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A Message About the Center
by Patrick McCarthy, CPBIS Director, to the Paper Industry

Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year!

I hope that each of you has enjoyed a pleasant and fulfilling (but not too filling) holiday season, and that your wishes and expectations for 2005 will be more than exceeded. As the Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies enters 2005, it seems only fitting to step back for a brief moment to contemplate the Center's achievements during the past four years and the challenges it faces in the future. Founded in Fall 2000 with support from the Sloan Foundation, the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST), the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the pulp and paper industry, and having received three-year renewal funding in Fall 2003, CPBIS strives, through research and education, to generate new insights into the workings of the pulp and paper industry and transfer knowledge to the industry to help it meet the competitive challenges inherent in a dynamic global economy.

CPBIS Achievements

The single grea test achievement of CPBIS has been its broad-based engagement with the pulp and paper industry in particular and the forest products industry in general. During the past four years, CPBIS has developed an infrastructure that actively supports a diverse research portfolio, academic and distance learning programs, and industry connectivity at many levels.

To date, the Center has funded fourteen research projects, engaging over thirty-five faculty and thirty-five MS and PhD students, on topics ranging from the benefits of forest biotechnology through industry consolidation, innovation, and pricing behavior, to commercializing of black liquor gasification technologies. In addition, the Center successfully collaborated with the Trucking Industry Program (a Sloan funded Industry Center also located at Georgia Tech) to jointly fund a project on best practices in trucking logistics. We constantly seek to develop more collaborative research projects with industry partners and research Centers in related industries; in exploiting the knowledge base of each partner, such collaborations often generate insights that would not be possible without the joint effort.

To complement its research programs, CPBIS provides knowledge transfer through various education-related efforts. It has offered two five-day management workshops, "Management Development for Enhanced Performance," and is set to offer a third in May 2005. In addition, during the past four years, we have offered thirteen Webcasts to paper mills and companies on topics that range from reliability and maintenance to Six Sigma. And we are very pleased that participants in the workshops and Webcasts have consistently rated these courses highly. Also on the education side, CPBIS financially supports graduate students conducting dissertation research on topics of critical importance to the pulp and paper industry. Currently, we support students in several Georgia Tech academic units, namely Industrial and Systems Engineering, the School of History , Technology, and Society, and the School of Public Policy .

The Center's connectivity with industry during the past four years has been extensive and diverse. At regularly scheduled meetings with its Industry Advisory Board (chaired by Ray Heuchling of Irving Paper and co-Chaired by Phil Jones of Imerys) CPBIS briefs the Board members on the Center's activities and seeks the Board's counsel and guidance on the selection and conduct of its programs and initiatives. The Center distributes a monthly newsletter to its various industry, academic, and other interested stakeholders. We have sponsored or co-sponsored several research conferences (the most recent being the Techno-Business Industry Forum co-sponsored with IPST@GT) and numerous research seminars. Additionally, many of our researchers have presented their findings to company audiences and trade conferences and most of our researchers have substantively interacted with industry professionals.

From the start, CPBIS hit the ground running in implementing its research, education, and connectivity agenda, making significant progress on each front. However, it is important to emphasize that these achievements only occurred with the substantial and continuing financial and in-kind support from the Sloan Foundation, IPST, Georgia Tech, and CPBIS industry sponsors.

Also key to our success during the past four years has been the hard work that each member of the CPBIS management group unselfishly brings to the Center. In addition to the Director, the members of the CPBIS Management Team are:

David Bell - Development

Charley Burney - Administrative Assistant

Bob Davies - Web Author

Tom McDonough -Director Emeritus (and contributing editor of the Newsletter )

Jim McNutt - Executive Director

Bob Patterson - Business Operations Manager (and CPBIS 'Webcaster')

Vinod Singhal - Associate Director, Education

Steve Usselman - Associate Director, Research

Colleen Walker - Associate Director, Industry Liaison

This is a collegial group of professionals with whom I very much enjoy working and who have made my tasks as Center Director much, much easier. As the Center strives in 2005 to build upon existing programs, I am enthusiastically looking forward to again working with each member of the management team.

CPBIS Challenge

Put simply, the challenge for CPBIS is to sustain the connectivity that we have achieved during the past four years. 'SCORE' - Sustainable Connectivity through Outreach, Research, and Education' aptly describes this objective. Collectively, our research, education, and outreach activities are directed toward developing an extensive knowledge base and a network of resources that the pulp and paper industry can productively use to meet existing and future competitive challenges.

Although not surprising in hindsight, it has become increasingly evident that building and sustaining industry engagement, and in particular research engagement, is no easy task. CPBIS is having an impact on the industry but knowing how to better engage the industry and finding innovative ways to interact is critical to its having the grea test possible impact and to long term sustainability. That CPBIS describes itself as 'Research Led - Business Focused' reflects the Center's focus on research, recognizing that business-focused research generates new insights and a deeper understanding of the industry; that research findings and results underlie knowledge transfer through the Center's education programs; and that it is the business and decision-making implications from research that engage industry in a substantive and long term relationship.

To SCORE with industry, the challenge facing CPBIS is to ensure that all of its resources and collective activities are focused on and consistent with the Center's core mission of being 'Research Led - Business Focused'. Opportunity goes hand-in-hand with challenge, and the Center looks forward to working with all of its partners to exploit this opportunity in 2005!



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