Emily Young Tumbarello receives 2023 MSU Packaging Alumni Association Innovation Award

Emily Young Tumbarello, ’16 packaging, will receive the 2023 MSU Packaging Alumni Association Innovation Award at the School of Packaging Celebration on Apr. 20.

Emily Young Tumbarello, ’16 packaging alumna
Emily Young Tumbarello, ’16 packaging alumna

Emily Young Tumbarello received the 2023 Michigan State University (MSU) Packaging Alumni Association (PAA) Innovation Award at the School of Packaging Celebration on Apr. 20.

The PAA Innovation Award is given to an MSU School of Packaging graduate who has made a specific, definable contribution to the advancement of package technology. This contribution can range from the invention of a new consumer product/package to a unique manufacturing process or to significant environmental stewardship. Candidates possess integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the School of Packaging and the packaging profession.

“Michigan State University has given back so much to me and choosing to attend MSU was one of the best decisions for having such a fulfilling career so soon,” Tumbarello said.

Tumbarello is a 2016 MSU School of Packaging alumna. She came to MSU with an interest in engineering and was heavily involved with the Phi Sigma Rho sorority on campus. During that time, she came across packaging as a major and realized that career path had the perfect blend of science and creativity she was looking for. In her third year of college, Tumbarello switched her major to packaging and in that same semester landed her first internship with Procter and Gamble. After enjoying three rotations with Proctor and Gamble in various research and development positions, she was inspired for her next role in the industry.

In 2016, Tumbarello accepted a full-time position with Graphic Packaging International (GPI) as a new-hire in their one-year Sales Rotational Management Development Program, where she had the opportunity to share her own packaging ideas to the CEO. From there she progressed into another sales role supporting national beverage accounts where she was able to network and experience the GPI business. She then became manager of Development, meeting her true passion to work in innovation.

In this role, Tumbarello is responsible for working directly with GPI customers to take a concept to commercialization by leading and navigating all the necessary development, discussions, and tasks – both internal and external – to GPI to launch a new package successfully. As a manager of Development, she is leading a global multi-functional team with collaborators from Sales, Design, Engineering, Research and Development, and Converting and Quality.

With only six years working for GPI, Tumbarello is proud to say that she has been responsible for commercializing more than 15 new to market paperboard packages for some of the largest beverage companies, some which included new brand launches. This past year she played a critical part in introducing the first KeelClip package with Liberty Coca-Cola and helped to manage the onboarding for the first KeelClip machine placement in the USA – a key pillar in GPI’s plastic replacement strategy. Tumbarello’s soft drink customers keep her very engaged, and she is excited to showcase the ground-breaking innovation that is on the way, especially when it comes to sustainability.

Outside of work, Tumbarello passionately represents the MSU as president of the Atlanta Spartans MSU Alumni Chapter. In that role, she had the opportunity to speak at the MSU Peach Bowl Tailgate in 2021 and host some of our favorite football coaches for our 2022 MSU Atlanta-area Scholarship Golf Outing.


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