C. Wayne Bucher graduated from NC State in 1977 with a degree in Pulp & Paper Technology. We recently reached out to Wayne 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:
- Summers of 1973 and 1974 – Evadale Texas pulp and papermill, vacation relief for hourly production lines
- Summer of 1975 – Weyerhaeuser at Idabel, OK – general technical dept projects
- Summer of 1976 – Weyerhaeuser at Plymouth, NC – general technical dept projects
- Unit operations for pulp and paper manufacturing, where lecture and labs complemented each other.
Best Memory at State:
- Meeting my wife Anita. We have been happily married now for over 40 years. From a different perspective; was my naively rebuilding my ailing car’s carburetor on the dorm room desk in between fall final exams, and then making the drive home to Texas and back over Christmas break without any problems!
Worst Memory at State:
- The fast hike to make classes on time at different corners of the campus. Long hours of study, and trying to find a quiet place to stay focused (i.e. usually not my dorm room!)
Favorite part of PSE Program:
- Having small classes and practical labs, which helped us become good friends as we went through the program together.
Most important thing PSE taught me:
- Hard work is an expected component to success. Be consistent and honest with yourself, as well as those you work with and for.
Current career information:
- WB Consulting Inc. That’s me – Wayne Bucher. I represent a couple of companies, helping with marketing, technical support, etc. Occasionally I also take short-term independent consulting assignments. A couple of examples include certain parts of capital projects, upgrades to hourly operator technical training systems, and due diligence of buying or selling manufacturing sites.
Years at current job:
- Late 2001. Following the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001 capital investments dried up quickly. Engineering consultants were suddenly in oversupply, so many of us struggled to find meaningful employment. A couple of training projects sustained me until I was able to start a stable relationship with Noram of Vancouver BC as their sales representative. We have worked together since 2003.
What is your favorite part of your current job:
- Helping to optimize and/or resolve challenges of complex systems, including chemistry, instrumentation & process control, and people.
Biggest accomplishment in your career:
That’s a tough question. Here are several that rank up there:
- Being a significant part of design and commissioning efforts for major pulp mill developments in the 1990;
- Implementation of medium consistency oxygen delignification technologies.
- The AlPac Pulp Mill (the last greenfield Kraft Pulp Mill in North America)
- Pulp bleaching system that used ozone, first demonstrated at Franklin, VA.
- More recently, assisting Noram’s development and application of short column ion exchange technology for removing chlorine from the Kraft pulping liquor cycle. This reduces the frequency/severity of recovery boiler cleaning and eliminates process losses of ash purging (so it reduces the required makeup Na & S).
Advise for Current Students:
- Look for opportunities to help with major challenges, or an unexpected crisis, where the “fire” is hot and confusing. Find something of interest to you; be curious and learn. At the time I didn’t always enjoy it, but now as I look back, the effort spent was really valuable trying to figure out why things worked differently than expected during major equipment startups.
What other positions have you held:
- Upon graduation from NCSU, I went to work at Scott Paper in Mobile, AL working as a process engineer. I quickly moved into production management, mostly pulp bleaching. Late in 1988 I went to work for an equipment supplier company. After about a decade of selling, starting up, and optimizing chemical pulping fiber-line equipment, I went to the consulting engineering business for about 3 years
- My parents had both worked in other parts of the paper industry, so I had some idea of what I was getting into with this degree. And a younger brother followed me, but he has since left the industry. I am married to Anita, and we have two sons, the younger is close to finishing college.
Any other thoughts of comments to share:
- Make time and energy to have interests outside of work that provide opportunities to learn, to be of service to others, and to network with people in other walks of life.
By guest blogger Ryan Lee