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Among The First, Among The Greatest

Among The First, Among The Greatest

Article by Jessica Johnson,
Associate Editor

I was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga., by two parents in event management. With those kind of nondescript career titles, my parents have literally done everything you can think of: from planning charity golf tournaments to setting up conferences. I think I am fair in saying the biggest standout of their careers came in 1996, when they both worked for the Olympics in Atlanta.

Because of their jobs with Nike Park, in conjunction with Centennial Olympic Park, I had a backstage pass to some of the greatest athletes in the world. As a grade school student, I spent my summer doing things like eating breakfast with four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson. (Some of you might remember the American sprinter for his infamous gold track shoes.)

I also had the absolute honor of attending opening ceremonies and watching Muhammad Ali light the torch and officially begin the games. As were most, I was saddened to hear of Ali’s passing a few weeks ago. Perhaps one of Ali’s better-known quotes, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was,” is a very fitting descriptor of the Huber Engineered Woods plant in Easton, Maine.

Panel World first visited Easton in 1985, shortly after the project went on-line in April 1983. The article appeared on the cover of the October/November 1985 issue. After converting an idled sugar beet factory to make oriented strandboard, Huber Easton became one of the first 10 OSB mills in the U.S. At that time capacity was 120MMSF and the plant manager said, “OSB is considered to be the Cadillac of the reconstituted wood structural panel industry.”

Now, Huber Easton capacity is at 300MMSF after seeing major improvements and monetary investments in the last 10 years. Those around the mill knew it was great before it really was. Then the facility was a trailblazer, now it’s a beacon of continuity for the forest products industry in Maine.

J.R. Reed, one of the oldest members of the Easton team, who pulls double duty as Manufacturing Excellence Manager and Plant Historian, comments that the logging force has come to expect Huber’s gates to be open. At a time when other markets are struggling to keep their gates open, Huber has stayed steady.

But it’s not just the logging force that Huber has helped maintain. According to Reed, the Easton City School system has been able to not only survive, but also thrive over the years thanks to the continued presence of Huber. To borrow another one of The Champ’s quotes, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

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