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Diverse Career Paths

On Thursday, April 16th, 2015, Georgia Pacific hosted a well attended event to engage our students with current industry professionals.  Heather Smyth (a GP Board Member to the foundation) pulled all kinds of strings to bring in nine industry professionals ranging from Class of 2014 graduates to Vice Presidents!  Students were able to engage with in small groups with our Georgia Pacific Alumni and explore the very diverse career paths that Pulp and Paper Industry offers.

Freshman PSE/CHE student Mark Bedard- “I really liked the perspective that being in the small groups gave on the company as well as what our future careers might look like!”

Junior PSE/CHE Student Bobby Oglesby- “I was really impressed that two VP’s showed up and I think that really set the tone for the event.  I also liked the interaction with the new hires and learning what their day to day jobs involved.  I gave me great perspective on what I can expect when I graduate.”

The student advisory committee to the Pulp and Paper Foundation hosted this event as a second annual “foundation awareness” activity for students.  Everyone enjoyed dinner together and the students completed a multiple choice / true false test to assess their knowledge of the foundation.  Senior, Bryan Robison won a $250 bookstore gift card for scoring the highest on the test.

GP1NC State Alumni Participated

The alumni representing Georgia Pacific divided into small groups for more intimate settings with the students.  One group, with three recent graduates, talked about the early career stage; what surprises they encountered personally and professionally and what they would have focused more on in school for a successful start.  A second group contained MBA degree holders.  This group spoke about advanced degrees and what they added to a career, along with holding staff versus operational roles.  Our third group spoke about the different business units within a company (i.e. consumer products) and their experiences with roles that contained safety and environmental components.  Finally, Heather Smyth and Brent Collins, the foundations board representatives, talked about career progression to a mill manager position, the importance of supporting our foundation and how alumni can “carry the torch” within their companies when they graduate.  The alumni that participated include:

Jeremy Carter (Class of 2014) – Process Development Specialist, Foley Cellulose, Perry, FL

Brent Collins (Class of 1979) – VP-Mill Operations/Mill Manager, GP-Monticello, MS

Brian Hiller (Class of 2003, CHE) – Manufacturing Engineer, GP-Crossett, AR

Chuck Krecklow (Class of 1982) – Business Unit Manager – Pulp, GP-Naheola, AL

Ricky McNeil (Class of 2013) – Process Engineer– Containerboard & Cellulose Division Technical Services- Pulping & Utilities Group, GP Corporate, Atlanta, GA

Garrett Rocco (Class of 2013) –   Process Engineer– Containerboard & Cellulose Division Technical Services- Pulping & Utilities Group, GP Corporate, Atlanta, GA

Heather Smyth (Class of 2004) – Senior Process Engineer, GP-Big Island, VA

Dianne Van Valkenburgh (Class of 1988) – Senior Reliability Engineer, GP-Big Island, VA

Jeff Vermilyea (Class of 1986) – VP – Technical Services, Containerboard & Cellulose (CBC) Division, GP-Corporate, Atlanta, GA

GP2Alumni = Grateful Foundation

The foundation is grateful for all the students and alumni that came out.  Brent Collins commented that he was impressed with the caliber of students in our program.  Several GP employees were able to attend a final senior design presentation on Friday morning.  This also provided valuable insights to the presenting team.