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Alumni Spotlight – Larry Offill
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Larry Offill graduated from NC State in 1994 with a degree in Pulp and Paper Technology. We recently reached out to Larry to find out about his experiences here at NC State, his career and advice for current students. Thanks for sharing Larry.
Experience at NC State
- Internship/co-op experience: In the summer of 1990 I had and internship with Carolina Container out of Hickory, NC and Highpoint, NC. They are still a producer of corrugated board
and box products. They worked me through every aspect of the mill until the mill manager needed a golf partner and he took me out of the plant to play a couple times a week….and paid me. I knew then I was destined for sales.
- Favorite Class: I was a horrible student in the beginning and almost flunked out. After 1-1/2 semesters I took classes at UNCW as an NCSU student for credit only to get my act together. My girlfriend (wife now) was in school there. I managed to do very well. Returning to NCSU, they were beginning to get into actual curriculum classes. I have to honestly say I liked every class and from that point on, learning was easy. If I had to call out a particular class or two it would of course be Dr. Jameel & Dr. Heitmann. Jameel’s passion and personality in a classroom, and the opportunity to experience some real world application in Heitmann’s paper lab was the best.
- Best memory at State: Elizabeth Dole’s speech at our graduation at Carter Finley Stadium. A fellow graduate, from College of Forestry, dropped his gown and with nothing but a leopard skin thong, proceeded to the stage to bow before Mrs. Dole, after being chased down and things calmed down, Mrs. Dole graciously commented, “I told you this speech would be brief…., but I had no idea how brief things would get.”
- Worst memory at State: Feeling like I would never pass Chemistry 101. I failed it twice. To this day I will not stay in a hotel room with the #222 (as in Dabney 222). I cheated the system and took the next level of chemistry when I took classes at UNCW. My last semester senior year after taking all the chemistry in the world including some graduate level classes and receiving A’s I took Chem 101 in order to graduate. I made a C. Go figure.
- Clubs/hobbies: Kappa Sigma Fraternity
- Favorite part of PSE Program: Certainly the staff. Just look at the continuity on longevity that is within this department. This continuity doesn’t stem from tenured professors just punching the clock. It comes from passionate teachers mentoring and challenging young people. I am sure there are some other niche curriculum’s in the world where the staff and students have this close of a bond, but I haven’t seen it.
- Most important thing PSE taught me: Bernoulli’s Equation. The basis of every moving fluid in a paper mill. I also think you can break down the degree into on simple statement. “The ability to move a solid, liquid or gas from Point A to Point B in a paper mill.
Current Career Information
- Company/Job position: Upon graduating I was a lowly, drum kicking, snake oil selling, water treatment polymer salesmen. In 1998, I co-founded a company to manufacture wastewater treatment equipment and systems. Around 2005 we moved into mobile sludge dewatering with mobile presses and dredges. In 2010, we sold the company to a multi-national oil & gas company because we were set up in the shale plays around the country. I stayed on to run operations and left in 2013 to take a break.
- Years at Current Job: After taking approximately three years off, Kevin Jackson (CEO) asked me if I’d be interested in developing a Fluid Treatment division within EnviroVac to compliment the company’s existing services. EnviroVac roots were in the pulp and paper industry. I took the position in March 2016 and recently we made an asset purchase of a mobile sludge dewatering company to further our efforts.
- Favorite part of Job: I am not supposed to be out doing it, but I still like to be on the job sites participating with the crews. I started a company from scratch and I was part of the crew. We couldn’t afford anyone else. I still like hardhats, steel toes and being on the job with the people that make it happen. It is fun to me. If it wasn’t it would not be worth doing.
- Biggest accomplishment in career: Honestly selling out. I put a lot into it and selling out was profitable and has afforded our family to do things we would never be able to. I have been sincerely blessed and thank God for that. I have given back to the NC State Pulp & Paper Foundation a part of what it has afforded me.
Advise for Current Students
- You have already made the right decision. Follow through. Get a job. Be happy you didn’t go to Carolina and have to go back to graduate school.
- Hometown: Hickory, NC
- Family: My high school sweetheart, Leslie Looper Offill. We have two daughters, 16 & 18, the oldest attends schools at UNCW as a freshman.
- Hobbies/interests: For a number of years, I ran triathlons and completed the Ironman triathlons twice. Today, I collect and work on vintage motorcycles from the 30’s and 40’s. My wife, Leslie and I also like backpacking and have completed a good portion of the Appalachian Trail. We hope to complete it someday.
By guest blogger Mason Umlauf