Paper360 - November/December 2009 - (Page 18)

PROUD TO BE A PAPERMAKER much dried up in North America. In earlier years here, there was a love affair with innovation and the industry had a certain fearlessness and courage to try new things. “Today, too many people are afraid of losing their jobs and have become paralyzed in regard to innovation. I was doing some work in Canada recently, and was sitting with an executive at dinner after we had had an excellent evaluation (trial) at his mill. I was trying to convince him to go to the next step, but he said that he could not make that decision. He agreed that everything went well, and though it would save money in the long run, he feared it would cost his company money in the short term, and he just couldn’t take the chance . . . of being wrong, even initially, and possibly losing his job. “So he was paralyzed by ‘career fear’ and the pressures of making a wrong decision. I think that pretty well summarizes today’s pulp and paper industry in the U.S. If you happen to be wrong, you could lose your job. I believe this type of paralysis is why so many mills have closed here. People seem to be afraid of innovation, of taking chances,” Pierre insists. Ken Patrick is senior editor of Paper360° and editor of Bioenergy Technologies Quarterly. Contact him at kpatrick@ M AT S W I L L I A M S There’s no business like PAPER BUSINESS Mats Williams has a Hollywood passion for the industry INGRID BRESSLER ne of the world´s most developed clusters of paper related industries lies nestled around lake Vänern in the province of Värmland, Sweden. Altogether there are about 230 pulp and paper-related companies in this limited region, but their importance to the area hasn’t always been recognized. In the late 1990s, as local communities set out to identify the future business of the region, the f forest industry seemed O Mats Williams, president of The Paper Province 18 to have vanished from the map; a perception which troubled Sune Nilsson, manager of a local company who understood the power of cluster orientation in business. Nilsson realized that the area was filled with not just pulp and paper companies, but also related industries: machinery suppliers, chemical providers, engineering companies, consultants, etc. In 1999, Nilsson, assisted by Marianne Andersson, founded a Swedish cluster called The Paper Province, and hired Mats Williams as project manager. “It was exciting to be part of transforming ‘the old industry’ into a future industry,” says Mats. In 2003 The Paper Province became a non-profit association and Mats was appointed president. Today, it is a leading Swedish cluster promoting co-operation within the pulp and paper industry in the region of Värmland and surrounding areas. It conducts business as an economic association and so far 82 companies have applied and been accepted as members representing 8,500 employees, 100 countries, and 1.2 billion euro. “All the big machinery suppliers are represented: Metso, Voith, Andritz, GL&V,” says Mats. One important mission of the cluster is to keep development work in the region. In 2004, The Paper Province acquired Metso Paper´s development department and established The Packaging Greenhouse. “In cooperation with Broby Grafiska, an educational printing house, this gives us the possibility of quickly providing prototypes of new packaging models to the industry,” explains Williams. In 2007, the EU surveyed over 2,100 European clusters and identified The Paper Province as one of the top sixteen in innovation. This year the cluster celebrated its tenth anniversary and received a special honor when Mats Williams was awarded Opinion Maker-of-the-Year at the 2009 Swedish Forest Industry Awards. According to the press release announcing Mats’ selection, “Few people have created such publicity and attention for the pulp and paper industry and its importance. The Paper Province has become a well-known concept far outside the Nordic countries and Sweden. Mats is both a knowledgeable and result-oriented opinion leader, who put the industry’s weal and woe first.” Mats, whose enthusiasm for his job never wanes, has some big plans for the cluster in the future as The Paper Province seeks to expand its network geographically as well as within related competence areas. “This area will be the Hollywood of the pulp and paper business!” he predicts proudly. Ingrid Bressler is a Swedish freelance journalist. Contact her at Paper360º November/December 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - November/December 2009

Paper360 - November/December 2009
Over the Wire ... News Summary
Effluent Clean Enough to Drink
A Klass Act
Verso Awakens Maine
Twenty-Three Years of Bringing Students to the Industry
Marcal Rises From the Ashes
Buckeye Turns Lemon to Lemonade
Forty Years and "Still Doing It"
There's No Business Like Paper Business
Saving Energy at the Paper Machine
Low Alkali System Meets the Challenges of ONP/OMG Recycling
Around the Industry
Conquering Innovation Fatigue
Give Yourselves a Hand
Index of Advertisers

Paper360 - November/December 2009