CONFERENCE NEWS
Friday, May 30
''Round at Round we go… Roundtables that is!''
by Carmie Lato, PAPTAC
Both the Energy Reduction in Mechanical Pulping Steering Committee as well as the Mill Managers and Senior Executives held closed-doors roundtables.

As the event drew to a close, Gord Start (Engineering & Technical Manager, West-Fraser Hinton Pulpl) shared his perspective as to what he felt, as the organizer of the Mill Mgrs Rountable, were some of the highlites of the discussions, level of participation, and what common preoccupations Mill Managers across the industry share.

Discussions centered on health and safety best practices, shutdowns, and manpower renewal, recruitment, and retention strategies. “There aren’t many common preoccupations per se”, said Mr. Start, “as each company and mill is unique and faces its own successes and heartaches, however there are common challenges.” Planning for “where we’re going”, “how are we going to get there” and “who are we going to get there with” is a shared challenge that crops into many discussions. Another concern are freight costs, which are on the rise, and forces mills to re-evaluate how to deliver products to their customers, while remaining viable and competitive and constantly looking for added-value options.

Being able to bounce around ideas and discuss with peers strategies that lead to possible solutions is in itself an added-value…of being here, which will be taken back home!

Kim Madsen (Xerium), involved with the Energy Steering Committee Roundtable, and attending members, also agreed that roundtable sessions provide a good opportunity to engage in discussion, debate and learning with peers. It’s sort of like a support group of others facing similar challenges. Sadly, outages and shutdowns forbade some from participating, so attendance was a little low, but valuable nonetheless.