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2017 PacWest Conference

The Pulp& Paper industry faces a rapidly changing world where competitors are bringing on technologically advanced new mills, governments are implementing climate change taxes, and shifting demographics are requiring new approaches to attract and retain a capable, trained workforce.

The 2017 PacWest conference to be held at Whistler BC June 7-10th, and specifically the Opening Forum, will tackle these issues, questioning our current approaches and inspiring new ones in order to manage all available resources for success in this changing world. Forum speakers include; Carlo Dal Monte, Catalyst Paper; Mats Nordgren, Valmet; Paul Saunders, Winstone Pulp International; Shannon Huntley, FP Innovations, and will be moderated by Rod Albers, West Fraser.

Don't miss it!

For more info, visit: http://pacwestcon.net/

Organizing executives answer some questions about the conference:

Gord Start - Co-Chair

Q: What is your theme this year and how does it relate to the industry today?

A: The theme for the conference is "Managing Resources for Success". The reason this theme was chosen was to represent the challenges the Forest Products Industry will expect to see in the next few years. These include items such as (but not limited to):

  • Carbon Taxes
  • Fibre source and quality
  • More pulp available on the market re new mill start ups in other countries outside of North America
  • declining revenues re customer pressure to reduce product pricing
  • demographics causing issues with people recruitment/retention
  • increasing contractor and commodity costs
  • the need to diversify to produce other sources of revenue such as biotechnologies

The forest products industry will be challenged to reduce costs and manage all resources, both external and internal for sustainability as a viable operation.

Q: What critical questions will the forum speakers be addressing?

A: The forum speakers this year are a group that is either working directly for the Forest Product Industry, a consultant or a supplier in key positions and with considerable experience. The expectation is that they will provide insight into the future of the industry and what they view as the tools and resources required to keep this industry competitive, innovative and viable.

Q: What does the PacWest Conference offer that is different than other conferences?

A: The PacWest conference has always been the highlight of the year in the industry. It provides a venue where there is great opportunity for knowledge sharing and interaction between mill, consultant and supplier personnel. This is accomplished via a thorough program that embraces all areas of the industry and the inter relationships between these aspects. It is a conference that is designed to encompass the technical side of the industry while providing a social atmosphere that allows people to develop relationships that are beneficial for years to come.


Surendra SinghFirst Vice Chair

Q: If there was one thing you could say you take away from the conference each year what would it be?

A: We have picked up a number of ideas in the field of energy management and other process related improvements. The short courses on various topics have also been very beneficial for improving the mill technical skills.

Q: How does this conference allow you to network with your colleagues and other mills?

A: Various roundtables discussions such as mill managers, maintenance managers etc. have been a very effective ways of networking and problem solving with industry colleagues.

Q: What does the PacWest Conference offer that is different than other conferences?

A: I was pleasantly surprised to see the size of this conference when I attended this first time more than 15 years ago. I was expecting a small get together like any other regional conference. I was even more surprised seeing how well it was attended by the people from mills which it has maintained to date. One of the unique feathers of this conference is that it is primarily organized by a group of volunteers from mills, vendors and other institutions.


Kerry Morton - Second Vice Chair

Q: What does the PacWest Conference offer that is different than other conferences?

A: The conference, more specifically the Mill Managers Community meeting, provides a unique, and increasingly rare, opportunity for leaders in our industry to come together and discuss common issues that are specific to our industry and relevant to all. Although this is a very competitive business, there is a strong cooperative atmosphere that pervades the meetings and conference discussions. There is an understanding that by sharing the experiences and solutions to industry challenges collectively we are all more sustainable.


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