Jim Brewster retired at the end of 2016 after nearly 44 years in the pulp and paper industry.
He received his BS in Chemistry from Portland State University in 1971 and began his career in 1973 at the Crown Zellerbach mill in Camas, Wash. He started as a cost accountant but soon entered operations as a kraft pulping and recovery shift supervisor. He held positions as kraft pulping and recovery superintendent, operations manager for the Camas modernization project, and assistant mill manager responsible for technical, engineering, and major capital projects. He led the economic and technical evaluations to convert two direct contact evaporator recovery boilers to modern low-odor design. These conversions were among the first of their type in the North American industry. He led the energy reduction efforts mill-wide which decreased fossil fuel usage by over 75%.
After twenty years at the Camas mill, he joined the Irving Kraft mill in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, as production manager. He provided technical and process direction for major investments aimed at environmental and financial improvement. Technical innovations included the first all-press brown stock washing system, moving bed bioreactor for bleach plant effluent treatment, and the application of reverse osmosis for removal of biologically harmful compounds from evaporator-combined condensates. These innovations, along with others throughout the mill, resulted in a pulp production increase of 25% and a fossil fuel usage decrease of 80% earning the mill national recognition including the Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment (CCME) Award for pollution prevention and a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Synergy Award for Innovation for the mill’s partnership with the University of New Brunswick at Saint John. In 2001, Brewster was named mill manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2016.
Throughout his career, Brewster focused on applying science and technical innovation to the manufacturing process. He worked diligently to bring technical understanding of the kraft pulping and recovery process to all levels of the organization. Brewster developed materials and taught pulping and recovery fundamentals from 1994-present at the Saint John mill contributing to the mill’s stability and prosperity. Continuing his love of teaching, he joined the faculty of the TAPPI Kraft Recovery Operations Course (KROS) in 2006 where he consistently receives top ratings from the students. He recently presented the course in Portugal with Dr. Honghi Tran to 78 students. Brewster desires to give back to the industry that has been so good to him.