Richard P. Wollenberg, son of Harry L. and Gertrude (Arnstein) Wollenberg, was born on August 1, 1915, in Juneau, Alaska. Following education at the University of California at Berkeley (BS Mechanical Engineering, 1936) and Harvard University (MBA, 1938), Mr. Wollenberg accepted a position with Bethlehem Shipping in Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1939, he joined Longview Fibre Company as safety engineer, beginning a 63-year career in the pulp and paper industry.
Mr. Wollenberg took a leave from Longview in 1941 to serve in the US Army Air Corps. Returning to Longview Fibre in 1945, Mr. Wollenberg moved through the company ranks, and in 1969, he was named president. Nine years later he was named chief executive officer, and in 1985, became chairman of the board. Today he serves as Chairman Emeritus.
Richard P. Wollenberg was instrumental in the growth and success of Longview Fibre Company. Under his guidance Longview Fibre’s gross sales grew approximately six-fold and most of the company’s national network of 17 container and bag converting plants in 12 states were constructed or acquired.
In addition, a lumber mill in central Washington was constructed to usher the company’s entrance into the solid-wood products business and the firm began producing niche products ranging from raisin trays to a new extensible paper for multiwall bags. The world-class Longview, Washington, pulp-paper mill doubled its production capacity to approximately 3200 tons/day. Timberlands, managed under Sustainable Forestry, nearly doubled to 570,000 acres in the Pacific Northwest. Today the company is one of the largest producers of Kraft paper in North America.
Mr. Wollenberg consistently pursued an aggressive modernization program at Longview Fibre to stay globally competitive. An energy co-generation plant was constructed at the Longview mill, making it virtually energy-sufficient and offering electric energy-marketing options. The facility also houses a state-of-the-art recycling plant which provides up to 20% of wood fiber for the company’s mill.
Mr. Wollenberg’s work at Longview Fibre made an impact beyond the corporate structure. Through cooperative projects with equipment manufacturers at the Longview mill, the company developed prototype pulp and paper manufacturing equipment. From small valves to large pulping and paper machine components, the equipment has been widely used in the paper industry.
His dedication to the paper industry was also exemplified through participation in various national and regional associations including the Institute of Paper Science & Technology, the American Forest & Paper Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Pacific Coast Association of Pulp & Paper Manufacturers.
Mr. Wollenberg has received many professional honors including the World Forestry Center Memorial Chest (2000), Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award (1994), Washington Pulp and Paper Foundation’s Wall of Fame (2000), Kelso-Longview, Washington, Chamber of Commerce Business Individual Award (2002), and an Honorary Doctor of Public Affairs from the University of Puget Sound (1977). He has been very involved in education initiatives in his community.
Mr. Wollenberg resides in Longview, Washington, with his wife of 64 years, Leone. They have four sons, one daughter, and six grandchildren. Son Richard H. (“Rick”) is now the president and chief executive officer of Longview Fibre. (Mr. Wollenberg died in 2014)