Kaukas sawmill in Lappeenranta has been operating and expanding on the same site for exactly 60 years. The reason why this location was chosen for the sawmill all those years ago still applies today, and it will ensure the operation of the sawmill in the future. The sawmill has been continually developed over the years, and the existence of the traditional industry cannot be taken for granted. Nonetheless, future prospects are promising, and at the sawmill, the 60th anniversary year is celebrated with great pride for the work that has been done. UPM Kaukas sawmill was originally established in Varkaansaari, Kanavansuu district in 1892. The sawmill was run successfully by the Norwegian Salvese brothers, but they sold their business to Kaukas in 1916. The restless war years gave rise to concerns about the management of assets, which resulted in many foreign entrepreneurs leaving Finland.
Bruce Hogan has been named the new Vice President and General Manager of ND Paper’s Old Town Division. A pulp and paper industry veteran, Hogan brings 33 years of experience with internationally recognized companies including International Paper, Mohawk Fine Papers, Essity and Appvion.
“Bruce brings a breadth of knowledge that will be instrumental in helping us usher in a new era of growth and excellence at our historic Old Town Mill,” said ND Paper CEO Ken Liu. “Because beyond operations, Bruce will also be critical in helping us execute the continued capital transformation program for the Division.”
In addition to his background as a process engineer, Hogan has led operations and management at several largescale paper manufacturing sites across the country. “He has the technical acumen along with the personable leadership skills to advance our operations during a critical time,” confirmed Mike LaVerdiere, ND Paper COO and Executive Vice President.
Beginning operations in 1860 as a sawmill and moving into pulp production in 1882, the Old Town Mill has been a significant producer in the paper and pulp industry, as well as a major community employer and state revenue generator throughout its storied history. However, the mill was closed by previous owners in 2015. ND Paper, with three other mills across the US—in Rumford, ME, Fairmont, WV and Biron, WI—purchased the mill in the fall of 2018 and has been investing, innovating and working toward the mill’s sustainable success ever since.
The outgoing General Manger, Craig Kerschner, has been instrumental in the start up operations and initiatives at the mill. Kerschner’s knowledge and expertise, especially from his experience at Old Town, will be crucial for the company in his new role. After two years as GM, Kerschner has been promoted to Corporate Director of Pulping Technology.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join ND Paper,” Hogan said. “The transformation that Old Town is undergoing—investing in people, new process and better products to serve an ever-evolving marketplace—is a sign of future success. It’s one of the things that attracted me to ND Paper. This company is working toward something very special. I jumped at the opportunity.”
Another reason Hogan is likely excited to be coming to Old Town is that after so many years away, he and his wife are finally coming home. Native Mainers, Bruce graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in mechanical engineering.
“It feels great to be home,” Hogan added.