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Jeff Buchanan graduated from NC State in 1994 with a dual degree in Pulp & Paper Technology and Chemical Engineering.   We recently reached out to Jeff to find out about his experiences here at NC State, his career and advice for current students.  Thanks for sharing Jeff!

  • Internship/Co-Op Experience:  Jackson Paper Manufacturing Company, Sylva, NC- Summer 1991, P. H. Glatfelter Company, Pisgah Forest, NC- Summer 1992, Champion Paper Company, Canton, NC- Summer 1993.
  • Favorite Class:  PPT 215 and PPT 216, Intro to papermaking and Intro to pulping.  We were first introduced to the pulp and papermaking processes in these classes.  Dr. Chang in pulping and Dr. Heitman in paper. In fact, the program did a great job building interest in pulp and paper with each class.  Junior and Senior classes were great too.  I enjoyed chemistry so I enjoyed wood chemistry and outside of Pulp and Paper, I enjoyed Organic Chemistry.  Dr. Ollis’ reactor design class in Chemical Engineering was a great, practical class.
  • Best memory at State:  Lots of great memories!  I was in Alpha Gamma Rho so lots of great times at games, tailgating, and other fraternity outings.  My girlfriend (now wife) was a year behind me in ChE.  We had lunch together a couple of times per week at Brother’s Pizza.  We still try to have lunch together anytime we can fit it in.
  • Worst memory at State:  I waited until my last semester to take PChem. That was a mistake. I ended up doing fine in the class but I sweated every test because that class stood between me at graduation!  Not many other bad memories.
  • Clubs/hobbies:  Alpha Gamma Rho, Interfraternity Council President in 1992 – 1993, this was a great leadership opportunity.  I was on a student council that met with Chancellor Monteith every month, they were great meetings and he truly listened to the students.  Lots of intermural sports- All Campus Softball champions one year!  TAPPI/PIMA and AICHE.
  • Favorite part of PSE Program:  It was a family from the beginning.  The Professors truly cared about the students, that included Ben Chilton… he was a great “matchmaker.”   He got to know every student and made sure there was an intern that fit their desires and personality.  We worked hard and had fun too. I was a TA for Dr. Heitman my last semester, that was a great experience.
  • Most important thing PSE taught me:  PSE taught work ethics from day one.  Work hard in class and internships and after graduation you will be rewarded.

Current Career Information

  • Company/Job position:  UPM Raflatac, Director of Sales, Western US and Canada.
  • Years at Current Job: November, 2015
  • Favorite part of Job:  I work for a great company with a really interesting customer base.  Our customers are label printing companies and are everything from small husband & wife operations to multinational billion dollar turnover companies.  In many cases, we are dealing with families who are running multigenerational businesses.  It is also interesting to be at the point I am in the value chain for a global pulp and paper company.  UPM values our business and is a good parent company.
  • Biggest accomplishment in career:  Moving into a Global role was a big accomplishment to me.  I had never left the U.S. until well after NC State and didn’t think global sales or travel would ever be an interest.  Being able to go abroad and be successful in sales gave me a good sense of accomplishment.  Whether in Thailand, China, Europe, or the U.S., the same thing is true- people buy from people they like and trust.
  • Advice for Current Students:  Get as much work experience as you can in school and don’t overlook any opportunities.  Make sure you find a career that fits your personality and have fun in everything you do.

Personal Information

  • Hometown:  Hendersonville, NC
  • Family:  Wife of 21 years- Kelley. ChE 1995.  Daughter, Sarah 16 year old, junior in high school, planning to do Engineering on the way to Medical school.  Son, Samuel, 15 year old freshman in high school and he hopes to be a future CNR student!
  • Hobbies/interests:  My hobbies are anything outside.  Golf, hunting, fishing, hiking.  I enjoy sports of all kinds and watching my favorite teams- daughter’s volleyball teams and son’s baseball teams.
  • Any other comments to share:  Don’t take the opportunity you have to gain a PSE degree for granted.  You are learning a life skill that will allow you to support your families, and if you are successful- many other families.  In my role, there are many families that depend on me and my team selling our products.

By guest blogger Ryan Lee