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Paper Week Review: Looking forward to the future


March 1, 2002
By Pulp & Paper Canada

THE WORDS “cautiously optimistic” were often heard during the various presentations and activities at PaperWeek International 2002. In fact, just the hum of activity and the number of people at the Pa…

THE WORDS “cautiously optimistic” were often heard during the various presentations and activities at PaperWeek International 2002. In fact, just the hum of activity and the number of people at the Palais des Congrs in Montreal at the end of January, showed not only the importance of PaperWeek to the industry, but were also a reassuring proof of the revival of energy and plans.

During that week, the 88th Annual Meeting of the Pulp and Paper Technical Association, including the well-attended EXFOR 2002, took place. The Forest Products Association of Canada and the Pulp and Paper Products Council both held their annual meetings and Open Forums, attracting many participants.

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Rob Wood, executive director of the PAPTAC, said that the final attendance figures were very positive, given the state of the industry. While the numbers of exhibitors and delegates to the technical sessions dipped slightly, the visitors to EXFOR increased to 5 309 and the grand total for all of Paper Week International was a very confident 13 046. There were 465 exhibiting companies, including many participating for the first time. The expanded facilities at the Palais accounted for the perception of more open space while giving room for the sold-out number of exhibitors to showcase their products and services.

According to Glen Black, manager of technical services at PAPTAC, over 150 technical presentations in 29 half-day sessions were sponsored by PAPTAC standing committees.

Many mill managers from across Canada attended an outstanding meeting to discuss ways to make the forest products industry more attractive to investors. Following last year’s success, there was an open house for young people who are about to graduate. Approximately 60 students attended to hear an expert panel of mill people and the supplier sector discuss the careers available and the challenges that the industry can provide to graduates. Twenty-three people, in a first-time event, enjoyed a successful evening visit to the new printing presses of the Montreal Gazette newspaper.

At the awards ceremony and business luncheon of the 88th Annual Meeting, many special awards were handed out. Borje Wahlstrom was awarded the John S. Bates Memorial Gold Medal for his role as one of the key players in the papermaking industry over the past 50 years. His contributions to the understanding of the papermaking process and to the development of improved papermaking machinery covered all aspects of the process from headbox to calender. Due to ill health, Borje Wahlstrom was not on hand to accept the prize himself. Instead, his daughters attended the ceremony, and one of them, Dr. Wahlstrom, gave a moving speech on her father’s behalf.

The title of Honorary Life Member recognized Bryant Prosser for an entire career spent in the forest industry. Throughout his 50 years in the industry, he maintained a keen interest in the activities of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (now the Forestry Products Association of Canada). He was involved in the activities of the Woodlands Section from 1958 to 1963, and then joined the Technical Section (now PAPTAC) in 1964 where he served on three committees between 1964 and 1972 — Newsprint, Mechanical Maintenance and Materials Handling. In 1983, Bryant Prosser was elected to the Executive Council of PAPTAC, and served as its chairman in 1990-1991.

Plans are already under way for PAPTAC’s 89th Annual Meeting and EXFOR 2003, January 27 to 30, 2003, in Montreal, QC. Keeping up the momentum plays an important role, especially during economic slowdowns. There is no better way to meet key players in the industry, answer many of the questions that ultimately lead to improving the industry and learn about the new services and technology available.


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