Co-op with North Pacific Paper Corporation
by Jason Zipprich
I recently returned to school after completing a co-op with North Pacific Paper Corporation in Longview, WA, which was a seven month assignment. I was lucky enough to get offered this position, simply by applying online, I had heard about it through my brother, as well as a friend at school who had worked there. I had a phone interview and was offered the position a few weeks later. As I continue my education I realize more and more the usefulness of my experience in that particular mill. While there were some both positives and negative experiences through my time there, I have a better understanding of what it will be like when I go on to work in industry.
One of the things I enjoyed doing was working with a chemical vendor to set up for trials across all three machines towards the end of my internship. Despite the long hours in the hot basement of Paper Machine (PM) 1 and 2, I enjoyed troubleshooting the chemical skids we were preparing for the trial. I was not always given opportunities to do hands on work while at the mill, but I enjoyed the chances I did get to do so. It was a positive work experience and I believe I came out of the mill much more knowledgeable than I went in, and I look forward to future experiences in the paper industry.
The major benefit I found with working for a longer period of time as compared to a summer internship is I was able to take on bigger projects. Taking on bigger projects was useful and more meaningful too because I was fully invested in them, I was forced to see them through. One of the projects I worked on was installing a 6th stage of cleaners on PM 2. This project had me balancing multiple things. It was extremely important to understand every component of the project from the system needs to the work necessary to get installed and what to do after installation. This was invaluable because typically process engineers recommend a system upgrade and hand it off to someone else. When I had to work with a senior engineer to install the actual system I obtained a better understanding of what it actually takes to install even a small unit such as that.