Kari Ebeling was born in Helsinki on September 20, 1940, but spent his childhood and school years in a northern mill town, Kajaani, where his father was the chief forester of a pulp, paper, and sawmilling company. He received the master of science degree in paper technology from Helsinki University of Technology in 1963. In 1965, Dr. Ebeling journeyed to the United States and received a doctorate degree from The Institute of Paper Chemistry. His thesis was on structural behavior of paper in straining. After returning home, he attended the Finnish Institute of Management in 1973.
Dr. Kari Ebeling started his career as a research assistant at KCL, the Finnish Pulp and Paper Research Institute, serving from 1963 to 1965. He was manager, R&D for Nokia Forest Industries from 1970 to 1978.
From 1978 to 1987, Dr. Ebeling served as professor, Paper Technology, at Helsinki University of Technology, leading approximately 100 master of science engineers and 10 licentiates of technology or D.Sc (post graduates). At the beginning of this time he also served as scientific advisor to Tampella Engineering Company. At the end of this period he consulted with Finnish and Swedish forest industry and engineering companies.
From 1987 to 1989, Dr. Ebeling worked as director, Corporate R&D for James River Corporation. From 1989 to 2004, he served as director, Corporate R&D and senior scientific advisor for Kymmene and, after the merger, UPM-Kymmene Corporation. He retired in 2004.
Dr. Kari Ebeling served in leadership positions with the Finnish Engineering Society, the Finnish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and KCL, the Finnish Pulp and Paper Research Institute. He served in similar Positions with ESPRA, the Empire State Paper Research Association in New York; EIRMA, the European Industrial Research Management Association in Paris; and IPST, the Institute of Paper Science and Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. He is a member of TAPPI, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry.
His thesis on structural behavior of paper in straining was judged best in the 1970 class at The Institute of Paper Chemistry and brought him The Westbrooke Steel Medal. The thesis formed the basis for future research in the industry. He is the author or co-author of 56 publications, and contributed chapters to several textbooks.
Among honors, he is a TAPPI Fellow, received the SLR I medal from the Republic of Finland and the Keller Award from the German Papier Technische Stiftung, and is an invited member of The Royal Swedish Engineering Academy. The Finnish Paper Engineers’ Association awarded him the Stenback medal. The Finnish Foundation for Advancement of Technology (TES) gave Dr. Ebeling the 2007 Technology Prize for his contributions of educating skillful master of science paper engineers for the industry needs, of successful R&D and for promoting a R&D-positive atmosphere for the paper industry of Finland.
Consensus is that Dr. Ebeling, after his experiences at The Institute of Paper Chemistry and his exposure to U.S. management practices, brought back to Finland the focus on developing and applying advanced science-based technology and the management perspective of thinking long term. This way he continued and developed further the fine research and education traditions of his predecessor, Professor Niilo Ryti, a 1997 Paper Industry International Hall of Fame inductee.
Today, the Finnish forest products industry, including pulp and paper, is recognized as a leader in the world for its employment of technology and modern production facilities. Due to consolidation, many of the companies in the United States and around the world are owned in part or all by Finnish-based companies.
Dr. Kari Ebeling married his wife, Tuula, in 1963. They have two children, Petri and Niina and seven grandchildren. (Dr. Ebeling died in 2012)