Our industry makes an impact in many ways throughout local communities. Our member's facilities often serve as the largest employer in these towns and counties.
For Jon Peterson, the paper and wood products industry does more than provide a well-paying job for him and his family.
“I was Scoutmaster for decades in a local community and continue in leadership roles in my church and community. My wife is called ‘Mama Janet’ by many in the area due to her roles as a mentor and leader for women,” he shared. “This direct involvement by company employees is multiplied by countless others who’ve come before I arrived, are here now, and will follow in years to come.”
Peterson joined the industry in 1977, choosing a profession that was a match between his interests and the STEM skills he earned from the University of Minnesota. He currently serves as the Technical/Engineering Manager at Resolute Forest Products' Coosa Pines, Alabama Mill.
After being in the industry for almost 45 years, Peterson shared the importance of mills in the community's life.
"The direct economic impact can't be understated, which normally translates to remarkable improvements to community services and quality of life, such as education, healthcare and family services," Peterson said. "The indirect impact of workers and their families influences generations through their involvement in volunteer organizations, as teachers and coaches, and in other community leadership positions."
Resolute Forest Products is actively involved in the local community where Peterson and his family live. Peterson noted the broad legacy of support the mill has given to not only the local community but also to others when needs have arisen.
“The company supports planned activities like the Coosa River Cleanup, Log a Load for Kids, Christmas gift drives and distributions. Many others have been helped by the company’s safety awards given to the mill when we reach safety milestones, but then “paid forward” to non-profit organizations we desire to support. The company also has a ‘real-time’ heart, coordinating collections for hurricane and other disaster victims," Peterson shared.
At the end of the day, this is still the industry he loves and is passionate about because it’s about people. Peterson wishes that everyone understood that people are at the heart of the industry’s operations.
"[I wish] people knew the focused time and effort our industry spends every day on sustainability, environmental performance, safety, education, quality products and improvements to the economy. Then I think they would appreciate that next piece of tissue or that next piece of lumber more personally as a special and very important item made by us just for them," Peterson said. Learn how the paper and wood products industry plays a role in your state.
Visit our Economic Impact page for a detailed look at job, manufacturing output and total compensation rates.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative—Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $60 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.