More than 200 employees and guests celebrated the 20th anniversay of Pratt’s Conyers paper mill with a gala dinner in Atlanta last month.
Company COO David Dennis paid special tribute to mill GM Allen Bowlder and other 20-year veterans who were part of a weary group of pioneerng engineers, operators and maintenance crews there at start-up.
“To everyone who makes the Conyers mill the pride not only of our company but of the entire containerboard industry, I sincerely congratulate and thank you all for the dedication, hard work and long hours you’ve put in,” David said.
Since it began operations, the mill has produced approximately 6,740,000 tons of 100% recycled paper – that’s the equivalent of saving more than 113 MILLION trees – or a forest large enough to cover 115 square miles – or about 5 times the size Manhattan.
And it would literally leave a paper trail that could stretch from the Earth to the Moon and back 11 times.
In a video-taped message, company chairman Anthony Pratt, who was in Australia on business, told the audience: “I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Alan and his team for a job well done. The genesis of the mill is that we decided to put it hard up against our corrugator, thereby becoming America’s first millugator. Conyers broke the mold. It was a revolutionary mill.”
Global CEO Brian McPheely also sent a video message, saying: “I was lucky enough to be at the mill opening 20 years ago. It’s just amazing what the mill has accomplished over the last 20 years. Alan and his people have done a fantastic job.”
Along the way, they have put up some pretty impressive numbers…
• In December 2010, the mill produced an average of 1102.3 per day, the first Pratt mill to reach this mark.
• In October 2013, it outdid itself by setting a new production record, averaging 1116.1 tons a day.
• And most importantly, in June 2014, it reached 1 million man hours worked with no lost time injuries – a magnificent safety record that continues to this day
But it hasn’t always been easy… and the team has faced some pretty daunting challenges over the years including three fires and a tornado that knocked down a wall and damaged several pumps and piping systems. But even the worst of those events – a fire in 2010 – couldn’t keep the Conyers’ team down for long. In fact the mill was up and running again just 72 hours later.