Many years ago I took a trip abroad with my oldest friend, Lisa. It was a group trip and, as happens on group trips, the first night at the hotel my friend and I were seated at a banquet table with eight or 10 other travelers; we were from all walks of life and all parts of America, and we were all complete strangers.
Within the first 20 minutes, one of the gentlemen at the table—let’s call him Pete—had all the guests laughing at his funny stories and sharing tidbits about their lives. I leaned over to Lisa and whispered, “He’s a paper guy. I’ll bet you a million dollars he’s a paper guy.”
She gave me a quizzical look. “What do you mean?”
“Well, you know I write for the paper industry,” I explained. “I’ve met tons of people who work at pulp and paper mills all around the country, and… I don’t know, I can just tell.”
We decided to test my theory (after all, a million dollars were at stake) and at an opportune moment I asked. “So Pete, what do you do? I didn’t catch the name of your company.”
He smiled and said, “Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but it’s called Weyerhaeuser. We grow trees and make paper!”
Fortunately for Lisa we never shook on the deal, so I let her off the hook for the million bucks. And I’m still not sure how I knew about Pete. Maybe it was his manner: friendly, intelligent, interested in others. I didn’t notice if he carried any tools with him (a mill veteran once told me a REAL papermaker would never be caught without a ruler and a knife, which is why to this day I carry my dad’s vintage tape measure in my purse.) Maybe it was just a coincidence. But I really have met so many men and women in the pulp, paper, packaging, and supplier industries who share those same traits.
In this issue, I have the pleasure of introducing a few such people to you in our “Proud to Be a Papermaker” feature. We’ll also meet Doyle Simons, visionary leader of Pete’s old company and the winner of RISI’s 2016 North American CEO of the Year Award. We’ll also celebrate the centennial of Domtar’s Kingsport mill and learn the 2016 finalists for the prestigious PPI Awards.
There are many, many more folks with amazing stories and achievements working throughout the industries Paper360° reaches. If you have a story about your mill, your company, or someone you know in the industry, I’d love to hear about it; please feel free to drop me a note.
LARRY N. MONTAGUE
President & CEO, TAPPI
VP Operations, TAPPI
Senior Editor, North and South America
Senior Editor, Europe and Asia
Editorial Director, TAPPI Journal
INTEGRATED MEDIA DIRECTOR
[email protected] (352) 333-3345
BK Publication Design