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Alumni Spotlight: Charles Allen Sanders – Class of 1985

Charles Allen Sanders graduated from NC State in 1985 with a degree in Paper Science and Engineering. We reached out to Allen to find out about his experiences since graduating from NC State, and what advice he would pass on to current students.  Thanks for your time, Allen.

Experiences while at NC State

  •  Internship/Co-op experience: Internship PlH.Glatfelter – Summer of 1984, Worked for NC State’s registration department
  • Favorite class: Professor Hitching’s papermaking class, Senior Design
  • Best memory at State: What else? Winning the NCAA basketball tournament my sophomore year
  • Worst memory at State: Climbing those porrly designed steps at Harrelson Hall. Truly, a work of the devil. My only regret was not being asked to push the demolition button.
  • Clubs/Hobbies: Intramural volleyball, TAPPI, Forest Resource Council
  • Favorite part of PSE program: A small school within a large university. The comradery, the classes developed were outstanding while also having all of the resources of a large university at our disposal
  • Most important thing PSE taught me: To put your head down and plow! Not an easy curriculum, it forces you to simply go to work to get through it and outworking others gets you ahead.

Current Career Information

  • Company/job position: NCSU, Executive Director, Pulp and Paper Advisory Board
  • Years at current job: May 2023
  • Favorite part of the job: Giving back to the program that provided me with a platform for success. Interacting with the students, faculty & staff.
  • Biggest accomplishment in career: Having the courage to change jobs
  • What other positions have you had: Former Senior Vice-President Westrock; Former US Vice-president of Operations for Resolute Forest Products; 30+ years in the paper industry. Mill manager at six different facilites for three companies. Currently retired

Personal Information

  • Hometown: Asheville, NC
  • Tell us about your family: Married to Elena Sanders who is the mill manager at International Paper’s New Bern, NC facility. Three daughters, Rachael Lightfoot of Charleston, WV, Laura Garcia of Birminghan, AL & Harper Sanders of the home
  • Current Hobbies: I enjoy taking care of Harper while her mother is at work. She is my best friend. I enjoy fly fishing, both mountain streams and coastal waters. I also study aircraft disasters (believe it or not!) I found many similarities in the chain of errors tha tled to aricraft disasters to managing safely in a manufacturing facility. I also enjoy reading non-fiction books.

What is your Advise for Current Students

  • Take advantage of the unique support network that exicts in this curriculum. Facutly, staff, advisory board are ALL there to help underpin and support you.

Any other comments of thoughts

  • I fully expect y return to NC State to bring some of the 1983 mojo back