A Broader Sustainability Perspective

By: Lindsay Key

Tyler Matusevich credits the Virginia Tech Masters of Natural Resources program with helping him to think outside the box—and also more about the box.

The 2015 alumnus earned a bachelor’s degree in packaging science in 2013 from Virginia Tech before deciding to pursue a master’s in natural resources.  “I wanted a broader perspective on sustainability,” said Matusevich. “In the packaging industry, we try to reduce materials to save costs in packaging, but the program helped me to better understand the environmental and social impacts too.”

In December 2015, Matusevich began a new position as a Sustainability Specialist at UPM Raflatac, a leading global supplier of pressure sensitive labeling solutions. In 2016, he was promoted to Senior Sustainability Specialist.

My job is to make sure that all of our resources are sustainably managed.

Matusevich oversees sustainability initiatives and training at the office in Mills River, North Carolina,  in addition to his sales and marketing duties. His role includes life cycle assessment (LCA), recycling initiatives throughout the supply chain, environmental and community projects, responsible sourcing, and development of sustainable solutions.

As a graduate student, Matusevich also worked at Virginia Tech as a teaching assistant for the Principles of Packaging course in the department of Sustainable Biomaterials, and also as a lab manager for the Brooks Packaging and Unit Load Design Center.

Matusevich cites the International Environmental Law and Policy class—one of four required core courses in the MNR program—as especially useful to his current position. So was his participation in the International Field Experience (IFE)  embedded in the program’s required Global Issues in Natural Resources course.

During the China IFE, Matusevich learned firsthand how one of the fastest growing cities in the world — Kunming — approaches sustainable development. Kunming is the capital and largest city in the Yunnan Province in southwestern China with a population of almost 7 million. Historically, it has served as a trade hub between Vietnam, Burma, and Laos.