ASPI Award Winners Announced

As a group that identifies itself as “The Forum for Connecting Industry Leaders,” ASPI strives to recognize great leadership within the industries it serves. ASPI offers two awards each year: ASPI Customer Executive of the Year, and the ASPI Excellence in Leadership Award. These awards not only provide recognition for the recipient, they also promote ASPI’s mission of supporting industry performance.

This year’s recipients are featured below. Both awards were presented at the well-attended ASPI 2018 Spring Meeting held in Hollywood, FL, in February.

Linda K. Massman, Clearwater Paper

ASPI’s Customer Executive of the Year Award
The Customer Executive of the Year Award is the highest honor that ASPI can bestow on an individual. This award is presented annually to a Customer Executive who has worked diligently within her company and with her company’s suppliers to dramatically increase the benefits the company derives from its supplied goods and services. This year, the honor goes to Linda K. Massman, president and chief executive officer, Clearwater Paper Corporation.

Massman provides the strategic leadership and management of the US$2 billion tissue paper and bleached paperboard company, which is headquartered in Spokane, WA. With more than 3,200 employees in the United States, Clearwater Paper is a premier supplier of private label tissue to major retailers and wholesale distributors, including grocery, mass merchants, discount stores, and drugstores. The company also produces bleached paperboard and offers services that include custom sheeting, slitting, and cutting.

Massman was elected Clearwater Paper’s CEO in 2013. She previously served as president and chief operating officer since 2011, and as the company’s chief financial officer beginning in 2008. Before joining Clearwater Paper, Massman was the group vice president of finance and corporate planning for SUPERVALU Inc. She has accrued more than 25 years of experience in corporate finance and business strategy development.

Massman earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of North Dakota and a master’s of business administration from Harvard University. She currently serves as a director for Treehouse Foods Incorporated and Black Hills Corporation, and previously served as the chairwoman for the American Forest & Paper Association.

Paul O’Bernier, International Paper

ASPI Excellence in Leadership Award
Established in 2010, the Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes outstanding leaders within the paper industry. The award honors unique and creative leadership of employees, company and key suppliers through major projects or ongoing relationships. Nominations are made by ASPI members of individuals they feel have demonstrated creative leadership in capital projects, mill transformation, grade changes, mill restructuring, and/or human resource management. Paul O’Bernier, International Paper, is this year’s awardee.

O’Bernier was born and raised in Everett, WA. He attended the University of Washington, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in pulp and paper science and technology, and the University of Portland, where he received an MBA.
O’Bernier has worked in the pulp and paper industry for 34 years. He started his career with Boise Cascade in St. Helens, OR, and later joined Smurfit Newsprint in Oregon City, OR. For the past 17 years, O’Bernier has worked for International Paper, and is currently the manager of the Board Manufacturing Solutions Group at the corporate technology center in Loveland, Ohio. He and his wife Jo Ann have been married for 31 years and have two daughters, Erin and Sarah. O’Bernier is an active member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Milford, OH, where he serves as a head deacon, growth group leader, and Sunday school teacher.

Nominate YOUR Customer!
Nominations are now open for the 2019 ASPI awards, which will be presented in February 2019. This is an excellent opportunity for ASPI members to recognize a pulp and paper industry customer that has achieved outstanding results at their facility or company. Registration forms are available at; please submit no later than June 1, 2018.

Recent Honorees
Over the years, the ASPI Awards have recognized some of the pulp, paper, and packaging industry’s top leaders, including the following:
ASPI’s Customer Executive of the Year Award
2017 – Michael P. Doss, President & CEO, Graphic Packaging
2016 – Steve Voorhees, CEO, WestRock
2015 – Randy Nebel, President, KapStone Kraft Paper Corp.
2014 – M. Jack Sanders, President and CEO, Sonoco
2013 – Alexander Toeldte, President and CEO, Boise Inc.
2012 – James A. Rubright, Chairman and CEO, RockTenn
ASPI Excellence in Leadership Award
2017 – Jack Bray, VP-Manufacturing Operations, Domtar
2016 – Don Forst, Director of CEMS, Global Sourcing, International Paper
2015 – Tony Hobson, VP and Resident Mill Manager, West Monroe, Graphic Packaging
2014 – Paul Duncan, Mill Manger, KapStone Paper
2013 – Sandra L. LeBarron, Director of EHS, Finch Paper LLC
2012 – Mike Edwards, Senior VP, Pulp and Paper Manufacturing, Domtar