Papermaker Spotlight: Siva Mudigonda

Innovative thinking + customer focus = good chemistry.

Upon earning his Ph.D. in chemistry, Siva Mudigonda never considered the paper industry as a target in his initial job search. After all, what does paper have to do with chemistry?

But when Mudigonda noticed that a paper manufacturing company in Chillicothe, Ohio, was looking for a scientist to join its developmental group, he was surprised to learn about the advanced levels of chemistry taking place at the mill. He signed on as a senior research scientist in 2003 and hasn’t looked back.

Now as manager of new products for Glatfelter’s Specialty Papers Business Unit, Mudigonda leads a 10-person research group. The team of chemists, chemical engineers, and technicians develops innovative new products such as Pixelle® Enhanced, the high-speed inkjet paper product recently released by Glatfelter.

Mudigonda enjoys expanding the functionality and enhancing the performance of carbonless products and other papers so that they work well for new applications including digital and inkjet presses. Every day and every concept calls for innovative thinking in the quest for the perfect chemistry.

Mudigonda insists that “once you’re aligned with the customer’s need, everything else falls into place.” Maintaining speed to market, keeping cost levels low, and making products consistently with little waste are all parts of his customer-centric focus.

In the end, Mudigonda credits the group of “go-getters” he works with at Glatfelter.

“Both Spring Grove and Chillicothe have a fantastic set of people—not just in terms of personalities, but in terms of their skill sets and experience,” he says. “It’s a great place to work.”