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Ron Brown graduated from NC State in 1969 with a degree in Pulp and Paper Technology, and in 1975, graduatedwith his PhD from The Institute of Paper Chemisty, in Appleton, WI.  We recently reached out to Ron 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 Corporation – Savannah, GA – summers of 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 – worked in Mill Technical Department and learned about operations of a large, integrated 3000-tpd pulp and paper mill.

Favorite Class:

  • Classes led by Professors Hitchings and Rogers.

Best Memory at State: 

  • Basketball games in Reynolds Coliseum.
  • Football games in the new Carter Stadium.

Worst Memory at State:

  • Having six 8:00 am classes Monday-Saturday freshman year, spring semester.


  • Fourdrinier Society (now student Tappi chapter) – served as President.
  • Alpha Zeta, Xi Sigma Pi

Favorite part of PSE Program:

  • Senior mill trip – southern tour of mills in North and South Carolina. Visit to Charleston mill impressed me positively, and I later started working there after serving in the Air Force and finishing graduate school.
  • Connections with companies that made summer jobs easy to get.
  • Pulp and Paper Foundation Scholarships.

Most important thing PSE taught me:

  • How to contribute in a work environment.

Current career information:

  • Retired

Years at current job:

  • August 2014

What is your favorite part of your current job: 

  • Flexiblity.

What are your current hobbies and interests: 

  • Spending time with wife and family.

Biggest accomplishment in your career: 

  • Leading a world-class research center and hiring many new graduates into the paper industry.
  • Winning the competition for an Advanced Manufacturing grant for Agenda 2020 to develop detailed technology roadmaps for the paper industry – making the case that the paper industry uses and embraces advanced manufacturing technologies.

Advise for Current Students:

  • Find a job after graduation that you will enjoy.

What other positions have you held:

  • Westvaco, MeadWestvaco – 32 years – 1975-2007. Started in Charleston, SC, as research engineer, then worked as process engineer on paper machine. Relocated to Laurel, MD, as R&D group leader. Relocated to New York, NY, and worked in Corporate Engineering and Corporate Research. Returned to Laurel, MD, as Research Director. Served on R&D integration team for Mead/Westvaco merger.
  • Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance, Washington, DC – 2008-2014. Led the Agenda 2020 program as Executive Director. Good experience working with multiple companies and government R&D programs, and with the American Forest & Paper Association.
  • US Air Force – commissioned after AFROTC program in graduate school. Active duty as development engineer in Air Force packaging lab at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH

Personal Information:

  • Hometown: Savannah, GA
  • Married to Debbie for 40 years
  • Twin sons – one in St. Louis and one in Dayton.

By guest blogger Allison Hellwig