Genera, a US manufacturer of domestically sourced and produced ag-based pulp and molded fiber products, has named Timothy Watkins and Tyler Winston to two top engineering positions at the company’s East Tennessee facility.
The announcement marks continued progress toward full production of Genera’s innovative Earthable® line of sustainable, ag-based fiber products later in 2020.
Genera will manufacture molded fiber food service products like plates, bowls, and takeout containers. These products will be fully biodegradable and compostable.
“Timothy and Tyler will work together closely to manage the technical knowledge and processes of the facility, so this is an important step forward for us,” said Genera COO Keith Brazzell. “We’re counting on them to provide leadership throughout startup and then engineer reliable and efficient operations. Fortunately, they’ve jumped in and already proven that they’re great additions to our team. They share our vision for the enormous possibilities here.”
As plant engineer, Watkins will lead all engineering activities for the facility, including managing capital project and operation activities and process engineering. Winston’s duties as production engineer include leading all engineering activities for thermoforming, packaging and associated areas. He also will manage capital projects, operations activities and process engineering.
Both Watkins and Winston will also be responsible for maintaining plant material and energy balances and process control, performing capital and maintenance planning, and long-term production scheduling, among other tasks.
“This is a chance to be part of something unique,” Watkins said. “There’s going to be a lot of hard work, but Genera’s also going to make a meaningful impact by introducing accessible sustainable packaging and also supporting local farmers. Tyler and I are excited to be part of it.”
Watkins, a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering, most recently served as plant manager of Twin Rivers Paper Company in Pickens, Mississippi, a job he had held since 2017. During a 26-year career, Watkins has also held engineering and management positions in Indiana, Tennessee and Louisiana.
Winston recently served as production engineer for Unipres North America in White House, Tennessee, where he managed installation and start-up of over 200 automotive robotic assemblies. He has held manufacturing engineering positions in Michigan, Louisiana and Texas, including at Georgia-Pacific, LLC’s Port Hudson tissue-towel paper-converting operations. Winston received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University.
“Genera’s already committed to a culture of innovation, cooperation and community engagement,” Winston said. “Timothy and I are looking forward to implementing that culture in our operations and production.”
In addition to the largest fully integrated domestic solution for ag-based fiber and food-grade packaging, Genera also supports the local economy through its partnerships with farmers in the area, who produce switchgrass and biomass sorghum for Earthable® production. Genera’s fiber production facility is expected to bring up to 120 new jobs to East Tennessee.