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Associate Engineer, Papermaking and Packaging

The opportunity: 

Reporting to the R&D Manager – Papermaking & Structural Mechanics, the Associate R&D Engineer – Papermaking & Structural Mechanics, will perform a variety of qualitative and quantitative testing and assist with trial work in support of innovation projects relating to the strategic plan of the business.  You will assist in the production and testing of prototype products and packages.  You will also provide technical support to research and development for product and process support (papermaking & testing, and packaging development).   


The Papermaking & Structural Mechanics Group is part of WestRock’s Science and Innovation Department.   We develop a variety of new processes and paperboard-based substrates that are used in packaging applications by WestRock’s customers.  The work is innovation-intense and attention to detail. The successful candidate can expect to become involved with a variety of challenging tasks and opportunities. The work will primarily take place at our Richmond facilities, but can include WestRock plant locations, and customer & supplier facilities.   


Safety is paramount to WestRock and a focus on safe work practices will be required. You will be expected to work safely, be responsible for your own safety and the safety of those around you, and to report safety concerns to management for continuous improvement.  Being 100% safe is our number one priority. 


How you will impact WestRock: 

Assist in the development and analysis of new/modified paperboard products/processes and the development and evaluation of new/modified fiber-based products. 

Participate in project planning, execution, analysis, and reporting.   

Projects will include lab & pilot trials, prototype creation, and method development.   

Operate test equipment, creating prototypes, collecting & analyzing data, and drawing & producing custom parts. 

Perform laboratory experiments.  

Learn new test methods to expand material science and technology innovation capabilities.  

Collect and analyze data, recognize the significance of anomalous results, and report on them.  

Assist in conducting pilot and commercial trials. 

Present complex information so that it is understandable to a non-technical audience; learn and utilize WestRock’s technical report formats. 

Expand general understanding of the pulp and paper making process, converting operation, coating, barrier, and packaging development process by innovating boldly and developing sustainable packaging solutions. 


What you need: 

BA/BS or MS in mechanical engineering, material science/engineering, paper science/engineering, or packaging science/engineering; equivalent proven qualifications and requisite experience considered. 

Strong technical background. 

Proven ability to complete tasks on a project without close supervision.  

Hands-on experience. 

Experience with experimental lab work (plan, test, analyze, report). 

Experience in working with large data analysis is a plus. 

Computer skills including word processing, presentation, data processing (eg MATLAB, Excel), and 3D modelling (eg SolidWorks, Artios CAD). 

Strong teamwork skills, including ability to contribute across functional teams. 

Very good communication skills, verbal and written. 

Ability to contribute to a lab, pilot plant and production environment.   

Mechanical aptitude 

Technical curiosity. 

Occasional travel up to 25%