Stephen J. Baisch was born on October 28, 1917, in Ironwood, Michigan. He was one of four children. His family moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, when he was two years old. Later, they moved to Antigo, Wisconsin, where Mr. Baisch attended public school. He graduated from Antigo High School in 1935. He attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated in 1942 with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. While a student, he joined the Army ROTC. After graduation, he served under General Patton in the invasion of French North Africa and later in Sicily. By the time his military service was over, he had earned the rank of major.
In 1945, Mr. Baisch joined Thilmany Pulp and Paper Company as chief design engineer and was responsible for the overall engineering for three new paper machines, as well as a new woodroom; new screen room; new brown stock washing installation; relining, and replacement of digester, converting machines, and a warehouse.
On January 15, 1958, he ended his career at Thilmany when he founded his own consulting and engineering firm, S. J. Baisch Associates lnc., in Kaukauna, Wisconsin.
For many years, Mr. Baisch managed all of the active projects. By creating a strong personal relationship with the owner and then following through with technical expertise and ethical business dealings, he was able to build a strong foundation of repeat clients. He had a keen eye for dedicated and skilled employees, whom he guided and instructed in what became the “Baisch tradition.”
Mr. Baisch created a benchmark of expertise and client service that some owners in the industry have come to expect from their consultants. The Baisch philosophy is to work closely with the owner and other members of the project team to determine the most cost-effective solution to a specific challenge. The company was built on handshakes and trust, and trust remains an integral part of the Baisch tradition. Owners came to view Baisch engineers as friendly faces backed up by years of proven experience.
Through his technical expertise, business know-how, and motivational abilities, S. J. Baisch Associates Inc. expanded to more than 50 employees by the mid-1980s. Today, 40 years after he began building his dream, the company has grown to nearly 100 employees and has maintained a strong and respected presence in the pulp and paper industry.
Mr. Baisch’s technical abilities and leadership skills integrated various equipment and process technologies, which assisted owners in exceeding production goals and return on investment
Through his efforts, Baisch Associates participated in several pulp and paper firsts in the U.S. The firm provided engineering services for the first Voith flotation de-inking system, the first triple Fourdrinier linerboard machine installation, the first installation of the Tem-Sec press, and the first installation of a silent felt roll drive.
Mr. Baisch and his staff’s contributions benefited the paper manufacturing sector of the paper industry from woodyard to converting by providing the integrating link between new paper equipment and process technology and their practical application in the manufacturing process.
During his career, he held membership in several professional societies, including American Society of Mechanical Engineers; National Society of Professional Engineers; Wisconsin Society of Professional Engineers; Wisconsin Society of Professionals; Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), where he served as chairman of Lake States TAPPI and past chairman Corrosion Committee Engineering Division. Mr. Baisch has had numerous technical articles published during his career. In addition, he holds patents for the Oscillating Shower used on paper machines; and the String Inserting Machine for reinforcing paper. He has received honors from Wisconsin Men of Achievement; Who’s Who in Engineering; and Who’s Who in the Midwest. In 1983, he became a partner in the Potsdam Power Company. He serves on the board of Potsdam Paper Corporation, Potsdam, New York, and on the board for Petretex Paper Company, Peoria, Illinois. Public service activities have included Rotary Club, where he served as president for his local chapter; Elks Club; Boy Scouts; Girl Scouts; American Legion; School Board; Regional Plan Commission; and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus. He continues to be active in his church and St. Paul’s Nursing Home.
Mr. Baisch and his first wife, Edith, raised three sons, two of whom are adopted Korean twins. After being widowed for several years, Mr. Baisch married Patricia Schaefer Flanagan.
Mr. Baisch sold the company in January 1985 and retired in 1990. He and Patricia divide their time between homes in Kaukauna and Eagle River, Wisconsin, and Punta Gorda, Florida.