Western Michigan University Coating Machine

Coating Course Instructors

We would like to thank the 2022 speakers and look forward to another great lineup in 2023.

2022 Speakers Included:

John Bergin – Sr. VP Global Specialty Paper, (Retired)

John Bergin

 Sr. VP Global Specialty Paper, (Retired)

  • John Bergin's Bio
    • 30+ years of coated paper experience in sales, manufacturing, operations, and business development
    • Also served on steering committees for energy, profit enhancement, labor negotiations, purchasing, and IT
    • Served as Director of Research and Development for Consolidated Papers
    • Co-author of several film coater patents
    • Tappi member since 1968 – served in many capacities including President of Research Management Committee
    • Member Pima Leadership Council
    • Member of Packaging Boards Strategy and Leadership Team

Gordon Bugg

Gordon Bugg

Senior Paper Making Expert (Coatings) for Kemira

  • Gordon Bugg's Bio
    • 30 plus years of coated paper and board experience
    • Worldwide responsibility providing technical support for paper and paperboard coatings to current and potential Kemira customers
    • Responsibilities include site support, process development and troubleshooting, training, and new business development - Areas covered include papermaking, coating, and printing/converting
    • Tappi Fellow
    • Retired military - 30 years Reserves

Meggan Hostetler

Meggan Hostetler-Schrock

Director, Applications and Technical Service, Industrial Ingredients, Primient

Meggan Hostetler-Schrock

  • Meggan Hostetler-Schrock's Bio
    • Over 25 years of experience in the paper/packaging and industrial starch industry Spent her first years as a process engineer, Team Development Manager, and Lab & Quality Manager for a Liquid Packaging Operation working on projects focused on improvements in safety, quality, reliability, and cost
    • In 2006 began her work with Tate & Lyle (now Primient), a leading starch supplier to the paper industry, supporting the entire Industrial Starch business unit in the areas of paper (wet end, size press, coatings) and specialty (building materials, adhesives, other) applications
    • Current team is responsible for technical support and development in areas such as lab studies and analyses (starch, wet end, coatings, adhesives, rheology modification, etc.), trial support, troubleshooting and problem resolution, as well as new product and applications development project pipeline for the Industrial business unit

Dr. Kecheng Li

Dr. Kecheng Li

Chair of the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering at Western Michigan University

Dr. Li

  • Dr. Li's Bio
    • Dr. Li received his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Pulp and Paper Centre at the University of Toronto, Canada; Prior to joining WMU, Dr. Li was a Professor and University Research Scholar in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, where his was a recipient of Merit Award (2008) and was appointed University Research Scholar by the UNB Board of Governors in 2011 and then 2016;
    • Dr. Li has more than 20 years of R&D experience in pulp and paper manufacturing technologies including paper recycling and paper for packaging materials. His areas of research interests also include biorefining for biofuels, nanocellulose, biochemicals; enzyme technologies for wood and fiber processing and wastewater treatment; and state-of-the-art surface and nanoscale techniques;
    • Dr. Li has co-authored with his students more than 100 refereed papers and book chapters, developed several proprietary technologies, and holds six US patents awarded.
    • Dr. Li has been invited by universities and research institutes around the world to give seminars in e.g., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Korea, and the USA, and by conferences and symposiums to deliver keynote speeches;
    • Dr. Li is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and has been appointed as an adjunct professor by the University of Waterloo and by the University of New Brunswick. He is also serving on the International Research Management Committee of Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).

Dr. Tony Lyons

Dr. Tony Lyons

Principal at Paper Lyons LLC

Dr. Lyon

  • Dr. Lyon's Bio
    • Received his Doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University. He also holds a Bachelors and Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University at Buffalo
    • Over 38 years of experience in the areas of fluid mechanics, paper coating, paper finishing, and mineral pigments for paper coating, paper filling, and other specialty applications
    • He retired in 2017 from Imerys after 25 years with Imerys and established Paper Lyons LLC for the purpose of doing science and technology consulting for the paper and paperboard industry.
    • Tony is an adjunct professor at the University of Maine and Western Michigan University. He is also a past chair of the Education and Research Committee of the WMU PTF Board of Trustees.
    • He has been an active member of TAPPI since 1985 and has volunteered for various leadership roles in TAPPI including election to the Board of Directors. He holds patents in coating pigments, coating applications, coated inkjet papers, agricultural applications, and barrier coating.
    • Tony lives with his wife in Lakewood Ranch. FL. They have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. He enjoys running, golf, tennis, playing guitar, and has recently taken up painting with watercolor.

Chalres Klass

Charles P. Klass

President Klass Associates Inc.

Charlie Klass

  • Charles Klass Bio
    • 55+ years of paper industry experience including technical and operating positions
    • In 1986 he became a consultant to the paper industry specialized in the coating, surface sizing, and development of value-added papers
    • Active in TAPPI and has served as Chairman of the Paper and Board Manufacturing Division, the Coating Process Committee, and on the TAPPI Board of Directors
    • TAPPI Fellow and has received the Paper and Board Manufacturing Division Award, the Coating & Graphic Arts Division Leadership & Service Award, the TAPPI Distinguished Service Award, and the TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal
    • Has 7 patents on papermaking and paper coating - research interests include development of recyclable barrier coatings, digital printing papers, high graphic quality containerboard, and lighter weight paper-based packaging
    • Inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in 2016

Jim Niemiec

Jim Niemiec

Product Innovation Manager, Verso Corporation

Jim Niemiec

  • Jim Niemiec's Bio
    • 50 years in R&D and product development, starting in printing and ink-making and subsequently in coated and uncoated paper for all print processes with Abitibi-Price and Fraser Papers in Canada, Consolidated Papers, Stora Enso, NewPage, and Verso in Wisconsin Rapids.
    • Responsible for digital printing product development. Project leader for production inkjet initiative and launched the TrueJet® Digital Coated Papers product line which received a PIA InterTech Award in 2011 for its contribution to the advancement of the printing industry.
    • Also developed several coated paper grade lines for the production color laser (EP) market.
    • Holds several patents involving printing technology including inkjet papers.
    • TAPPI PaperCon 2016 Chair and past Chair of the Coating and Graphic Arts Division, Technical Program, and Printing committees.
    • 2012 election to the Gravure Association of the Americas’ Gravure Cylinder Society which “recognizes individuals who have rendered outstanding or extraordinary contributions to the gravure industry” and the association
    • Received the TAPPI Coating and Graphic Arts Division’s Leadership and Service Award and the DuPont Soy Polymers Prize in 2015
    • 2017 election as TAPPI Fellow

Alexandra Pekarovicova, PhD.

Alexandra Pekarovicova, PhD.

Professor at Western Michigan University, Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering

Alexandra Pekarovicova

  • Alexandra Pekarovicova's Bio
    • Teaching courses in rotogravure, color management, printing inks, and printability analysis - research is focused on ink formulations, ink and substrate interactions, rotogravure and flexo printing, and printability
    • Works in printed electronics and functional inks formulations, and is serving as Ph.D. and MS chair for graduate students
    • Recently supervised MS and Ph.D. thesis in coating formulations
    • Authored and co-authored over 150 papers, conference proceedings, and eight patents
    • Has served as a vice president of research papers in TAGA, Technical Association of Graphic Arts TAGA board member for eight years

James M. Rennes

James M. Rennes

President, Global Technologies Consulting Services for the International Pulp & Paper, Converting and Nonwovens Industries

James Rennes

  • James Rennes' Bio
    • Recognized as an expert in drying systems and the application of innovative technology to the paper, converting, and nonwovens industries
    • Three plus decades of industry experience include technical, operating and sales/marketing management positions with Trane Company, American Can, MEGTEC, Advance Systems, and Spooner prior to organizing Global Technologies LLC
    • Has numerous publications on drying technology in the coated paper and paperboard technologies
    • Instructor for various TAPPI short courses, "Introduction to Pigmented Coating Processes", "Metering Size Press Processes” and “Coated Paperboard”

Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis

Technical Specialist Paper Coatings at BASF

Dave Lewis

  • Dave Lewis' Bio
    • Over 30 years of experience in paper coating applications and product development, encompassing the full range of coating components and processes 
    • 8 years serving as field paper kaolin pigment specialist with Engelhard Corporation.
    • 15 years of paper industry experience (Technical Director, Superintendent, Production Engineer)
    • Tappi Member since 1987

Brian Einsla

Brian Einsla

Senior Research Scientist in Paper Coatings at Dow

Brian Einsla

  • Brian Einsla's Bio
    • Earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Virginia Tech and Ph.D in Macromolecular Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech developing high temperature polymers for proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
    • Prior to working at Dow, Brian worked at Henkel on novel adhesives and sealants as well as Los Alamos National Laboratory studying the degradation of cations under highly alkaline conditions for electrochemical applications.
    • Developed many commercially successful latex products for markets ranging from thermal paper, coated paper and paperboard, and barrier coatings for packaging.
    • Recipient of multiple external awards due to his project leadership and technical impact on the teams that won an EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, three R&D 100 Awards, a Business Intelligence Sustainability Award, and two Edison Awards for ROPAQUE™ NT-2900 Opaque polymer used in Koehler’s Blue4est® thermal paper technology and RHOBARR™ barrier coating technologies.
    • Brian enjoys spending time with his two well behaved kids and one poorly behaved dog. He’s an avid tennis player and novice cyclist and guitarist.

Michael Paczkowski

Michael Paczkowski

Technical Director - Duroblade®, BTG Americas Inc.

Michael Paczkowski

  • Michael Paczkowski's Bio
    • Received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. After a brief two years in the chemical industry, he found his way into the paper industry.
    • In the 43 years since that time, Michael has had a wealth of technical and management experience in papermaking, coating of paper and board, tissue production and printing methods of various substrates.
    • Active member of TAPPI and FTA and has written and presented many papers related to, paper and board coating, printing, and the manufacture of creped tissue.
    • BTG and WMU have been important partners through the years with mutual support of our customers trial work. BTG has supplied countless coating blades and rods for these coating trials. 
    • In Michaels spare time, he enjoys DIY projects such as home remodeling, auto and motorcycle maintenance.

Jim Fogg

Jim Fogg

NA Business Development Manager, Barriers and Coatings, Solenis

Jim Fogg

  • Jim Fogg's Bio
    • BS in Paper Science and Engineering, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    • 38 years of Industry experience in manufacturing, Coating R&D, Specialty Product Development, and Business Development.
    • Specific experiences included multiple coater startups, Global coating support for International Paper, and Coating Barrier Development for the last 10 years.

Mark Miller

Mark Miller

Founder at Coating Tech Slot Dies

Mark Miller

  • Mark Miller's Bio
    • Mark’s first introduction to the world of slot die coating was in 1996, when he was learning the technology at 3M.
    • Today, Mark and Tim Marion own and operate Coating Tech Slot Dies, which supplies precision coating equipment.
    • CTSD provides education and consultation for improved coating efficiencies and increased coating capability.
    • Mark is a contributing editor to several industry trade journals and a frequent technical presenter at both domestic and international industry events.
    • More information can be found at www.slotdies.com

Steve Ottone

Steve Ottone

Technical Service Manager at Omya, Inc.

Steve Ottone

  • Steve Ottone's Bio
    • Holds a master’s degrees in Wood Technology from Penn State University
    • Job experience is highlighted by 10 years with various paper companies (Container Corporation of America, St. Regis Paper, Champion International), 27 years in the synthetic latex business (Reichhold Latex, DRSL, Mallard Creek Polymers) and, most recently 5 great years with Omya, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of ground calcium carbonate.
    • His areas of expertise include: Paper coating raw materials, formulation, application testing and finishing, Synthetic latex development, manufacturing, and applications technology, calcium carbonate pigments for use in paper coating and filling, and aqueous barrier coating compounding, application, and role in creating a sustainable future for paper/paperboard packaging.
    • 2020 recipient of TAPPI’s Coating and Graphic Arts Division Education and Mentoring Award for his years of mentoring our industry’s newcomers. Part of that mentoring has been participation in Western Michigan education programs, countless trials on the University’s pilot coater, and review of many technical works coming out of the University.
    • A very active participant in TAPPI; an endeavor that’s given rise to excellent technical interactions, creative problem-solving, years of conference programming and most of all a lifetime of close industry friends. For a young person just coming into the industry, this kind of participation can offer a much more satisfying career experience.

Prakash B. Malla

Prakash B. Malla, Ph.D.

Director of Research & Development, Thiele Kaolin Company

Prakash B. Malla

  • Prakash Malla"s Bio
    • Holds a Ph.D. in Clay Mineralogy and Clay Chemistry from Rutgers University
    • 30 years of experience in mineral pigment development and processing as well as paper coating science and technology.
    • He is currently the director of the R&D at Thiele Kaolin Company where he and his team are involved in improving and developing kaolin products and processes for improved paper coating and filler applications.
    • Additionally, he holds a Certificate in Mid-Management Program from Georgia Tech and an Executive Certificate in Management & Leadership from MIT.
    • Malla is active in the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI) and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including the chairman of Coating & Graphic Arts division. Dr. Malla received the 2014 Coating Division Leadership and Service Award and the Du Pont Soy Polymer Prize. He was also selected TAPPI Fellow in 2018 and Fellow of American Society of Nepalese Engineers in 2010.
    • Malla was also elected President of The Clay Minerals Society (2015-2016). He currently serves on the editorial board of Journal of Porous Materials and Clays and Clay Minerals journal.
    • Malla has authored and co-authored of over 40 technical papers including book chapters and holds 16 U.S. patents.

Dr. Lokendra Pal

Dr. Lokendra Pal

Department of Forest Biomaterials at NC State University

Dr. Lokendra Pal

  • Dr. Lokendra Pal's Bio
    • Received a PhD in Paper and Imaging Science and Engineering from Western Michigan University
    • J. Woody Rice Associate Professor of Sustainable Materials and Engineering at NC State
    • Over 19 years of global experience in the research and technological advancement of bio-based materials and professional experience in managing and collaborating with industrial partners worldwide.
    • Spent 9 years working with Hewlett-Packard Company. He has been granted 24 patents.
    • Director of NC State's Paper Pilot Plant-Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center, supported by the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII).
    • Co-founder of Tissue Pack Innovation Lab (TPIL).
    • Pal is highly engaged in professional services to several organizations, including ACS, TAPPI, AIChE, AIMCAL, and has been active as a speaker, instructor, officer, committee chair, and member. He was named TAPPI Fellow in 2021 for the recognition of his meritorious service to the industry

Course registration is open