Thursday, May 29
by Mathieu Régnier, Paper Advance
Conference Chair, Brian Grantham, West Fraser-Hinton Pulp gives a short introduction on PACWEST’s 2014 conference theme "Improving Mill Results - Keys to Success”. He reminds participants that PACWEST is celebrating its fifty-second year with a program recognized for the quality and relevance of its contributions to the industry. “This program certainly stood the test of time.”

The PACWEST Technical Conference unites technology developers, representatives of the pulp and paper industry and the many suppliers of related materials and equipment (many golf enthusiasts, perhaps an equal number of hockey fans). It is important to “get the best value from these conferences” says Grantham. “Whether you are a mill manager or any other professional working directly in the pulp and paper sector”. It is in this spirit that the committee prepares the May gathering, and this, since 1962.

The Conference chair makes a point of underlying PAPTAC’s hundredth anniversary and alludes to “a 100 years of knowledge connections”. The 2015 edition of PaperWeek will build on these connections with a focus on operations optimization and product performance (PaperWeek 2015 from 2 to 5 February at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal).

Grantham expresses gratitude to all sponsors and partners for their generous contributions and support and acknowledges the work of the PACWEST team. He also acknowledges all of the session chairs. “Their voluntary work is invaluable”.

Keeping a Good Paper Trail

“There is a promising future for Canada’s forest products industry.” Program Chair, Stew Gibson, Catalyst Paper, takes the floor and also welcomes participants to this week’s kick off session. This promising future is in sight, but after a few difficult years, when the industry had to reinvent itself, Gibson believes it is the right time to implement appropriate transformational strategies. He highlights today’s speakers contribution in that regard. Proven management practices, insight into public policies and programs and reflections on emerging products from wood fibre are all on the menu. In this context, the role of new technologies is enormous and while facing associated challenges we should certainly keep a good paper trail to make sure we don’t forget the good moves of the past.

Gibson adds that PACWEST can also serve as a window to university-based activities and underlines one of this year’s novelty: the UBC Student Presentations session. “Linking research and innovation to mill manager’s daily challenges can certainly contribute to FPAC’s ambitious 'Vision 2020' goals.”

To successfully compete in a globalized market for wood and paper products, companies will need to count on teams more than brands, on people skills more than hard assets. These are some of the conclusions stemming from the morning session that followed these introductory remarks. Is this what Stew Gibson was thinking about while looking across the room at the snow-capped peaks above Lake Beauvert? Jasper National Park’s history, like that of the industry is rich with tales of adventure and exploration. While we discuss bottom-line results, fluid dynamics or electrostatic precipitators, our ancestors stood here wondering what the best route was to the West Coast. They needed canoes, grizzly management strategies and bushcraft KPIs but mostly, they needed fellow voyageurs that shared a same ambition.
1The official theme of PaperWeek 2015 is: “Optimize Operations & Products Performance”.