ND Paper honors employees who go the extra degree with 212 Awards

From day one, we knew what our greatest resource was: our people. That is way, every year, we recognize the some of the most outstanding work by our tenacious and dedicated employees. As the name signifies, the 212 Award honors those who have gone above and beyond in their work. When water reaches 211 degrees Fahrenheit, it is very hot. At 212 degrees, however, it will begin to boil. The addition of this one, single degree creates steam. Steam can provide power to many things, including a pulp or paper mill.

The contributions of each of the award winners demonstrates that extra effort, that incremental degree of temperature, which provides steam and power to our organization. Detailed below is the complete list of our 2020 outstanding employees as well as the statements of recognition for why they were nominated.

Winners of the 2020 212 Award

Biron Winners:

Calvin Grant, Auxiliary Operator

Nominated by: David Falk and Brenda Hudak

Calvin is a passionate leader of safety. Through his leadership and engagement with his peers, he developed and improved tools and resources which serve as guides and checklists in his assigned area. Not only has this benefited his work area, but many of the documents developed are now recognized as best practices in other areas of the Biron Mill. An example is his development of the Hand Tool SSOP. Because of Calvin, this Hand Tool SSOP is now viewed as a best practice document and was modified to fit specific tools in use throughout the mill. In addition, Calvin enhanced the Caustic Truck Unloading SSOP by designing a diagram showing a hierarchy of controls. He, also, converted the No. 4 boiler lock boxes to the new, corporate Box Lockout format. Calvin’s focus on safety and passion make Biron safer every day.

Brandon Roth, E&I Technician

Nominated by: David Falk and Brenda Hudak

Brandon is an individual thirsting for growth, knowledge, and development in his trade. He is never shy to dig in, learn, develop, and optimize systems and equipment. Brandon embraced the capital work associated with the B25 700-ton Pulper. He was assigned on the first project in that area and continues to demonstrate passion and dedication to see it through. His desire to understand the equipment has prepared him for successful troubleshooting on the systems. Brandon’s commitment to the success of ND Paper, the Biron Division, and his trade is recognized and truly appreciated.

Caleb Coder, Operations Manager

Nominated by: David Falk and Brenda Hudak

Caleb joined the Mill last fall and had immediate, positive impact.  He came on board with exceptional papermaking skills, along with a passion to pass that knowledge to the rest of the team. In addition, he avidly implemented best practices, systems, and processes that can take considerable effort, but will pay off long term with improved operations and reduced cost. He is a champion of excellence at establishing systems that will support and engage the entire mill team.  Caleb immediately stepped in to accelerate the start-up curve of B25 and developed a rapport with our China colleagues to help leverage their support for improvements. He utilized his papermaking skills to quickly solve issues on B26 that were causing both productivity and quality problems. In a short time, he has directly improved operating performance and is poised to do even more so as we move forward.”

Tim Kaczmarek, Boiler & Turbine Assistant Superintendent

Nominated by: David Falk and Brenda Hudak

Tim (Kaz) Kaczmarek has been a fixture at Biron for many years. He leads an area that is vital to mill operations, but is out of sight and out of mind for most of the mill team. The mission is to ensure that the anonymity that comes along with safe, reliable boiler house operation is maintained. He utilizes tools, systems, and processes to monitor performance and expose potential problems to correct them before they become big. It is critical that the entire mill adopts these practices to ensure that we remain viable in this very competitive marketplace.

Kaz fosters a department culture that we want emulated throughout the mill. He has also stepped up along with his team to be innovative and resourceful adapting to changes needed. That was exemplified by the ‘can do’ attitude his team exuded by planning and executing trials to evaluate the feasibility of burning rejects from the OCC plant in No. 5 Boiler. As Kaz nears the end of his career, he has really stepped up as a leader by example for the entire leadership team to help pass on knowledge that we must embrace to be successful in the future. Finally, layered into all of that is Kaz’s focus on safety and the expectations he sets for his team.  Safety comes first and Kaz is a champion of that. Kaz often speaks to the boiler house as ‘his farm’.  He personally takes ownership his responsibility to ensure safe, reliably operation.

Steve Raczek, HR Business Partner

Nominated by Brenda Hudak and David Falk

Steve is a very proactive leader for ND Paper. In his role, Steve demonstrates topnotch brainstorming and problem solving in difficult and challenging situations. Team members at all levels trust Steve for guidance and new perspectives. Steve’s leadership style of openness and transparency acts as a solid bridge of clear communication and information transfer. Steve’s presence at the mill advances our business through relationships, out of the box thinking and candidness.

Kirk Freeberg, Purchasing Manager

Nominated by Chaodan Zheng

Kirk Freeberg is tirelessly dedicated to his work. It shows in the attention to detail that he pays to every task and project. As the quantity of work increased, his quality of work has stated constant. He is intricately involved in the creation of a new professionalized purchasing organization at Biron, one that is solely focused on purchasing and the roll-out of “procurement planning” in our ERP system, starting with the B26 machine. The roll-out in Biron will be instrumental in our systemwide roll-out efforts.

Fairmont Winners:

Chad Knoll, Fiberline Specialist

Nominated by: Steve Demyon and Joyce Hardway

Chad Knoll started in Material Handling, then Upper Operations, then was promoted to Operations Team Leader. Serving in that role for 10 years, Chad’s outgoing nature and enthusiasm for mill initiatives made him a standout candidate for Material Handling Specialist when the role became available. Over the last 2 years, Chad has led the Lower Operations Department through staff reductions, increased wastepaper receipt and feed volume, and the startup of the new hydrapulper feed system. In his role, he continues to support the Upper Operations Department on tasks. In late 2020, he led the charge to remove all wastepaper from an external warehouse. Chad leads with a positive, never-fail attitude and takes every goal as a personal challenge.

Timothy Funk, Electrical Engineer

Nominated by: Steve Demyon and Joyce Hardway

The Fairmont Division would like to nominate Timothy Funk as a 2020 212 qualifier.  TJ came to work at the Fairmont Division as a Graduate Engineer and was hired as a full-time employee at the end of that internship in August 2019.

As a young professional not far removed from his college years, TJ was thrust into the electrical responsibility of the new P-2 heavy duty press install. He spent countless hours at the mill as a key member of the project team, planning the construction process. After starting up the machine, TJ helped troubleshoot drive and technical issues while learning and growing as we all worked to get up to speed with the new equipment. Following the press install, he also led the electrical portions of the disc filter and hydra-pulper feed system projects. These efforts were not free of mistakes, but TJ always made sure to dig into problems to find the root cause and correct. 2020 was a trial by fire, and TJ made us proud by having a positive attitude while demonstrating dedication to the mill’s success.

Chicago Winners

Rebecca Delbridge, Compensation and Benefits Analyst

Nominated by Patty Parra

I nominate Rebecca Delbridge for the 212 award.  She is an outstanding employee, a huge asset to our department and is very deserving of this award and recognition.  In the past year, we transitioned to a new 401(k) and Pension provider. Transitioning from the Standard to Principal has proved to be beneficial for ND Paper due to cost savings, improved customer service and we have gained a stronger strategic partner.  The transition was successful and went smoothly due in large part to Rebecca and her great organizational skills.  Rebecca not only assisted with gathering all the information needed for the transition, but she made sure we stayed organized by putting together a communication project plan and met with all stakeholders to ensure we understood project deadlines and milestones.  To make sure that employees felt comfortable with the transition, she put together an FAQ document to address questions and concerns employees may have.  She is very adaptable and flexible and is quick to respond to urgent needs when they arise. Towards the end of the transition, she took the lead on this project while I was out on maternity leave.  Despite the overwhelming amount of work that our department undertook this past year, Rebecca consistently finds ways to help her co-workers and frequently volunteers to undertake more work.  She often works long hours to make sure projects get completed timely and that all loose ends are completed within our department.  It is with great pleasure that I respectfully submit this nomination for Rebecca to be considered for the 212 award.

Kyle Nelson, Chemicals and Raw Materials Sourcing Manager

Nominated by Chaodan Zheng

Kyle Nelson has displayed a strong ability to ideate and execute cost savings in his role as Chemical and Energy Sourcing Manager. He led his lateral to MRO; a category that presents a different and unique set of challenges to tackle. He has started off in this category strong, pinpointing key issues. He also proactively led initiatives among colleagues in the restructure of our new procurement organization, procurement 2.0 = sourcing + purchasing + data.

Greg Sampson, Sr. Technical Customer Service Representative

Nominated by Matt Stapleton

The TCS team goes about their work in an unassuming way. The primary responsibility is to keep our paper sold while maintain or strengthening our relationships while in the pressroom or converting facility. An example of Greg’s hard work and dedication involves a case with our largest single sold customer, Uline and our single largest printer partner, Quad.  The challenge Greg faced was the mill delivered problematic paper over several months unaware of the quality issue. The result was Greg used all technical skill in troubleshooting the issue, used all his relationship capital to convince the printer to continue to run the paper, not reject all the paper on hand, allow the mill to trouble shoot the issue, and limit the claims to a reasonable amount. Greg needing to stand in the breech as the customer delivered their frustrations, keep his cool, and continue to work the issue working with the mill throughout the period. As this continues to this day with over 6 months into the issue, we continue to supply paper to the pressroom and the end user while continuing to get support from the mill and the pressroom. Greg Sampson’s involvement and participation has saved ND Paper money on the claims submitted, saved the relationship with the pressroom, and has allowed the mill to fully understand the issue’s root cause and allowed for future sales. His value brought on this particular event is almost incalculable.

Dayton Winners:

Timothy (Tim) Barclay, IT Sr. Analyst

Nominated by Sheryl Anderson, Don Guay and Leslee Sowers

Tim’s knowledge of ND Paper’s business and process control network, operations and mechanical environment make him invaluable across our corporation. He understands what his knowledge and support brings to a project while taking the time to work with many groups across the company. Tim is constantly pulled in many directions at the same time and still manages to support IT and capital projects on track and under budget. He has been a key player in the packaging project helping Sam work with vendors across the plant and machinery.  We would not be where we are today on many of the projects without Tim’s support.

Stefanie Walker, Logistics Coordinator 

Nominated by Becky Frame

Early 2020, brought forth a multitude of challenges. It also offered a spotlight on certain individuals at ND Paper, highlighting exemplary work ethic, willingness to adapt, and passion to see our company thrive.

Stefanie Walker is an employee of excellence. Having excelled in the Damage Prevention role for a relatively short time, she took a chance when we opened up a new Logistics Coordinator position. During her interview it was explained that this position would be responsible for taking lead on running the team’s fledgling Inbound Freight process. At the time there were many unknowns, a huge amount of work to be done, and many opportunities to build new relationships.

Stefanie was undaunted and greeted the challenges head on. Where others may have used a lack of hands-on logistics experience as a handicap, she asked questions and learned to stand on her own at a pace that kept things moving. She soon became the unofficial lead on the project, managing relationships with new carriers and fielding massive email volume from our buyers and suppliers.

Any start up requires more time and attention in the beginning. To make sure we were servicing our mills the best way possible while building the process to do so, Stefanie worked extra hours, took on additional responsibilities, and found ways to better utilize her time efficiently. Just six months after joining the logistics team, Stefanie has ensured that we have processes in place not only to run the business but run it while striving to beat our previous performance in service and cost.

Rosemary Peters, Sr. Customer Account Representative

Nominated by Linda McClinchy

Rosemary Peters has excelled in the Customer Service role.  Her positive attitude and willingness to take on new opportunities really shone through in her hard work.

COVID introduced unanticipated challenges to the business in 2020.  It required us to be nimble, to respond to those changes, and the Customer Service team was at the epicenter of the business changes.

Rosemary responded with a smile.  On any given day while dealing with supply chain issues or customer requests, she will tell you that she is “great”! Rosemary epitomizes being a strong teammate. In addition to her previously assigned responsibilities, she has taken on a number of new accounts due to the workforce reduction in the Customer Solutions team.  She also is our business lead on EDI, and she took on material master data for SAP where she created >2,000 SKU’s (ZMAT’s in SAP lingo) during 2020.  This is all unsung “behind the scenes” work to keep the orders process flowing. She also received rave reviews from customers. There were so many positive reviews that the sales team provided a recommendation that Rosemary be a 2020 nominee for the award.

Old Town Winners

Suzelle Allain, Human Resources Manager

Nominated by Craig Kerschner

Suzelle is focused on the mill team and providing the necessary tools and information for overall success. She has a strong sense on how to move the mill employee processes forward and build a team that effectively works together making significant improvements. If her actions were just in the “standard” human resources department responsibilities that she was hired to oversee, they would still be impressive. However, since she started working at the Old Town Mill, she led efforts in the training initiative, taken on the mill security responsibilities, and added safety manager to her daily responsibilities.  The quality and volume of work accomplished by herself and her team is impressive.  Her strong attributes of focus and vision has made these areas more successful.

Tyler Poll, Shift Supervisor

Nominated by Craig Kerschner

Tyler has played a critical role in assisting the mill in moving the needle forward in our Training & Safety departments.  When Tyler started with us in 2019, he took on many roles and projects. He done an exceptional job and has accepted every challenge presented to him. Tyler is always willing to help when we need his assistance.  We all appreciate his hard work and dedication.

Rumford Winners:

Michael (Mike) Legere, Process Control Engineer

Nominated by Mike Brenner

Mike is the hardest working and most dedicated individual. With his role in the control upgrade project on 39 Winder, Mike put in countless overtime, including weekends and Holidays, to make sure the project was completed and optimized. On shutdown days, he sees the outage through and makes sure it is done properly.  Mike’s knowledge of the R-15 is complex and extensive. His due diligence in troubleshooting allows him to catch errors before they happen.  Mike has been a great asset to the operators’ job functions through his use of startup screens in the DCS. This guides the operators on how to start up critical processes.  He has also created help screens which quickly guide the operators to identify problems or understand why things are not working as designed. Mike is a quiet and humble person but his contributions to the R-15 team cannot be overstated.

Daphne Doughty, HR Business Partner

Nominated by Janet Koski

Daphne Doughty goes above and beyond in everything she does; production scheduling, to assisting with developing and implementing training guides, to executing LIFO, and more.  She works tirelessly to ensure schedules are filled and has a great rapport with employees. She also learned the training module in Ulti-Pro and created usable training guides that are used to qualify employees for jobs.  She also works with supervisors and employees on implementing those guides, as designed.  Daphne is a tremendous team player and never refuses to take on additional tasks/assignments to help the group and organization.

Kelly Berry, Plant Controller

Nominated by Kenneth Li

Kelly did an outstanding job in delivering a high-quality decision support for the mill operations. As a mill controller for both Rumford and Old Town, she led a financial accounting team by supporting operations, completing the monthly closing for the 2021 business plan on time, and analyzing financial results to identify cost improvement. Furthermore, Kelly led a complex financial analysis studying various scenarios to support profit improvement on Rumford 2.0 transformation to further expand into packaging grades. Kelly is results driven and provided exceptional support to the management team and added great value to the success of ND Paper.

Kelli Carrier, Wood Supply Analyst

Nominated by Dave Harvey

Kelli has assumed multiple roles, tasks, and responsibilities with staffing reduction in the department. She is the person of contact for the wood vendors from a payment standpoint. Being the resident LIMS expert has made her the OCC subject matter expert on the DLK purchasing and transactions. Kelli is conscientious about data and payment accuracy, following policies, procedures and SOX requirements. She provides a significant foundation to the Fiber Supply group.

Yrral Yates, NE Finishing Operator A

Nominated by: Trevor Varney

Yrral is a quiet leader and is well respected. He is proactive in his work approach and accomplishments in the Finishing Room. He always has a good, positive attitude and outlook.  He is a pleasure to work with.

Craig Jewett, Maintenance PSK Level 5

Nominated by Don St. Germain

Craig’s maintenance work demonstrates that he is incredibly skilled and focused on precision. His positive attitude exudes ‘can do’ nature at all times and he has an exceptional mechanical knowledge. Craig was instrumental in the maintenance side of shoe press installation on R10. Craig is unwilling to leave a job at ‘good enough’.

Lee Arsenault, E&I Specialist

Nominated by Don St. Germain

When there are difficult issues involving drives or electrical equipment, especially on antiquated equipment, Lee is always the “go to” person. Lee is the silent leader in our highly skilled E&I work group and he is frequently sought out for his topnotch knowledge and expertise. Lee is respected by all and has been a key resource, especially on the paper machines.

Sturtevant Winner:

Anthony Nguyen, Maintenance Technician

Nominated by John Parent

Anthony has a positive attitude. He opens the plant up every day with a smile on his face and does not have the word ‘no’ in his vocabulary.  When Anthony is challenged with a new project, he finds a way to complete it safely, in a timely manner, and is willing to work overtime to get the job done. He is incredibly efficient with resources and utilizes the tools needed to get the job done.

Scroll to Top