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Tue, Jul 23, 2024 22:37
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Management Side
On Jim's column, Procurement: Knowledge of the Use and Need

Dear Jim,

Thank you again for your entertaining and provocative columns. Keep it up.

As to your latest column containing the memories of 'wandering the millsite', it reminds me of coming to work in the 1970's at the world's largest paper mill located in Savannah GA. Not only did it have a huge number of pieces of operating equipment, it was also spread out over a large tract, covering log intake to boxboard converting, with over 5000 employees, they claimed, in this one location.

I came from previous experience as an electrical engineer at both corporate and mill level, but this was far more than I had ever encountered and I realized it. To become more familiar with both the production lines and operations and with the mill personnel, I asked my new boss, the plant engineer, to give me a project, in addition to what I was hired for, that would provide perspective as to what was going on outside my specialty area.

He obliged by giving me a wastewater containment (environmental compliance) project that stretched from the woodyard to the shipping department, really about 50 mini-projects that were largely civil and mechanical in nature. So every day I trekked from one department to another, meeting with the midlevel managers and supervisors to coordinate activities and outages in their areas.

It accomplished my goal of rapidly becoming familiar with the plant site, both grandly and in detail, in a short period of time. It also demanded that I become acquainted with a great number of the first level and midlevel supervisors. Later I realized that it also allowed them to become acquainted with me, smoothing the way for later interactions in both my engineering and my maintenance days.

But most importantly, I made some wonderful friendships that have lasted to this day, fifty years later! Friendships that might not have materialized in any other way. I am thankful for 'growing up' in the Pulp and Paper Industry in its time of greatest activity and with a host of unforgettable characters.

Thanks for the good advice that you employ in your comments.

Best regards, Tom Trueb


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