June 29, 2016  
Trim ribbon conveying for a more efficient and safer process Read the Valmet article
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Top 6 Coolest Things About the Paper Industry

Sarah Dawkins, Solenis

Sarah Dawkins, Solenis

TAPPI’s Young Professionals Division promotes the future of our industry by recognizing members’ creativity and drive while encouraging them to become more personally involved in the industry. As our future leaders and innovators, we’ve invited members of the YP Division to share their insights with Ahead of the Curve readers.

As someone who is passionate about pulp and paper, I think that the success of our industry depends on sharing our strengths and spreading our message. Here are my top six COOLEST things about the paper industry:

Trees are not just a raw material, but a renewable resource. We are committed to caring for our forest resources and utilizing them with the highest efficiency and environmental stewardship. It is in our best interest to preserve our world’s forests and maintain a healthy relationship with their natural resources.

As the world’s demand for forest resources shifts and changes, we must be ready as an industry to adapt to new markets and continually develop new technologies and products. The vast potential of our forests is absolutely astonishing. We live in an age where there are thousands of products currently made from trees, and the sky is the limit!

Despite challenges and downturn in certain pulp and paper markets, new and expanding growth in areas including tissue, packaging, biofuels, and nonwovens proves that the industry is built to last. New advancements in wood and cellulose products will continue to drive the industry in the future.

If you are looking for a job where you do the same thing every day, where things always go as planned, and where the answers are always given to you, then I’ll be honest—the pulp and paper industry is not for you. If you are looking for a career where you always get to experience something new, solve problems, and learn something new every day, then you just might find something for you in pulp and paper. We love a good challenge and enjoy problem solving!

Want to help your company’s new hires ignite their passion for the pulp and paper industry? Consider Onboarding TAPPI Young Professional Membership for your New Employees. For only $35 per individual, your company can subsidize this initial year of membership by including TAPPI Young Professional Membership in the hiring package. This facilitates a professional connection to enhance your new hire’s knowledge, experience, and performance in the industry. Click the link above or email yp@tappi.org for details.

I have been to more than 30 paper mills in the United States and Canada, and due to the vast network of people that TAPPI has helped me connect with over the years, I always feel at home. I love to stay involved with new graduates and have had the honor of speaking at several of TAPPI’s Student Summit conferences.
The one thing that I cannot stress enough with the students is that by working in pulp and paper, you are joining a tremendous group of people who are smart, successful, passionate, and fun to be around. The “family feeling” that I have with this industry is amazing and I believe this really separates us from any other industry in the world.

My passion for pulp and paper began my first year of college with the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation, and has continued through my career and with TAPPI. I can honestly say that I love what I do, and I really enjoy sharing this passion with other people. I know that others in the industry share this same excitement and I can always find someone willing to share their knowledge and experiences. I think we have all been at the mill on a Friday afternoon trying to keep paper on the reel after a bad day—but even so, we push through and look forward to the next challenge.

I believe that the pulp and paper industry’s success depends on sharing our strengths and spreading our message. Please consider taking the time to speak with someone outside the industry and share with them why we are the best industry in the world. Sometimes all it takes is just a spark… 

Sarah Dawkins graduated from the University of Maine in 2011 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. While at the University of Maine, she was very involved with the Pulp and Paper Foundation and served as president of the TAPPI/PIMA Student Chapter for two years. She was the 2010 PIMA National Student of the Year and was named one of TAPPI’s 2015 “Top 20 Under 30” industry professionals. Since graduation she has held positions with Nalco and O’Neal Inc., and is now a sales account manager with Solenis in Anderson, SC.

For a modest investment of $174, receive more than US$ 1000 in benefits in return.
Visit www.tappi.org/join for more details.