgen served 25-plus years in the industry, with Scott Paper and Kimberly-Clark Corp., where he most recently served as Senior Research and Engineering Manager for the Kimberly-Clark Professional business sector. He has held positions in product development and innovation as well as in capital project management and manufacturing facility leadership. For several years, Luettgen has served on the RBI Industry Board of Advisors and he is the current Chairman of the Board of the Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Paper Engineering at Western Michigan University (1985), his master’s degree at the Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, WI (1987) and his Ph.D. at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology — now RBI — at Georgia Tech (1991). He rejoined Georgia Tech in November 2014. Areas of interest include: Recycled fiber, renewable cellulosic feedstocks, tissue manufacturing and converting and manufacturing leadership/operations excellence.


Carson Meredith
Director, RBI - Georgia Tech
Professor, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, ChBE - Georgia Tech
J. Carl Pirkle Sr. Faculty Fellow
Opportunities for Cellulose and Other Biorenewable Materials in Barrier Packaging

Carson Meredith

Carson Meredith received the bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech (1993) and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin (1998). He was a postdoc at NIST from 1998 to 2000, and joined the ChBE faculty at Georgia Tech in 2000. His research interests intersect both colloid and polymer science. His early work was instrumental in establishing the field of high-throughput screening and development of polymers. Other areas of interest include (i) renewable packaging and coatings, (ii) particle adhesion and interactions in composites and sustainable separations, and (iii) bio inspired colloids and polymers for advanced materials. Dr. Meredith is the Chief Editor for the biomaterials area for the newly launched journal Emergent Materials (Springer), is a recipient of a Bill & Melinda Gates Grand Challenge Grant (2014) and the Honda Initiation Award (2007).


Preet Singh
Professor and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, School of Material Science and Engineering - Georgia Tech


Singh’s research is focused on the fundamental understanding of the environmental degradation of material properties, especially for metals and alloys, and their protection. His research work is related to the corrosion and SCC problems in the pulp and paper industry, bio-fuels, the energy industry, transportation infrastructure and nuclear industry. Singh has published more than 175 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. He is an active member of NACE, ASM, TMS, AIST and ACerS. Singh is Fellow of NACE International as well as ASM-International.