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Allen Turner graduated from NC State in 1991 with degrees in Chemical Engineering &  Pulp and Paper Technology.  We recently reached out to Allen to find out about his experiences here at NC State, his career and advice for current students.  Thanks for your time and your willingness to share.

Internship & Co-Op Experiences While at NC State:

  • Union Camp, Franklin, VA: Summer internship – Pulp Mill and Recausticizing Areas during summers of 1987, 1988, 1989
  • Black & Veatch Engineering Company, Raleigh, NC – Consultant engineering during summer of 1990, 1991

Favorite Class:

  • Dr. Jameel’s Unit operations class. The class was real life engineering with industrial unit operations. A perfect combination of practical experience combined with the theoretical engineering learnings from Chemical Engineering classes. The class bolstered my hands-on summer internship experience with process engineering experience.

Best Memory at State:

  • Meeting my wife at the Senior class party at Dr. Jameels house. That was 26 years ago this month and we are still going strong!

Worst Memory at State:

  • College orientation prior to Freshman year – the College of Forest Resources handed all the incoming Pulp & Paper Technology students a sheet showing their projected GPA at graduation. I believe my projected GPA was ~2.0. That was not a good day – but it did motivate me to prove the calculation wrong!

Clubs/Hobbies:

  • NCSU Club Soccer, Intramural flag football, pick-up basketball, all-star card player at Spades (or at least I was back in the day), camping out for Reynolds Basketball tickets, Student TAPPI, premier member of BMG CD club (all the rage in the early 90’s).

Favorite part of PSE Program:

  • My favorite part was feeling like part of a family while studying at such a large university. The Pulp & Paper faculty and staff made the experience waaay more than just college. With graduation some 25 years ago, I still consider those professors and mentors as friends today. In contrast, I don’t have any such relationships with the NCSU Chemical Engineering staff.

Most important thing PSE taught me:

  • The Pulp & Paper curriculum taught me the tremendous advantage we have as graduates entering the workplace. I see new employees joining our company and the amount of time it takes them to get up to speed with the pulp industry. In contrast, our NC State employees have been able to hit the ground running from day one.

Current career information:

  • Andritz Inc., Capital Sales Director

Years at current job:

  • I have been in Fiberline capital equipment sales since 1997

What is your favorite part of your current job: 

  • I love interacting with different customers, different mill locations, different cultures, and various mill challenges. Every day presents a new challenge.

Biggest accomplishment in your career: 

  • Selling the world’s first commercial scale biomass pre-treatment system. This took a lot of overseas travel in Italy (tough assignment 🙂 ) and quite a lot of engineering and negotiating to convince a customer to scale up from 1 ton per day to 500 tons per day.

Advise for Current Students:

  • Enjoy the moment. Connect with the faculty – they are your biggest advocates both now and in the future. Give back in some way to the program whether that be with time (Pulp & Paper Foundation activities) or money

What other positions have you held:

  • In my 25 years at Andritz and legacy companies (Kamyr, Ahlstrom, Andritz), I have served as a process engineering for pulping, washing, screening, bleaching, recycled paper, and effluent treatment systems. I worked as a field services engineer for complete fiberline startups (Alabama River Cellulose) and smaller upgrade projects (Lo-Solids Cooking). I moved into Advanced Process Control for continuous digester systems for about three years prior to joining the capital sales team in 1997. From 1997 to 2007, I was focused on managing capital sales in the Fiber line area. In 2007, I became part of an emerging Andritz BioRefinery group that was tasked with repurposing our technology to convert biomass to sugars. In 2015, I returned to Fiberline technology sales. In 2016, I was given added responsibility for Recausticizing Sales. As capital sales manager,  I have successfully negotiated projects in USA, Canada, Brazil, Norway, Finland, China, Italy, and Japan.

Personal Information:

  • Hometown: Franklin, VA
  • Family: My father (Ed Turner) is an alumnus of NC State (Chemical Engineering) – he was a long time contributor to the NC State Pulp & Paper Foundation. He is currently retired and living in eastern North Carolina. My mother grew up in eastern North Carolina and currently lives in Franklin, VA. My wife (Sharon) and I have been married 25 years (this month) and have one daughter (Emma Grace, 17 yrs old, upcoming Senior in high school).
  • Hobbies/interests: Current hobbies include “handy man” work around the house, leisure travel, pick-up basketball, and watching Marvel movies.

Any other comments or thoughts:

  • My wife suggested that I once again thank Dr. Jameel for organizing the Senior-Class party that brought the two of us together for the first time.  Who knows where I would be without the party…….

by guest blogger Winslow Gurney