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Celebrating all things paper: The wonder and the legacy, continued
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Mr. George W. Mead, right, is shown with his father, Mr. Stanton Mead, in 1966 at Consolidated Papers.
Ladies and gentlemen, while I was in Wisconsin at the recent Light Green Machine Institute Conference -- which was held on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point -- I had the honor of meeting another Hall of Fame Papermaker, Mr. George W. Mead.

Mr. Mead and his fine staff showed me and my wife Helen Roush, who is VP, Sales & Communications Sciences at Paperitalo Publications, around the Wisconsin River Papermaking Museum.

The museum is located in Wisconsin Rapids, and Mr. Mead's father, the late Stanton Mead, owned the beautiful home that houses the museum and the Mead Witter Foundation. If you've never had an opportunity to tour the Wisconsin River Papermaking Museum, I highly recommend you do so.

Mr. George W. Mead was elected to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in 1998 for his leadership role at Consolidated Papers, Inc.

More than a century ago, Mr. Mead's grandfather, George W. Mead, uprooted himself from his life as an Illinois furniture salesman in the year 1902 to move to central Wisconsin after his father-in-law, J.D. Witter, had died, leaving him to take over the family dam and paper mill business. It's been said that George W. Mead intended to leave as soon as he could find a proper replacement -- but he stayed 59 years, turning Consolidated into a major force in the paper industry. His son, Stanton, followed as a leader at Consolidated.

Mr. George W. Mead II was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 11 October 1927. In 1950, he graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science degree followed in 1952 with a Master of Science degree from The Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, Wisconsin.

Mr. Mead joined Consolidated Papers, Inc. as a chemical engineer in 1952. During his career, he progressed through the ranks, serving in the positions of production manager, corporate quality manager and vice president of operations. According to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, his steady advancement through the company was in keeping with Mr. Mead's feeling that he needed to "double-pay" his dues as the grandson, and later the son, of the company president. He was elected president in 1966 and served as chairman of the board beginning in 1971.

Consolidated was known as a premier producer of coated and supercalendered printing papers that are used in magazines, books, brochures, advertising, and corporate annual reports. The company also made coated specialty papers for product packaging and labeling, paperboard products, corrugated products, paperboard and kraft and recycled pulp.

Consolidated Papers became a successful and innovative company, with many new technologies implemented and invented under Mr. Mead's leadership. Approximately 49 U.S. patents covering technological advances in the pulp and paper industry were issued, as well as 30 foreign patents, many being in the European Patent Convention countries, as well as Canada, Brazil and Mexico.

In addition to being technically innovative, Consolidated, under Mr. Mead's tenure, earned recognition as one of the best U.S. paper companies. The Gallagher Report, a newsletter for managers, honored Mr. Mead as one of the 10 best executives of 1984 for companies with less than $1 billion in sales. Mr. Mead led the way in the company's modernization effort, a two-for-one stock split, and a 70 percent improvement in earnings for the first nine months of 1984. By 1996, sales expanded by a factor of 13, capacity tripled, and profits in 1995 were 21 times greater than when Mr. Mead became president in 1966.

While the culture of Consolidated emanated from the top, it is said that each employee was made to feel he or she shared in the company's success. When he was elected to the Hall of Fame, it was written that Mr. Mead embodies the view that hard work, sacrifice, willingness to compromise, quality, and service will achieve positive results.

Steve Roush is Vice President, Publisher and Editor and in charge of the International Desk at Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at steve.roush@taii.com. Many thanks go to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Inc., for biographical information on Hall of Fame inductees.
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