Thomas A. Gardner

Thomas Gardner was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin on June 8, 1926, the first born son of Alfred T Gardner, papermaker at Combined Locks Paper company. The family moved from Appleton to Port Arthur, Ontario in 1941 where Tom attended Port Arthur Collegiate for two years. Prior to completing high school in Duluth, he served one season on the Great Lakes cruise ship, SS Noronic, and a second season on ore carriers. He then served in the Canadian Navy in the North Atlantic in 1944-45. Gardner received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon in 1949.

Following graduation, Gardner worked for Abitibi Power and Paper in Ontario, Canada as a design engineer (1949-53); for Marathon Corporation (American Can) in Neenah, Wisconsin as senior staff engineer (1953-64); and then worked with Overly Inc., Neenah, Wisconsin, where he designed and built Gardner High Velocity Dryers and floater dryers (1964-74). He later licensed Valmet-Enerdry, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Knoxville, Tennessee, to build and install Gardner pocket ventilation systems (1971-90). As President and CEO of Gardner Systems Corporation, Neenah, Wisconsin, he developed and produced Gardner Blow-Through Steam Control Systems (1990-2011).

While working at Marathon, Gardner developed and patented his ideas of applying air jets at high velocity to produce high rates of heat and mass transfer for drying webs, and in 1958 successfully installed the first on-machine coater equipped with a Gardner Dryer.

Gardner dryers found use in a variety of applications worldwide such as drying coatings on paper machine coaters, on high speed off-machine coater installations, on Yankee tissue machines, and for drying of heat-set inks. He also invented and patented the high velocity “Floater” dryer that dried heat-set inks on both sides of the web at up to four times previous speeds.

He then developed and patented the Pocket Ventilating system that provided uniform drying across the web in paper machine dryers.

At Gardner Systems he went on to develop the new Gardner-Blow-Through Steam Control System for supplying steam and condensate drainage at high efficiency from paper machine dryers including the latest high speed dryers. Over 150 of these systems have been installed on paper machines around the world.

Gardner has 5 US Patents and 26 Technical Publications to his credit. He was a licensed Professional Engineer of the Province of Ontario and of the State of Wisconsin; a member of the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI); the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (CPPA); the Paper Industry Management Association (PIMA); the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation’s Technical Advisory Committee (GATF); the International Association of Scientific Papermakers (IASPM); and Pi Mu Epsilon – Mathematics Honor Society. He also received many Certificates of Appreciation for his numerous consulting services to the paper industry.

Gardner attributes much of his success to the support of his father, Alfred Gardner, as well as many other great paper industry people including Justin Jordan, manager of Abitibi’s mill at Port Arthur and president of CPPA, John Osborne, chief engineer at Bowaters Southern Paper Corp. and president of TAPPI, and Bill Overly, owner of Overly, Inc. (all now deceased).

Throughout his life Tom enjoyed many activities including scuba diving, sailing, alpine skiing, hunting and playing the piano.

Thomas Gardner retired in 2011 and lives in Neenah, Wisconsin. His wife for 60 years, Dorothy, passed away in 2006. They have four sons and two daughters.


Niilo Hakkarainen

Niilo Hakkarainen was born in Isalmi, Finland on December 22, 1927 and received his diploma engineer (M.S.) degree with a major in Paper Technology from the Helsinki Technical University in 1953. 

After graduation, Hakkarainen worked for Oy Papyrus Ab as a sales engineer (1953 – 54); with Oy Keskuslaboratorio Ab (KCL) as a research engineer (1954 – 55). This was followed by 12 years of employment with Kemi-Oy, first as a production manager (1955 – 58 & 1960 – 62) and then as director of pulp and paper (1962 – 66) rising to the position of CEO (1966 – 69). In 1970 he was invited to follow Juuso Walden (Hall of Fame Inductee) as President and CEO of United Paper Mills (UPM).

Hakkarainen was a visionary leader but a controversial person. He invested in the breaking field area of Thermo-Mechanical Pulp (TMP) manufacturing technology for products such as newsprint and both coated and uncoated magazine grades. The TMP process came from UPM’s Engineering Division Jylhävaara, the talc from UPM’s own mine and much of the twin wire paper machine development was done in partnership with Valmet.

Under Hakkarainen’s leadership of nearly 20 years (1970 – 1990), he turned UPM around to become one of the top paper companies of Finland through cost cutting and innovation. During his tenure, UPM experienced phenomenal growth and built eight world class paper machines, three of them in green field locations in the UK and France. Out of the eight, seven machines produced printing grades and the largest produced release base paper line.

Other key developments included pressure sensitive label laminations, air laid papers, composite materials with paper, polymers and aluminum foil and an aseptic liquid packaging system. Of these, the label laminates grew to a world-class business. At the end of Hakkarainen’s era in 1991, UPM was not only Finland’s strongest pulp and paper company, but also one of the world’s largest. 

Hakkarainen was a member and Chairman of the board of Sales Association Converta (1971 – 88); member of the board, Daily Mail and General Trust (1990); and a member of the Finnish Paper Engineer’s Association. 

The honors he received included the Finnish Paper Engineer’s Association (FPEA) Lampen Medal (highest honor FPEA bestows to any member) and the C.J. Jansson Prize. Interestingly, he refused to receive the highest honorary title in business, the Vuorineuvos title (Bergsrad in Swedish), because it was going to cost his company money!

Niilo Hakkarainen died in Helsinki, Finland on July 18, 2011. He is survived by his wife Kristiina who lives in Helsinki. They have three children – Nina, Eva and Anna.


Juhani Strömberg

Juhani Strömberg was born in Pori, Finland on September 11, 1941. He received his M.S. degree in Radio Chemistry from the University of Helsinki, Finland in 1968.

Strömberg worked with the University of Helsinki in the Department of Radio Chemistry (1969 – 82); United Paper Mills Ltd. (UPM), Tampere as General Manager of Label Materials (1982 – 85); UPM-Kymmene Corporation as President of Raflatac Group (1985 – 2002) and later became Senior Vice President, R & D, Raflatac Group (2002 – 03). 

Strömberg conceived of and spearheaded the water-based label stock laminates, the development of which revolutionized the global market. Label stock is important to the paper industry because the final product needs both face and release papers. In 1969 Strömberg was named product development manager in Raf. Haarla, later Raflatac, a division of UPM. He soon realized that water-based label stock laminates would have great opportunities because of qualitative and environmental reasons. But the costs were high due to the off-line manufacturing. Strömberg successfully developed and implemented the on-line manufacturing process, a procedure that had not been accomplished by any of the competitors. 

Strömberg’s team mastered a three-fold innovation: solid water-based adhesives, solvent-free silicones and advanced on-line production. The ability to do this at high speeds took 10 years to develop. During those ten years Strömberg’s team never lost faith. Turnover increased quickly by forty-fold from 1976 – 80 and rose another six times from 1980 – 85. The innovations of Raflatac have been a good example and motivator for further innovations in the converting industries. 

Strömberg led the development of a superior glassine released paper and influenced the development of better-quality face papers. The developments revolutionized the global market; their market share rose from 3% in 1970 to 65% by the end of the 1980’s.

Strömberg also made use of information technology to develop internal internet and real time customer service. Under his leadership, the delivery times for label-stock that had been weeks long were cut to a revolutionary 24/48-hour delivery, especially in the U.S.A.

Strömberg has 5 patents to his credit. He received the President of Finland’s Export Prize of the Year (1986); City of Tampere’s Technical Creativity Award (1992); President of Finland’s High Finnish Honorary Title (1999); Tampere Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leader of the Year (2000); Tampere University of Technology’s Doctor h.c. (2002) and Lampen Medal from the Finnish Paper Engineer’s Association (2012). 

Juhani Strömberg lives with his wife, Paula, in Tampere, Finland. They have two sons – Samuli and Petteri.

Irwin A. Pearl

Irwin Pearl was born in Seattle, Washington, on December 25, 1913. He received earned a Bachelor of Science in 1934, a Master of Science in 1935, and a Ph.D. in 1937, all from the University of Washington, in Seattle.

After serving in responsible technical positions (1937-40), Pearl joined the Institute of Paper Chemistry (IPC) in 1941 and worked as senior research associate and professor (1941-76) where he began his pursuit of lignin chemistry. In 1955, he was appointed leader of the Lignin Group. From 1977-90, he was a chemical consultant to the forest products industry.

Starting in 1941, Pearl recognized and explored the hidden value of lignin in black liquor—one of the first in the world to do so. He was a strong believer in the use of byproduct materials to create value-added products, and saw lignin derivatives as a rich opportunity that could rival petroleum and coal tar as a source of synthetic materials. He showed that, with further chemical treatment, lignin in kraft black liquor could yield useful lignosulfonates similar to those coming from sulfite pulping.

Pearl isolated vanillin and produced related products such as esters, amides, ethers, and other compounds from lignin that could be used for slime control, treatment of fungal infections, preservatives, and other applications. Thanks to his efforts, 1.25 million tons per year of lignin were productively diverted from streams and rivers. The work he launched was ahead of its time, and is now called biorefining.

In 1952, working with Robert Cohen, Pearl produced ethyl vanillate from lignin, providing an inexpensive source for a compound needed to treat serious, and sometimes fatal, fungal infections including actinomycosis, or lumpy jaw; histoplasmosis; blastomycosis; and coccidioidomycosis, or “Valley Fever.” Ethyl vanillate made from byproducts of wood pulp was used to treat patients in North America and Europe, as reported in The Science News-Letter and The British Medical Journal. The production of ethyl vanillate from wood pulp filled a critical need at a time when other treatments had not yet been discovered. Turning a study of lignin from black liquor into life-saving medication is an important example of the benefits that can come from research in our industry.

Pearl has over 100 publications in the Journal of the Chemical Society and other reknown journals and magazines. He was the author of The Chemistry of Lignin (New York: Marcel Dekker, 1967). His authoritative articles on lignin were published regularly in TAPPI Journal. He has 59 US patents and over 100 foreign patents to his credit.

He was an active member, later an Emeritus member, of the American Chemical Society, a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Forest Products Research Society, TAPPI, Phytochemical Society of North America, the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, and the American Philatelic Society. Pearl and wife Lillian were enthusiastic members of the Square Dancing Club.

Pearl passed away on May 14, 2014, in Wilmington, Delaware, at the age of 100, his wife Lillian died in 2005. They had two children; daughter Cheryl Kamm, who died in 2014, and son Hugh Pearl, who lives in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois.

Charles P. Klass

Charles (Chuck) Klass was born on February 6, 1940, at Piqua, Ohio but grew up in Dayton where his father worked. In 1962, Class received his Bachelor of Science degree (BA) from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, and his Masters in business management (MBA) from Pace University, New York City in 1968

Klass started working before and after he received his degrees. Some examples of his jobs included working at paper schools, paper, and allied industries, in sales & marketing and at trade Journals. He ended up in the management ladder when he started Klass Associates Inc., in 1986, and led the corporation to a huge success as its President.

Klass has over five (5) decades of pulp and paper and allied industry experience including 28 years as a consultant and innovator in the field of coated paper, paperboard, tissue, and many other paper-based products to paper related businesses all over the world, especially in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, UK, USA, and Uruguay.

Klass’s contributions led to the commercialization of the metered size press; coating of deinked post-consumer recycled waste papers; improving grease resistance, the development of Crayola Wonder paper, the development of rod coaters for Kohler Coating, the commercialization of nanoparticle big latex binders for Ecosynthetix, and the development of Colorlok technology for Hewlett-Packard for their inkjet papers.

Klass has 7 US and International patents to his credit. He has published 164 technical papers including chapters in books, TAPPI Journal and Nordisk Celulosa and other trade journals focusing on applied technology. The great majority of the publications appear as invited presentations in many conference proceedings worldwide.

Klass is a member of PIMA; TAPPI and CPPA. His public service activities included Jaycees, South Brunswick Township Recreation Commissioner, Lieutenant, and Pilot with New Jersey Civil Air Patrol, Board member of Philadelphia’s American Cancer Society,

For his contributions he received many honors including TAPPI Gold Medal; TAPPI Fellow; TAPPI Paper and Board Manufacturing Division Award and Harris O. Ware Prize; TAPPI Distinguished Service Award; TAPPI Coating and Graphic Arts Division Leadership and Service Award and became Western Michigan University’s Fellow. He also received the Paper Technology Foundation’s Hall of Fame Award.

Chuck Klass and his wife Beverly, live in Madeira Beach, Florida. They have one daughter and three grandchildren.