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PacWest 2017 is well worth the trip to Whistler

May 4, 2017  By Alyssa Dalton

May 4, 2017 – Mark your calendar for PacWest 2017, an annual gathering of the Canadian pulp and paper industry for three days of technical and business-oriented sessions. Organized by mill executives from West Fraser, Domtar, Alberta Newsprint and Zellstoff Celgar, along with the IBMP, an organization of industry suppliers, this year’s conference will run June 7 to 10 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in beautiful British Columbia.

Picking up on the event theme, Managing Resources for Success, the technical program will offer sessions on process control, bio-products and energy, recruitment challenges, emerging technologies, kraft pulping, pulp and paper making, and more. For junior employees, the conference committee says the short courses will help delegates improve their technical skills, connect with new contacts, and problem solve with industry colleagues. As well, senior personnel can engage in discussions that contribute to a greater focus on the challenges ahead and the keys to overcoming them. The committee says delegates often report they have gained an idea or solution to a problem that was well worth the cost of attendance.

PacWest will also host roundtable discussions for mill managers, maintenance managers, and pulp machine superintendents, enabling participants to come together and discuss common, industry-specific issues.


“Although this is a very competitive business, there is a strong co-operative atmosphere that pervades the meetings and conference discussions,” says Kerry Morton, second vice-chair. “There is an understanding that by sharing the experiences and solutions to industry challenges collectively we are all more sustainable.”

Delegates can hear from a diverse mix of industry experts scheduled to speak, including: Carlo Dal Monte, Catalyst Paper; Mats Nordgren, Valmet; Paul Saunders, Winstone Pulp International; and Shannon Huntley, FPInnovations.

According to conference co-chair, Gord Start, this year’s forum speakers either work directly for the industry or are a consultant or supplier “with considerable experience,” and will be able to provide insight into the tools and resources required to keep the industry competitive, innovative and viable.

Also on the schedule are presentations by UBC students, a staple of the conference agenda for the past several years. The trade fair, highlighting some of the industry’s latest innovations, will run during the first three days of the event.

Todd Hirsch, ATB Financial chief economist, will take the stage on Friday as the luncheon keynote speaker. For more than 20 years, he has worked as an economist at Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada.

There are several social events planned for the week, including the 5K Fun Run/Walk on Friday morning. A cocktail reception, followed by the awards dinner and dance, conclude the program that evening. On Saturday, attendees can unwind with a golf tournament and BBQ. A full spousal program is also offered.

Couldn’t make it to the 2016 event? Click here to read our highlights.

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