Thomas Schmidt

Thomas H. Schmidt was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, November 22, 1939. He received his diploma at Neenah High School, and after attending Marquette University, Milwaukee, he transferred to University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received a bachelor of science degree (cum laude) in 1962.

His first position after graduation was with Zigman-Joseph Associates, Milwaukee, as account manager. In 1963, he moved to CUNA International, Madison, as projects manager in the public relations department, progressing to director, public relations in 1968. He joined Appleton Mills in 1969 as public relations manager, and in 1976, became executive director followed by president of Wisconsin Paper Council. He retired in June 2002.

Mr. Schmidt became recognized as a leader in promoting the benefits of cooperative industry-wide collaborative programs to benefit the industry. He also led the development of innovated pro-active governmental affairs and public relations programs that defined a new era in industry-regulator relations.

Particularly in the 1990s, he led Wisconsin’s paper industry in a new direction, forming voluntary, cooperative partnerships with governmental regulators that focused on cost effective efforts to move beyond regulatory requirements. Examples are the Pollution Prevention Partnership (P3), 1992; the Green Guarantee, 1995; and Wisconsin Paper Council Environmental Management System, 1998. These successful efforts serve as a model for other states and other industries.

Memberships include Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI); Paper Industry Management Association (PIMA); Public Relations Society of America; and the American Society of Association Executives. He serves as a director of Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin; Great Lakes Forestry Alliance; and on Governor’s Council on Forestry.

He was the first recipient of the Paper Industry Management Association’s Vision 300 award, recognizing the individual who has done the most to raise the image of the paper industry and educate the general public about the industry’s role in North American business and culture.

Mr. Schmidt and his wife, Darlene, have a son, Chris, and a daughter, Terri.

Stanley Buckman

Stanley J. Buckman was born November 24, 1908, in Tyndall, South Dakota. He received bachelor of science and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota College of Forestry in 1931 and 1933.

Dr. Buckman co-founded Central Laboratories, Inc. in 1941. Central’s first project was developing a decay-resistant wood for military use during World War II. He became one of the country’s leading authorities on wood preservation. The laboratory provided products for wood and fabrics for military uses and other essential defense purposes.

In 1945, Dr. Buckman founded Buckman Laboratories, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee. The company’s first product was microbiocide BMS-11, widely used for controlling slimes in paper machine systems. Today, Buckman Laboratories provides pulp and paper industry chemicals for control of pitch, stickies, deposits, retention and drainage aids, foam control, dye retention, recycling, water and wastewater treatment, and corrosion and scale control.

Although he was actively involved in all operations of the company, his first love was research and development. He was always in touch and knew the status of every project, initiating many of them. His name appears on most of the company’s initial patents as inventor or co-inventor, and he authored 26 publications.

Colleagues cite his contagious, youthful enthusiasm. He focused on the future, his optimism made it exciting, and his logic cut through the peripheral to the final solution. He was a member of 13 professional organizations related to his expertise, including American Chemical Society; American Society for Testing Materials; Canadian Pulp and Paper Association; Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI); Paper Industry Management Association (PIMA); New York Academy of Science; and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Buckman died September 10, 1978, in Memphis. His wife, Mertie W. Buckman and a son, John D. Buckman, are also deceased . He is survived by a son, Robert H. Buckman, and three grandchildren.

Richard Pratt

Richard J. Pratt was born in Danzig, of Polish parents, March 12, 1934, emigrating to Australia from pre-war Poland in 1938 via England. He graduated from University High School in 1952 and enrolled at University of Melbourne. At age 18, he was juggling study, theatre, and his position as company salesman for the family business, Visy Board. After a brief theatre career in London, he returned to Melbourne and the company,
Upon the death of his father, Mr. Pratt took over the company in 1969. At that time, it had annual turnover of about A$5 million. In 2002, group turnover exceeds A$3 billion (U.S. $1.7 billion).
One of the features of the Pratt Group Expansion was waste reclamation. Its first paper recycling mill was built in 1979. In 1997, Pratt Industries opened the world’s most advanced paper recycling facility on Staten Island, New York. Visy recycles more than 1.2 million tons of paper in the U.S.A. and Australia each year. The company recently expanded its new technical centre in Coolaroo, Victoria. In November 2001, the company officially opened it’s A$450 million kraft pulp and paper mill at Tumut, New South Wales. The mill has been hailed as the world’s cleanest and most technically advanced kraft paper mill.
Currently chairman of Visy Industries, Mr. Pratt’s public services include foundation chancellor, Swinburne University of Technology; chair of finance committee, U. S. Coral Sea Commemorative Council; president, Victorian Arts Center Trust; chairman, Australian Business Arts Foundation; and chairman, Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria.
Mr. Pratt received the AC, Companion of the Order of Australia in 1998, Australia’s highest honor. He had also received the AO, Officer of the Order of Australia, in 1985. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Swinburne University of Technology and Monash University. He was named the Packaging Achiever of the year by the Packaging Council of Australia.
Mr. Pratt and his wife, also an AC recipient, have a son, Anthony Joseph, chairman of Visy Industries, U.S.A.; and two daughters, Heloise Waislitz, chairman, Pratt Foundation; and Fiona Geminder, director, Visy Recycling.

Nathan Bergstrom

Nathan H. Bergstrom was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, April 25, 1895. After Neenah High School, he enrolled at Lawrence College, Appleton. He left in 1915 during his senior year at his father’s request to help in production at Bergstrom Paper Company.

He served in the 4th Wisconsin Infantry-Artillery, including time in France, from July 1917 to May 1919. After returning to Bergstrom Paper, he was named treasurer in 1921, secretary and treasurer in 1929, vice president in 1935, president in 1948, and chairman of the board in 1962. He served as president of Bergstrom Foundation from 1954 until retirement from both the company and the foundation in 1970. He was a director from 1919 until 1971.

In the 1930s, Mr. Bergstrom provided leadership for development of the company’s de-inking system. The firm’s de-inking process uniquely used a three-tower, three-stage process, resulting in more thorough bleaching and a product of exceptional brightness. The company used 70 percent recycled fibers, dramatically reducing costs while providing greater dimensional stability and opacity. These advances enabled Bergstrom Paper to expand into bible and legal papers, maps, and offset printing and writing papers.

Mr. Bergstrom co-founded the Wisconsin Paper Group, which allowed small producers to ship orders at favorable freight rates, and served as president from 1951-1952. He also helped develop what became Wisconsin Paper Council, an information service model largely adopted by American Paper and Pulp Association.

He was a highly-active member and official of Association of Pulp Consumers; American Paper and Pulp Association; and National Council for Stream Improvement, Inc.

Civic activity included Theda Clark Memorial Hospital; Boys&Mac226; Brigade; First National Bank of Neenah; World War II national committees; and state library development organizations.

Mr. Bergstrom died January 27, 1981. Preceding him in death were wives, Agnes Bergstrom and Ernestine W. Bergstrom, and a daughter, Alice Perry B. Moore. He is survived by two daughters, Marjorie B. Moore and Natalie B. Rindal.

Morris Kuchenbecker

Morris W. Kuchenbecker was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, July 15, 1928. At age 16, he worked for Ernst Mahler (1996 Hall of Fame inductee) as a gardener and occasional chauffeur. He graduated from Neenah High School in 1946, after which, he attended the Menasha Vocational & Technical School located in Menasha High School. He attended construction classes while working for his father’s construction business. Dissatisfaction with construction led him to take a job at the Institute of Paper Chemistry container laboratory.

He started working for Marathon Corporation in April 1948, and worked for the succeeding American Can Company and James River Corporation, retiring in 1992. He served as supervisor of the carton design department from 1954 to 1967, and as senior package design engineer from 1967 until his retirement.

During his career, Mr. Kuchenbecker had the unique ability to furnish packaging creativity on demand. He worked very closely with other product development personnel and machine development companies to furnish the customers with complete systems to take their products to market.

Mr. Kuchenbecker invented the first half-gallon ice cream carton to run on an automatic filling machine. He invented the only widely-used paperboard carton for the packaging of bacon. After exclusive manufacturing rights expired, many companies nationwide continued its manufacture. He also invented a combination paperboard carton inserted into a clear plastic sleeve. This carton won the Gold Award for Structural Design in the 1983 National Paperboard Packaging Competition. Perhaps the largest sellers invented by Mr. Kuchenbecker were ice cream cartons, bacon cartons, Waxtex boxes, frozen food cartons, and a microwave cook-in carton widely used by Pillsbury, Green Giant, Birdseye, and others.

In his 44 years of service, he amassed 79 U.S. patents in the area of package design directed toward the dairy, meat, frozen food, and other related businesses. He also is the recipient of 14 foreign patents in various countries. During his career, his inventions resulted in an estimated production of 393,000 tons of paperboard to manufacture nearly 11 billion packages.

Civic activities included service on the Board of Appeals for the City of Neenah, and as a leader for the Neenah Boys’ Brigade.

Mr. Kuchenbecker and his wife, Jean, have four sons, Steven, Dennis, Rodney, and Timothy, and one daughter, Julie.

Joseph Plank

Joseph J. Plank was born in Brillion, Wisconsin, December 30, 1881. He received his high school diploma at Appleton High School. He initially was employed as a designer at Appleton Screen Plate Company. While delivering screen plates to local papermakers, he noted the dandy rolls were arriving from Europe and the East Coast in damaged condition, causing long delays for repairs. He got permission to take a damaged roll home and repaired it successfully.

With a $500 family loan and an old horse barn, Mr. Plank founded J. J. Plank Company in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1907. Today, the company is a multi-million dollar firm producing dandy rolls and auxiliary equipment for paper companies worldwide.

Mr. Plank’s company was dedicated to developing and producing dandy rolls, an important mechanical part of a paper machine’s wet end. Dandy rolls were designed to improve formation and to provide distinctive watermarks differentiating sheets.

He received two patents on the design of dandy rolls, both covering their improved construction. He also pioneered the transition of hand-formed watermarks to the electrotype process. The techniques in dandy roll construction significantly improved the durability and life of the rolls. Improved watermark clarity led to a superior production process for making watermarked grades of paper.

Among his civic contributions, Mr. Plank was commissioner of Appleton Water Works and was instrumental in taking the water utility public. He reorganized the corporation and modernized the facilities to make it safe and reliable.

Mr. Plank died October 17, 1949. At the time, he was survived by his wife, Henrietta Kamps, and children, Sybelle, Gertrude, Mary, William, Margaret, and Annette.