Domtar Mill Celebrates 100 Years

KINGSPORT, TN | Domtar Corporation announces that its mill is celebrating its 100th year of operation in 2016, a milestone that company says is directly tied to the city’s own growth and one that could not have been reached without the support the mill has received from the Kingsport community. 

Domtar’s Kingsport mill kicked off its 100th anniversary celebration in January by donating 5,000 lbs of copy paper to The United Way of Greater Kingsport and 30 of its member agencies. From left: Brenda Overbey (office manager) and Danelle Glasscock (executive director) United Way, and Bill MacPherson (Kingsport mill manager) and Roger Smith (director of public affairs and manufacturing support), Domtar

In January, the mill kicked off its year-long commemoration by donating 5,000 lbs of copy paper to The United Way of Greater Kingsport and 30 of its member agencies. Additional activities and events will be announced throughout the year as the mill continues to demonstrate its commitment to the community with a number of special events and philanthropic efforts.

Over the years, Domtar has been diligent in promoting a mill culture that supports a sustained commitment of giving back to the local community. The Kingsport mill was a key proponent of the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing and the Kingsport Higher Education Center. In addition, the company reports it has contributed more than $5 million to the community in the form of land, financial donations, and labor for numerous recreational and social efforts. 

“For an entire century, this mill has grown with the local community, and much of that progress is due to the strong support we have received from the community,” says Bill MacPherson, Kingsport mill manager. “The activities we have planned for this year are intended to connect with our city’s residents and nonprofit organizations on multiple levels, and align with the culture of community involvement and support that is cultivated by our employees.”

The Kingsport operation began in 1916, when local businessmen constructed the mill, known as the Kingsport Pulp Co., to process fiber from a wood alcohol extract operation. Although the mill changed hands multiple times over the years, each of its owners made continuous investments in the facility and its operations.

In 1972, under the Mead Corporation name, the Kingsport plant operated five paper machines. After being acquired by Willamette Industries, the mill underwent an upgrade in 2000 to make it more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. In 2002 new owner Weyerhaeuser invested $475 million to install a new uncoated free-sheet machine, recovery boiler, and bleached hardwood pulp line.

In 2007, Domtar took over the Weyerhaeuser Fine Paper group. Today, the plant has the capacity to produce nearly 420,000 tons of paper and more than 300,000 tons of pulp annually. The Kingsport mill and the Ridgefields converting facility employ 390 people, making Domtar the third-largest manufacturing company in Kingsport. Domtar also says it has also been responsible for creating an additional 750 indirect jobs in Kingsport and the surrounding area and has an estimated regional economic impact of $190 million/yr.

“I thank all of the Kingsport mill employees for their work and focus on optimizing this mill and driving continuous improvement in a highly competitive market,” says Michael Garcia, president of Domtar’s pulp and paper division. “We all have a role to play in ensuring this mill remains a competitive economic engine in the region.”

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