State of the Industry Panel

November 5 - 8, 2023 | Atlanta, Georgia

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State of the Industry Panel  (Session 2)

Monday, November 6    10:30 – Noon

Location: Regency VI


 Top industry SMEs discuss the future of the industry


Our industry continues to see consolidations, closures, and lack of people entering the industry.  Where is the industry going?  What are the trends?  Is there a future?  Are we a “sunrise or sunset” industry?  These are all hot topics on people’s minds.  The theme of PEERS2023 conference is  People, Process, and Sustainability.  This session brings senior personnel from mills, leading vendors, and academia to discuss the state of the industry and provide forward thinking for the future.

There is no need to register specifically to attend the discussion but be sure to arrive early to secure a seat.   



Larry Anker

Presentation: Engaging/Retaining Engineers in the Pulp Industry

Larry Anker is a Director of Commercial Excellence at Solenis. He earned a B.S. Degree in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics at Washington and Lee University in 1986 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Penn State University in 1992.  He began his professional career in the paper industry at International Paper’s Erie Research Center in the corporate papermaking process chemistry group.  In 1998, he moved to Ashland’s Drew Industrial Research Center.  Anker has held various positions in his 25 years at Ashland/Solenis including polymer chemistry group leader, applications lab manager, Functional chemistry applications group leader and Director of Applications.

Larry is currently serving on TAPPI’s Board of Directors. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering at Western Michigan University.  He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 1987 and was selected as a TAPPI Fellow in 2012.  He is the former chair of the TAPPI Paper and Board Division as well as the Additives committee.  He served as chair of the Centennial Celebration Steering Committee (PaperCon 2015).  He is an active member of Student Summit Steering Committee and is a current instructor for TAPPI’s Introduction to Wet End Chemistry course.  Larry resides in Sparta, New Jersey with his wife Wendy and daughters Abbi and Josie.


Karin Dernegård
Södra Cell Monsteras

Presentation: How to Create a Thriving Environment that Encourages Development and Growth for both People and Processes


Karin Dernegård is the mill manager at Södra Cell Monsteras, located in southern Sweden. Karin started her career as an engineer in a pulp mill and has held various positions within the mill including process development, production and operational excellence. Realizing the importance of engaging people in order to making a difference, she shifted her career focus to management. 

Karin is passionate about creating efficiency and development by combining technology with people.  


Ben Patel

Presentation: Role of Innovation in Manufacturing Industry

Dr. Patel has over 25 years of experience serving with publicly-traded, global products and technology companies, and has broad expertise in chemistry and material science.  He is currently Chief Science and Innovation Officer of WestRock Company, a leading global provider of sustainable, fiber-based packaging solutions. Prior to joining WestRock, he served as Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, a global manufacturer of specialized passenger car, light truck, medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires.  He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Tenneco, Inc., a manufacturer of automotive emission control and ride control products and systems. Prior to joining Tenneco, Mr. Patel held numerous positions with increasing responsibility, including senior scientist, at the General Electric Company.