Women in Manufacturing: Tricia’s Journey to Leadership at Inland Packaging

by Avalon Miller

As we are in the midst of International Women’s Month and Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Month, let’s sit down with Tricia Sime, the Director of Product Development, Innovation, and Quality at Inland Packaging. We will cover her career at Inland Packaging, all things product development, and what International Women’s Month means to her.

Tell us your story at Inland Packaging and how your career has evolved since you joined the company in 2008?

I joined Inland Packaging in 2008 as the first Chemist on staff in the organization.  My primary focus was optimizing and troubleshooting our ink and coating formulations for both gravure and offset printing.  My role quickly expanded to R&D project leader where our team built the foundation and specifications for Inland’s IML and Blow Mold label formats.  As the company continued to grow through the years, my role expanded to include oversight of the R&D, Innovation, Quality, Compliance, and Technical Services teams.

Knowing that you’re a strong leader, what advice would you give to other women aspiring to leadership roles in the manufacturing industry?

Build your confidence through knowledge, understanding, and collaboration.  To grow as a leader in manufacturing, you need to connect with subject-matter experts – learn from them, expand your knowledge base, and build trust within those relationships.  Your knowledge and partnerships will take you farther than anything you can accomplish on your own.

How does the presence of women in manufacturing inspire you in your own career journey within the industry?

There were very few female leaders in manufacturing or technical roles when I started in this industry.  Over the past several decades, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with some exceptional female leaders within Inland (you know who you are 😊), our supply chain partners, and various industry experts.  They gave me the confidence and support to continue my growth in the print and packaging industry.

Turning to sustainability, what challenges and opportunities are you excited about in the manufacturing and/or packaging industry?

The biggest challenge facing the packaging industry in regard to sustainability is keeping pace with available technology, legislative requirements, and our customers’ sustainability requirements.  These three aspects don’t always move in stride with one another which poses some unique challenges as a manufacturer of labels and packaging.  I am proud of Inland’s commitment to sustainable practices in manufacturing as well as staying in front of this changing landscape.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

  1. Retiring on lake front property
  2. Snowmobiling in Utah and/or Yellowstone
  3. Salmon fishing on the Ketchikan River in Alaska