George P. Mueller (1921-2008)
2007 Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Inductee
Wisconsin Tissue Mills
Menasha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
George Mueller was born in Sherwood, Wisconsin, U.S.A., on July 31, 1921. As a youth, he worked selling magazines and newspapers, groceries, hardware, farm goods, and ran a popcorn stand.
He received his college degree in chemistry from Lawrence College (now University) in 1943 and later received advanced training in electronics at Harvard and MIT. After World War II, he initiated the formation of and worked with the Naval Research Electronics Warfare Company. He then joined Marathon Corporation, working in process engineering. He developed wax blends and innovative testing procedures for new flexible packaging products, including Glamakote (the first high gloss wax paper), and fast drying adhesives, quickly becoming a group leader. He became plant manager of the Neenah, Canal, and Ashland Tissue plants.
He moved on to the Wisconsin Tissue Mills (WTM) in 1968 as vice president of manufacturing, was named executive vice president in 1981, and president in 1983. WTM was acquired by Phillip Morris Industrials in 1983 and by Chesapeake in 1985. Mueller continued as president of WTM and group vice president for Chesapeake, and was a board member for both companies. During his 20 years with the company, it grew from 250 employees to over 1,400, with production expanded from 13,000 tons to 185,000 tons per year. In 1980, the fastest Yankee paper machine of the time was installed at 6,000 feet per minute. He led the conversion to 100% recycled fiber, and a unique waste water treatment plant, Zurn-Attisholz, was commissioned, the first in North America. He retired in 1988.
In 1989, he led the response to a need for special paper related testing in the Midwest, caused by the move of The Institute of Paper Chemistry to Atlanta, Georgia, by co-founding Integrated Paper Services and served as its chairman for 12 years. He personally traveled to Midwest paper mills to gather support for the new testing facility.
In 1992, Mueller co-founded the Paper Industry Hall of Fame and he served as its chairman until the end of 2005. During this time, the Hall of Fame went international and was renamed the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame. He led the startup of the Paper Discovery Center on the banks of the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin, after accepting the Atlas Mill from Kimberly-Clark.
Mr. Mueller is an Appleton West High School Hall of Fame inductee and received the North Central Division PIMA “Man of the Year” award. He was a member of TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry) for 52 years, API (American Paper Institute), and ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials), and served as president of the Wisconsin Paper Council.
Outside of work and family, his passion in life has been giving back to the community. He served on a committee which worked on the redevelopment of Menasha and moved Wisconsin Tissue Mills’ corporate office to its downtown. In addition to giving of his time, he has also given financially to the community and continues to fund scholarships at Lawrence University and Fox Valley Technical College.
George and his wife, Joan, were married in Appleton, Wisconsin, on December 27th, 1943. She is deceased. He has four children, Greg, Tim, Tobin and Toni (deceased); ten grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.