By DAN HEATH Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Georgia-Pacific recently marked the 50th anniversary of its Plattsburgh mill.
General Manager Kirk Stallsmith, who also manages Georgia-Pacific’s Day Street mill in Green Bay, Wisc., said Plattsburgh has a special place in the company’s history.
“This was the first Georgia-Pacific tissue facility,” he said of the mill, which was acquired from Vanity Fair Paper in 1963.
Employees served lunch to more than 300 people, mainly of them retirees and their families. It is the 11th year they have held a retiree appreciation lunch, Stallsmith said.
A number of company officials, including Retail Tissue Business Vice President/General Manager Fernando Gonzalez and Retail Products Manufacturing Vice President Kelly Wolff, attended the event. They brought a plaque signed by Georgia-Pacific CEO James Hannan.
Gonzalez said Plattsburgh has been a manufacturer of the products in his portfolio throughout his career with the company. That included Vanity Fair napkins, when he headed the Tabletop Division; Sparkle paper towels, when he led the Paper Towel Division; and now Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, as heads the Tissue Division.
Wolff told the employees they should be proud to make a product that people use every day and noted that they are an important part of the Plattsburgh community.
Also present at the event was former Mill Manager Karen Dickinson, who retired from Georgia-Pacific on July 1. She was presented a framed collection of sketches of the five mills where she served as manager, including Plattsburgh.
Mike Penfield, slated to take over as operations manager in September, was on hand, as well. He worked at the Plattsburgh mill, then spent the last eight years in Atlanta.
Penfield will replace Tim Boshart, who left to become vice president of operations at Mold Rite Plastics earlier this year.
Penfield has a lot of knowledge of the Plattsburgh operation, Stallsmith said, which will be a great help, as he will have to split his time between the two mills.
The Plattsburgh mill often serves as a feeder mill where employees can move up the ladder at to the Georgia-Pacific locations, Stallsmith said.
The Plattsburgh mill presently has about 150 employees, Stallsmith said.
It produces the company’s top-of-the-line bathroom tissue, Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, as well as the Kirkland Signature line for Costco.
Stallsmith said the 50th anniversary is a testament to the tremendous group of employees in Plattsburgh. Those employees are not afraid to speak up if they see a way to do things better, which helps the sustainability of the facility, he said.
“I sincerely appreciate the loyalty and dedication that our former and current employees have to produce some of what I believe are the best products on the market with quality and safety. They have a strong sense of doing the right things.
“That has made my time in Plattsburgh very enjoyable and very rewarding also.”
City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak said the commitment Georgia-Pacific made to the city 50 years ago has made it a better place in which to live and work.
“The company is of the North Country and we hope they continue to have a presence here for a long time,” he said. “As mayor, I truly appreciate the many relationships I’ve made with their management and employees. I’ve always been proud of their commitment to the community.”
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