International Paper Keeps Going On Strong in Columbus
COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch
Columbus Mill Manager David Phillips recently spoke to the Rotarians at Lion Hills Center in Columbus about his facility, which was acquired by International Paper a couple of years ago, and the company’s plans for the future. They have begun a new initiative called “IP Way Forward,” having already invested $135,000 within the local community as a way of giving back to the good people of Columbus. Their initiative calls for the company to focus on “[I]nvesting in people, sustaining forests, improving the planet, innovative products and inspiring performance.” This includes helping out the less fortunate by assisting with education, hunger, and medical programs.
Kellum Kim, mill communications manager said that they wish to continue the good works done by Weyerhauser, the prior owners of the mill, with regards to the community in Lowndes County: “People that know Weyerhaeuser, know that they did a lot of great things in the community, they just did more behind the scenes,” Kim said. “What we are really trying to change is getting more hands-on, (and) get more of our team members involved.”
“Part of the IP Way Forward is to provide value for stakeholders,” Phillips said. “One of our stakeholders is the community and so we want to make sure we are providing value for the community that our employees live in.”
Kim added: “It’s all about investing in our communities and being a good steward of our communities and what we can do to make our community a better place for everyone in Lowndes County.”
The mill currently has about 325 full-time employees, including thirty who were brought on board this year. They also contract up to a hundred workers per day, and their average pay rate is about $28/hr. Philips noted that the mill is largely self-sustaining, as they generate all of their own power by harnessing the steam generated by burning tree bark that might not otherwise be useful; they also use the surrounding 65-acre marsh to treat their wastewater.
International Paper and their Columbus Mill are giving back to their local community while making products that we use every day — and THAT’S Good for Business!