Manufacturing Today - May/June 2017 - 137
Companies are putting more effort into elaborate and
attractive product packaging, causing more paper to end
up in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper and paperboard account for 26 percent of all municipal solid waste. It can take centuries for
materials to break down in a landfill, putting a strain on
the environment and losing the opportunity to convert
some of that waste into moneymaking products. "This
is the only planet we know where we have life," Chakola
says. "It is our responsibility to take care of this planet."
When the first Maryland Paper plant opened in Williamsport, Md., the company produced 15,000 tons of paper in 1990, its first full year of production. A year later,
increasing demand pushed Maryland Paper to manufacture 45,000 tons of paper using the same paper machine.
Today, Maryland Paper has enough capacity to produce
250,000 tons of paper products, although its actual output is between 75,000 and 90,000 tons annually.
Paper covers 100 percent of health insurance costs - but
he also credits the slim middle management structure
that allows him to interact more closely with workers.
Each plant has an operational manager and three staff
members who are responsible for safety, accounting and
insurance claims, and all of them act as liaisons between
Chakola and the floor employees. "My nature is directly
with the people," Chakola says. "That also helped. We
have not that many medium -level managers, so the communications is pretty straightforward and clean."
Chakola says there is still an art to making paper products, which is why the company is so quick to protect the
jobs of its longtime employees. "Experience is still very
much important to us," he explains. "Losing an experienced person takes a lot of hard work to replace them."
Understand the role people play in building a business
is at the heart of what has set Maryland Paper apart in its
industry for three decades. "When I first started, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start a business, but even I
didn't dream we would get this big," Chakola says. mt
Currently, the company is investing in construction of
a new building at its Williamsport facility to house the
machinery to produce a new product. When the building
is complete, Maryland Paper will be able to diversify its
offering to a similar customer base.
Maryland Paper produces dry felt roofing underlayment and fiberglass impregnated paper for polyiso board
foam roofing insulation made entirely from 100 percent
post-industrial and consumer recycled waste paper.
Roofing manufacturers saturate Maryland Paper's products with asphalt to produce shingles that can last as long
as 40 years. Despite the lengthy lifespan, the abundance
of existing homes means that 70 percent of the roofing
market is focused on reroofing, Chakola says.
In addition to roofing, Maryland Paper manufactures
products used in packaging, painting, agriculture and
gardening. Its Chip Saver sheets, for example, are used as
separators for layers of product on pallets.
Maryland prides itself on its long-serving employees.
Since its plant in Shafter, Calif., opened in 2013, the workforce has turned over only seven people. At its headquarters in Williamsport, 65 percent of the employees that
started with Maryland Paper on day one are still with the
Chakola believes employees have stuck with the company because it offers good pay and benefits - Maryland
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