Leader Article of October 16, 2018

The Association of Washington Business highlighted the Port Townsend Paper Co. for their commitment to environmental stewardship and providing local jobs with a visit to the paper mill on National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 5.

The visit to the Paper Company fell on National Manufacturing Day, but was part of a larger bus tour of Washington, where the AWB is visiting manufacturers across the state to highlight the thousands of employees, employers and jobs in manufacturing across Washington.

“They’re all family wage jobs,” said Felix Vicino, human resources manager at the Paper Company. “So it’s really important that AWB is highlighting manufacturing this way.”
The stop at Port Townsend Paper Co. marked the first stop of their second day of touring the state.

“This is day two of our seven-day manufacturing tour across the state of Washington to highlight the importance of manufacturing to the economy, to talk about the great jobs that exist in every county in the manufacturing sector and to also share with students about the great pathways that are available for family-wage jobs through manufacturing careers,” said Kristofer Johnson, president of AWB.

AWB was formed in 1904 and is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association. While they represent large manufacturing companies like Microsoft and Boeing, more than 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people, according to its website.

Port Townsend Paper Co. employs 300 people at their factory on Mill Road and has an impact of 600 jobs in the county, according to Johnson.
“We’re here at the largest employer at the county,” Johnson said. “And you get to live in a beautiful place like this. What’s not to celebrate about Port Townsend Paper Co.?”

Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, who tagged along on the AWB manufacturing tour, highlighted the important environmental stewardship the Paper Company has taken on during the years.

“They reduced greenhouse gases 65 percent in the last decade and a half, and they recycle 30 percent of the cardboard material that Washington generates,” Chapman said.

According to Johnson, the Paper Company contributes $660 million to the Puget Sound economy each year.

The AWB manufacturing tour also hopes to highlight the number of jobs that manufacturers provide for local people.

“It’s a chance to celebrate some of the great things we make. Who makes those great things are local residents across the state,” Johnson said. “If you’re in high school and you’re the next generation of workforce, you don’t have to leave this region to get a great family-wage job.”

Johnson added the Paper Company currently has six job openings.
According to Vicino, the Paper Company attends job fairs at high schools across the Peninsula, providing information for high school students who want to choose a local career path after school.