By Kristina Urquhart
The future of pulp and paper looks bright.
Armed with a strong work ethic, initiative, curiosity, and a commitment to training and safety, the 2021 winners of our Top 10 Under 40 program are setting the bar for young professionals across the industry in management, operations, maintenance, sales, support and research.
To highlight the achievements of each individual selected for the Top 10 Under 40 list, Pulp & Paper Canada will feature one of 2021’s winners every week for the next 10 weeks. Nominations for the 2022 contest open at the end of the year.
In our final week, we introduce Leonardo Gomez, project coordinator for Mercer Peace River Pulp in Peace River, Alta.
When Gomez, 32, joined Mercer’s Peace River mill in August 2015 as a junior project engineer-in-training (EIT), he was quick to impress the team, says supervisor Allison Quinney.
Gomez was fresh off a stint as an EIT in the energy sector, having completed his mechanical engineering technologist diploma at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Lakehead University.
“Leo presented himself as a high achiever with a passion for learning and drive for success,” Quinney says. “He has a keen ability to turn concepts and ideas into fruition based on methodical evaluation of various options, weigh the benefits and risk, and then apply this same methodology in execution.”
As a result, Gomez identifies “the opportunity for the organization while mitigating financial risk exposure and optimizing net benefit,” says Quinney. “This same approach has positioned him well to adapt to adverse conditions and determine the best outcome when faced with unexpected challenges, particularly in light of imminent construction deadlines during annual shutdowns.”
This we’ll-find-a-way attitude is what has carried Gomez through to his designation as a Professional Engineer, management of projects up to $5 million, and assistance on an ongoing overhaul of the mill’s wood room. It’s also led him to dip into the fibre handling side, where he bridges projects and operational reliability, and to work on acquiring his Project Management Professional certification.
“Leo is a driven, dedicated and energetic team member who is always willing to go the extra mile to seek innovation, more responsibility and ways to deliver value to the MPR organization,” says Quinney.