The AIP asked the latest Certified Packaging Professional (CPP), Somayeh Shirdel MAIP, Packaging Technologist, Re4Pack a few questions about her career, packaging education and why the Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) designation is so important for the industry…

CPP_Somayeh_Shirdel_300pxQ1: How long have you been in the industry?  What are your areas of expertise?

I have 14+ years of international experience in plastic part design/manufacturing for variety of packaging solutions and in specific for recyclable packaging toward reducing pressure on our environment and create a sustainable circular economy.

After graduation from university, I started my career with injection molding tool and part design with the use of 3D modelling software, SolidWorks and Moldflow.   Being thirsty to learn, having a chance to be in manufacturing environments and working beside knowledgeable colleagues, I achieved a sound knowledge of polymer science and plastic manufacturing processes such as injection/blow molding, profile and blown extrusion, thermal and adhesive lamination as well as part assembling and converting machines for stand-up pouches, form fill seal (FSF), Bag in boxes (BIBs) and other kind of packaging formats.

My product design experience includes but is not limited to NPD for different kind of fitments and closures, intelligent packaging including extruded and laminated films.  Identifying fit for purpose film solutions and sourcing more effective layers and additives for achieving optimum performance in terms of high barrier properties, improved seal strength, drop height, puncture and perforation forces, tear resistance, flexibility and heat/chemical resistance.  I consider regulatory and compliance factors for food and pharmaceutical packaging and look worldwide for the most innovative providers of sustainable packaging and latest technologies in this sector.

Being a mechanical engineer, I have been actively involved in introducing new production lines, process control, laboratory tests and quality assurance services in specific for food/aseptic packaging, general troubleshooting and problem solving, cost reduction and more, during my career.

Q2: What made you apply for the Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) Designation?

CPP is a global certificate that not only tests your theoretical knowledge of packaging but also, the practical experience and achievements in this industry.  I believe that it says all after my name, and helps building trust for those clients, who reach me out for the first time.

Q3: How important is attaining the CPP designation to you as an individual?

Studying packaging technology and preparing for CPP exam, made me upgrade my packaging knowledge and learn lots of valuable information, especially in those area which I have less experience in, such as metal can and glass packaging.  As a packaging technologist, it is absolutely important to have a worthwhile general knowledge of all aspects of packaging to be able to make mindful changes to a current packaging styles and processes.

Q4: How important is the CPP designation for the greater recognition of people in the packaging industry?

As I mentioned in above, being certified by global packaging authorities; helps industry to better trust and count on a packaging professional.

Q5: Were there any new learnings or takeaways that you gained from the experience?

The amount of gain and learning is invaluable, preparing for CPP test.  It is less likely for a packaging professional to get master on all kind of packaging products as well as regulations and standards by experience.  But a general knowledge on each aspects of packaging, knowing the terminologies and resources provide the tools needed for further investigations when you need to work on them.  For instance, I have always been in charge of design the pillow bags for BIB applications, and my focus were always on the film properties when there was an issue at distribution or at consumer end.  Now that I learnt more about corrugated cartons, I understood that I could make a high level of improvements by few amendments on boxes for more efficient and reliable distribution packaging.

Q6: What next for your career?

Next  in my career, would be exploring Packaging technology in different regions and be more involved in the Packaging community.  If all goes well, the CPPL title would be the next adventure in years to come.

The Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) designation for the industry is offered exclusively through the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) in Australasia, the Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) designation is the leading mark of excellence internationally and a must-have recognition of industry proficiency and achievement for packaging professionals.  CPP credential demonstrates that a packaging practitioner possesses packaging knowledge, experience and skills to the degree that they deserve recognition as a true packaging professional; a cut above their peers.  Contact the AIP today to find out how you can become a Certified Packaging Professional.