The Paper Technology Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation, was established in 1958. The mission of the Paper Technology Foundation is to recruit students for the Paper Engineering and Paper Science programs and Chemical Engineering students pursuing paper engineering minors at Western Michigan University and to provide those students with competitive scholarships. Careful, directed recruiting, provision of competitive scholarships, and co-op and intern placements are strategies and tools that ensure that we provide strong leaders for the paper and allied industries well into the future.

Western Michigan University, at their Parkview campus, has made an unprecedented and unequaled investment in the Paper Science and Paper Engineering programs. Western’s Parkview campus is a $72 million investment in engineering and research and includes a modern 1 meter wide pilot coater with multiple coating application capabilities. During the past five decades, our industry has undergone dramatic change and the programs at the university continue to evolve to meet these challenges. The Parkview campus provides our student body with the most modern and most capable educational and research facilities available in any Paper Science or Paper Engineering school in the nation.

Our industry will continue to evolve in ways that will challenge the ability of universities to provide technically trained individuals to the industry. Western Michigan University is prepared to answer that challenge and to provide talented and motivated graduates who are academically positioned to lead the future generation. Industry change and evolution provides an extremely exciting time for a young person to enter our industry. Changes in the way we work, game-changing leaps in technology as well as the continued globalization and often privatization of both the paper industry and the U.S. economy will make the coming years unlike any we have experienced in our lifetime.

The Paper Technology Foundation Board of Trustees will continue to challenge our faculty while providing assistance to augment and enhance the pulp and paper programs by reflecting critical needs of the industry, by adding value to the degrees offered by the University, and by enhancing the reputation of the programs over the coming years.

2011—12 Executive Report
We have proudly offered fifty-four years of support for the students studying Paper Science and Paper Engineering.  In recent years, PTF has been supporting Chemical Engineers with minors in Paper Engineering.  PTF has supported a number of PCI Graduate students thru a quasi-endowment dedicated to graduate thesis support.

Our Foundation continues its excellent support for Western Michigan University, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and specifically the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering.

Foundation Personnel Changes
During the 2011—2012 year there were personnel changes of note:

  • Mr. David Blythe replaced Mr. Jason Terakedis representing Nalco Chemical Company.
  • Ms. Fiona Murray replaced Mr. Andy Gonta representing the Canadian National Railway.
  • Dr. John van Leeuwen joined the Board of Trustees representing EcoSynthetix.
  • Mr. Pat Gibney was elected President of PTF and will serve as an Audit Committee member and Governance Committee Chairman.
  • Dr. Richard Hartman was elected as Vice President and will serve as Audit Committee Chairman.
  • Mr. Jeff Armstrong was elected Secretary of PTF; Jeff replaces Mr. Dhamo Srinivasan who has resigned from the Board of Trustees.
  • Ms. Jan Van der Kley was elected to the Board of Trustees and to the position of Treasurer replacing Lowell Rinker who retired from the University. Jan is the Western Michigan University Vice President of Business and Finance and CFO.
  • Ms. Sandy Steinbach was elected Assistant Treasurer for PTF; Sandy is the WMU Associate Vice President for Business and Finance and Treasurer.
  • Mr. John Schoener was elected to serve as the Recruitment and Scholarship Committee Chairman; John replaces Mr. Pat Gibney.
  • Mr. Matt Stall replaced Mr. Greg Bengtson representing EKA Chemicals.
  • Mr. Fred Kalakay resigned from the Board; a new representative is in process.

We wish to acknowledge Mr. Charlie Young for his long service as President of the Board of Trustees.  Charlie served as President from 2008 through April 2012.  Charlie has been a board member since FY1999-00 and will continue to serve on the board representing ABB.

Mr. Lowell Rinker, past treasurer and retired WMU Vice President of Business and Finance was recognized in the fall of 2011 at the annual meeting for his support of PTF as well as his excellent service, advice, and council.

Ms. Lou Ann Morgan has left the recruiting position for PTF and was replaced by Ms. Kate Miller on June 4, 2012.  Kate comes to us with outstanding organizational, interpersonal and marketing skills.

Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Retention
New fall Paper Engineering major and minor enrollment is 21 students; 10 true freshmen (9 majors, 1 minor) and 11 transfer students (5 majors, 6 minors.)

As of fall scholarship review, we have 8 sophomores returning; 6 are majors and 2 are minors.  This is a 57% retention rate.

We have 8 juniors (2 majors, 6 minors.)  This is from an initial class of 16 students; a 50% retention rate.

We have 13 seniors (10 majors, 3 minors.)  The original class was 24; a 54% retention from freshmen level to senior status.

Scholarship Awards
Fall 2011 awards were distributed to 32 students; 28 were majors from an application pool of 48.  The awards totaled $74,732.  Spring 2012 awards were distributed to 20 students; 18 were majors from an application pool of 32.  The award value was $51,000.  The academic year awards totaled 52 for a value of $125,732.

Endowment performance was not as strong at year-end as the previous three years, all of which had experienced gains.  There was a net decrease in invested assets of $314,535 as of June 30, 2012.  Total invested assets were $5,158,387.  Net gains/losses from security transactions for the year ended June 30, 2012 include net unrealized losses of $274,204.  Sales of marketable securities resulted in net realized gains of $50,612 in 2012.  Trustee and brokerage fees increased to $69,812 from $68,057 in 2011.  These fees have been netted with income from investments and realized gains and losses.

During 2011-12, EcoSynthetix joined the Paper Technology Foundation Board of Trustees and Mr. John van Leeuwen, President, will serve as their representative on the Board.  Domtar Corporation has returned as a member and Mr. Jack Bray will be their representative on the Board.  Marcal LLC was sold and the new ownership has chosen not to join the foundation.

Audit Committee
The Audit Committee of the Board met to review the audit plan and has recommended and approved the plan.  Plante & Moran has conducted the independent audit per those plans. Areas of risk and the anticipated level of risk were discussed as part of the audit plan review.

The Paper Technology Foundation has experienced a remarkable track record, and we are most grateful to our alumni, friends, and corporate donors who continue to make it possible.

Our mission remains clear: we are about the business of recruiting, and educating motivated and talented students to earn their places of leadership in our industry.

Our graduates continue to be well received by the industry and are being placed at salaries starting around $65,000 annually.  We continue to have 100% job placement for paper engineering majors; again reinforcing the positive outcomes of our program.  Students work as productive professionals during internships and co-ops.  These practical experiences along with their academic accomplishments have created their successful career launch with outstanding starting salaries and positions.

Investment in the Paper Technology Foundation, therefore, is an important public statement about a commitment to Western Michigan University the Paper Technology Foundation, and the Pulp and Paper Industry which is guaranteed to be sustainable and provide leadership for the future.
We invite you to join us in this venture and to participate in our sustained commitment to our students and the Pulp and Paper and Allied Industry's future.

Patrick T. Gibney 
Board of Trustees
Director of Manufacturing Support, Verso
John F. Bergin
Managing Director