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Fox 11 Highlights SJL client – Wisconsin Paper Council

The business of papermaking: 'Far from a dying industry'
by Monique Lopez, FOX 11 News
Saturday, October 12th 2019

APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- Some say the paper making business is a dying industry.

The Wisconsin Paper Council doesn't believe that and spread the word at a luncheon with the Wisconsin Technology Council Thursday.

If you ask the Wisconsin Paper Council, there’s a real resurgence in the industry, and the papermaking business is alive and well.

Others believe it has never actually crumpled.

“I don’t think the paper industry ever really died, especially in the Fox Valley in Northeast Wisconsin,” said Jay Grosskopf, vice president of technical services at The Boldt Company.

Wisconsin's papermaking industry leads the country.

Paper Council president Scott Suder says new technologies, innovations and products are the reasons why.

“The industry has evolved,” he said “It’s not just white paper anymore, although that’s a component of the industry.”

Paper's now about straws, Amazon boxes and other products we use every day.

“A lot of that has been right here in the state of Wisconsin, so that’s created a new resurgence in the industry,” said Suder. “The industry has evolved and pivoted to meet those demands.”

For the paper industry to continue to be successful, it had to become more creative and, even for construction companies like Boldt, that meant more jobs.

“We’ve had to shift our services to meet their new needs, to learn what their new equipment is, and have the right resources to service their needs and being able to install the new equipment they need to make those production changes,” Grosskopf said.

Suder says every paper mill job means six more related jobs.

“It all works together, and it’s all very, very important for the strength of our state, and the strength of our nation,” he said.

Grosskopf says, “As they are successful, we can be successful, providing them services so, no, it has not died yet!”

Wisconsin’s legacy industry includes 35 paper mills and employs more than 35,000 people.

Michelle Berryman