On June 20 th , 2023, the Wisconsin Paper Council (WPC) held its Annual Meeting at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This event had a turnout of around 100 attendees that included paper industry professionals, supply chain businesses, workforce development agencies, and community organizations. Thank you to our Annual Meeting sponsors and exposition participants for making this year’s meeting a success.
Women in Forest Products Scholarship Fund
The meeting began with introductions and the announcement of a new scholarship initiative for women in the forest products industry. This scholarship is intended to support Wisconsin women coming out of high school who want to enter the forest products industry, as well as fund women currently in the forest products industry who want to further their education. The scholarship has been established with an initial gift of $20,000 from Ahlstrom.
“Ahlstrom recognizes the need to have more women in the paper industry and this scholarship is designed to encourage high school young women to enter different fields in the paper and forest products industries, and to encourage women leaders already in the field to grow their leadership skills through education,” said Addie Teeters, Head of Marketing Communications & Public Affairs for Ahlstrom, and current Vice Chair of the Wisconsin Paper Council Board of Directors. “The forest products industry is an innovative and strong industry, and we need to empower our diverse voices and encourage unique talent to join us.”
Applications will open early 2024 and scholarships will be awarded Spring 2024. WPC challenges other companies to donate to the scholarship fund, but individuals can also contribute. The scholarship is housed by the Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region and donations can be made here: https://cffvr.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=4663&sorg_id=1002.
WPC staff provided updates on successes, initiatives, and committee information. President Scott Suder announced that the USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant has been awarded to WIST in partnership with WPC. Vice-President of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs & General Counsel Patrick Stevens provided updates ways in which WPC is involved with regulation in the environmental front.
Director of Operations Shawn Brantmeier announced the upcoming WPC Women’s Leadership Adventure Series intended to connect women in the forest products industry together and provide education on leadership skills. Another initiative aimed at breaking barriers for women in the traditionally male-dominated field is the Women’s Leadership Conference in coordination with Mid-State Technical College. This event will occur Spring 2024 and more information is coming soon.
Communications & Development Analyst Mykaela Chaffin announced the progress of WPC’s new Workforce Relations Committee, the success of the annual WPC Sustainability Report, and the opportunities available for members through the WPC podcast, The Paper Files. Information on the Sustainability Report and The Paper Files can be found on WPC’s website, www.wipaper.org.
In lieu of a singular keynote speaker, WPC hosted a panel of industry experts to discuss sustainability, talent attraction, and economics. Panelists included:
- Dustin Delsman, Business Representative, Plumbers & Steamfitters UA 400
- Paul Endter, Lead Teacher, Appleton Technical Academy
- Christa Kananen, Program Manager & Consultant, Wisconsin Sustainable Business Institute
- Heather Berklund, Chief State Forester, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
- Julie Ballweg, Research Economist, Forest Products Laboratory
Thank you to our panelists for providing insight on the paper, pulp, and packaging industry!
WPC looks forward to next year’s annual meeting, as well as our upcoming Golf Outing on October 3rd, 2023 at Bullseye Golf Club in Wisconsin Rapids. For questions or comments, please contact Mykaela Chaffin at email@example.com.