by William McKean

As some of you may know, the Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation (WPPF) recently conducted a search for a replacement for Tom Wolford as WPPF executive director. In early January 2013, we widely advertised the open executive director position through the WPPF mailing list, the University of Washington (UW) system and the TAPPI mailing list. Our joint outreach resulted in more than 20 applicants with a broad range of backgrounds, and I am very grateful to everyone who participated in this search process!

Michael Roberts
Michael A. Roberts

On March 5, representatives from the WPPF Executive Committee, College of the Environment and SEFS staff, BSE faculty and BSE students conducted interviews and evaluated the top five candidates. After careful review, we selected Michael A. Roberts as the next executive director, and we are very pleased to share the good news that he has accepted the offer! Not only has he accepted with considerable enthusiasm, in fact, but he has already begun working to continue the various activities outlined in our five-year plan, as well as planning for our upcoming Annual Conference on May 23. Mr. Roberts will officially take on his new role on April 1, 2013, and he is already set up with his campus email.

Mr. Roberts is a 1969/71 graduate of the University of Washington with BS/MS degrees in Chemical Engineering. His research provided insight into the mechanics and formation of malodorous compounds in a Kraft recovery furnace. Prior to joining WPPF as executive director, he spent more than 40 years as a professional in the pulp and paper and allied industries. He has held significant operational, engineering, environmental, research and general management positions for both pulp and paper manufacturers and key service providers to the industry. Most recently he was employed as the Program Manager, Energy and Sustainability Management, for a global manufacturing firm. He has been active in WPPF for more than 20 years and served as foundation president from 2006 to 2008.

Mr. Roberts and his wife Barb, also a UW graduate, have two grown children and three granddaughters. All are confirmed Husky fans.

Please join me in welcoming Mike as the new executive director–we look forward to working with him!