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From junior chemical engineer to new papermaker: Meet André-Oliver Piché

An engineering career in the forest products industry offers as many rewards and opportunities as it does challenges. That’s what candidates in the Engineering Graduate Program are discovering on the job at Resolute.

We are bringing you a series of Q&As with our new grads – from Quebec to Tennessee and operations in between.

André-Oliver Piché, Saint-Félicien (Quebec)

André-Olivier came to Resolute after a few years of research work and some hands-on experience at Rio Tinto Alcan in Shawinigan, Quebec. He soon found himself working on projects related to production, management and optimization. André-Olivier was made a technical assistant in just over a year and is now a shift supervisor.

What do you like most about your work?

I like the problem-solving aspect of my job and learning how to bring people together to make improvements. For example, one of my responsibilities is to monitor and reduce fiber loss. There isn’t much ‘low hanging fruit’ because fiber loss reduction is already well managed here. We had to bring people around to the idea that mitigating these losses – however small – was still a significant win.

We did that by connecting with co-workers and holding discussions around continuous improvements such as how equipment influences fiber loss. Most improvement ideas came from my co-workers. We always work as a team to build solutions to a multitude of challenges.

What was your impression of the forest products industry before you took this job?

The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières has a research center dedicated to lignocellulosic materials, which figured into a lot of our chemical engineering course work. When you learn in that kind of environment, you also come to understand the regional importance of this industry. I took the opportunity to develop my skills and I can’t think of another industrial setting that offers such a broad range of equipment and processes to help you grow professionally.

What are your thoughts on sustainability in the forest products industry?

I see Resolute as an integral part of sustainability in forestry. For example, we take the biomass we produce, collect it and then local farmers use it as fertilizer. What we do here, and what we do as an industry, is always about developing improvements and working out ways to increase efficiencies.

What advice do you have for someone considering a career in the forest products industry?

To be flexible and open-minded so that you can grow and learn as much as possible from experienced papermakers. As a beginner, I think you need to bring those two qualities to your job to integrate effectively into an industrial environment.

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