Allison Williams

2020 STEP Ahead Emerging Leader

Engineer II

Manufacturing is rewarding, yet challenging. Designing and managing a system that directly improves the efficiency and quality of a finished product gives one a sense of accomplishment.

Allison’s talent and drive have been evident from her first days as a co-op at WestRock. Now a full-time engineer with the company, she further demonstrated these qualities this year during a project at WestRock’s mill in Demopolis, Alabama. Allison spearheaded the installation of a new headbox, a $12 million project involving 150 people. Not only did she plan and manage the installation and work with the operations group on its startup, she led the electrical and mechanical equipment purchases—no small feat for someone who specializes in engineering rather than purchasing. Overall, it was a feat that the most tenured engineer might have struggled with, but Allison handled it expertly and with extreme poise and confidence. In addition to championing the headbox project, Allison has also led eight additional capital projects and assisted with several others.

Having been a WestRock co-op, Allison is glad to engage with upcoming talent. She never turns a co-op down when they need assistance, no matter how busy she may be. She regularly hosts co-op sessions in her office and ensures that all questions and concerns are thoroughly answered. Allison also sees to it that the co-ops are fully engaged with different mill activities so that they receive a well-rounded experience.

Allison’s mentees frequently note how well Allison helps them make sense of difficult concepts and processes. Lately, she has extended this skill into a volunteer position teaching courses at the University of West Alabama.  In this role she assists the university in bridging a gap between professors and engineering students so that they can receive an excellent and uninterrupted professional education.

In addition to these many responsibilities, Allison is a founding member of the Demopolis Young Professionals (DYP).  As a founding member, she has helped them with initiatives such as coordinating with the West Alabama Food Bank to provide weekend meals for food-insecure children. To date, the DYP has raised nearly $9,000 toward this program.