Honghi Tran

Honghi Tran was born in Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam on April 20, 1951 and received his bachelors (1975) and masters (1977) degrees in engineering, both from the Shizuoka University, Japan. In 1982, he completed his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

Tran increased the energy and chemical recovery efficiencies of the mills. His fully expanded sootblower nozzle design is now used in over 95% of the world’s recovery boilers. His other inventions include: Low pressure sootblowing steaming in use in many new recovery boilers; use of borate autocausting technology; Theory explaining the stabilization of burner operations in the kiln and Fundamental studies on the recovery boiler conversion chemistry. 

As Frank Dottori Professor of pulp and paper engineering and director of the Pulp and Paper Centre at the University of Toronto, Tran has been an outstanding contributor to the pulp and paper industry. He has acted as a conduit between university research and industry needs; including 55 industrial partners and over 140 university-company partnerships, both national and international. Over 200 of his students (undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral) have gone on to pursue careers in the industry. He also conducted a TAPPI Kraft Recovery Course that trained about 3,700 people mainly from paper industry and its suppliers. 

Tran is the recipient of over 12 awards including the most prestigious ones like the TAPPI Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal (the highest honor given by TAPPI); the John S. Bates Gold Medal (the highest award given by PAPTAC); and the Lifetime Achievements and Contributions Award from the International Chemical Recovery conference technical program committee. 

Tran has published nearly 280 conference and journal articles including 19 technical papers of which 17 have been awarded “best conference papers”. He also holds 8 patents. 

Tran resides with his wife Airan Tran in Toronto. They have two children: Daughter Angela Kingyens who lives in Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A and Son Christopher in Ottawa, Canada.

Douglas Wahren

Douglas Wahren was born in Norrköping, Sweden on March 12, 1934. He received his Masters (1956) and Ph.D. (1964) in Mechanical Engineering, both from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

After graduation, he worked with many prestigious institutions including Beloit Corporation, U.S.A (1964); STFI, Stockholm, Sweden (1969-73); AB Karlstad Mekaniska and Werkstad, (KMW), Sweden (1974-79); Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.A (1979-87); STORA Tech., Sweden1987-96); and in 1996 founded his own consulting firm “The Profit Professor” (1996). Douglas Wahren was a man full of ideas. 

Wahren’s excellent work on three-dimensional fiber networks has led to the development of modern hydraulic paper machine head boxes. His research has led to a greater understanding of sheet formation from “fiber dispersion” to “Floc dispersion” and has been the basis for many subsequent wet-end innovations such as high consistency forming. 

Wahren’s research has led to other notable achievements such IMPULSE DRYING (1970), a process involving more intense drying rather than trying to further the size of the dryer section. STFI’s Impulse technology program was inaugurated by the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf with Wahren as the guest of honor. 

Wahren’s SSVL Project report with James Davis (1981) is an excellent resource for the closed paper mill concept for saving energy and water. Wahren holds seventeen (17) patents, and has published three (3) books and at least fourteen technical papers. In recognition of his significant achievements, he was awarded the TAPPI Gunderson Nicholson Gold Medal (1998), TAPPI Research & development Research Div. Award and William H. Aiken Prize (1990); TAPPI and Board Mfg. Div. Award and Harris O. Ware Prize (1988); Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Science Award (1987); TAPPI Fellow (1981) and the Honorary title of professor at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (1973). He married his childhood friend, Inger, in 1957.

Wahren caught polio in 1949 at the age of fifteen, was unconscious for six weeks and found himself paralyzed from the neck down. His treatment with penicillin, strenuous physical therapy, positive outlook and sheer determination helped him get better. He was a member of TAPPI Paper Physics Committee and Sigma Xi.

Wahren died on December 27, 2011 in Täby, Sweden where his wife still resides. He had two children: Daughter Caroline who lives in Täby; Son lives in Waterville, Ohio, U.S.A.

Averill John Wiley

Averill Wiley was born in Pullman, Washington, on June 10, 1911. After attending Whitworth University for two years, he received his Bachelors (1935) and Masters (1936) of Science degrees, both from the Washington State University and subsequently did graduate work for 2.5 years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Averill was an early environmental scientist who specialized in the development of alternative uses of the spent products from the pulp and paper industry. 

Following a short stint as a bacteriologist for the city of Spokane, Washington, he was hired as the Technical Director of the Wisconsin Sulphite Pulp Manufacturers Research League (SPMRL) to operate and manage a small pilot plant in Appleton, Wisconsin. By 1966, SPMRL grew to include 38 U.S. and 3 Canadian pulp mills, a laboratory and the pilot plant. The staff grew to include 56 chemists, technicians and administrators. The SPMRL was later renamed as Pulp Manufacturers Research League (PMRL) that eventually merged with the Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, Wisconsin. (late 1970s).

Many productive and environmentally significant uses of sulphite pulp wastes were developed under Wiley’s direction. He was one of the first to make use of reverse osmosis technology for cleaning up effluents from sulphite mills. He later conceptualized that it takes less energy to freeze water than to evaporate it and combined reverse osmosis technology with a freeze-concentration step that reduced energy costs for the overall process. It was a highly successful pilot-plant demonstration at two pulp mill locations.

Wiley was the author, or co-author, of 65 technical papers, one book and seven (7) U.S. and foreign patents. 

Wiley was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Gaulladet College in Washington, D.C. “for a distinguished career as a bacteriologist, biochemist, and research director (1968); Invited to present a research paper at the International TAPPI Conference in Stockholm, Sweden (1953); He was chosen out of 700 candidates and awarded the Nash Prize for Conservation for his “Outstanding Contribution in Reducing Sulphite Stream Pollution (1950).

He was a member of the American Chemical Society, Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry and the Alexander Graham Bell Society. He received the Nash Award for Conservation for his “outstanding contributions in reducing sulphite stream pollution”. Wiley accomplished all of this even though he had lost his hearing at the age of 15 due to meningitis

Averill Wiley died in Appleton in 2002 at the age of 91. His wife, Maud, died in 2013. They have two sons, Averill J. Wiley Jr. and William T. Wiley.

Lewis Miller Alexander

Lewis M. Alexander was born on July 12, 1856 in Osage, Iowa, on a farm into a family of 11 children. After completing a four-year course at Cedar Valley Seminary in Osage, he started working with the Osage National Bank, eventually organizing and leading many other banks and other companies in his career. 

In 1905, he teamed with John Edwards to manage John Edwards Manufacturing Company in Port Edwards and soon became its President. In 1893, Alexander with Tom E. Nash, and others, organized the Nekoosa Paper Company. In 1896, he built the John Edwards Paper Mill in Port Edwards for producing newsprint. In 1908, four companies combined to create the Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Company in Port Edwards; in 1911 Alexander was named President, a role he filled ably until his death in 1934. Under his leadership, the valuation of the company grew by a factor of 50. 

In 1925, Alexander established a reforestation program on an unproductive land near the Wisconsin River. This became one of the first industrial tree nurseries in the country.

Alexander was also concerned with hydro-electric power. He brought other paper companies and power generators together to help regulate the flow of the Wisconsin River. Alexander also built a man-made lake, Nepco Lake, to better provide process water for the manufacture of high-grade printing paper. Nepco Lake still thrives today as a popular recreational area. 

Alexander passionately supported local education in Port Edwards and Nekoosa. He served as a trustee of Lawrence College, Appleton, Wisconsin for more than 30 years and, in 1929, was a founding trustee of the Institute of Paper Chemistry (IPC) on the campus of Lawrence College. He also served as president of the Lawrence College Board of Trustees for many years and was the major donor for building of Alexander Gymnasium. 

Alexander received a silver platter showing his affiliation with various paper mills that made up Nekoosa-Edwards Paper Co. He was also included in the Wisconsin Industrial Hall of Fame. Alexander married Lida Edwards of Port Edwards, and they had two children: Daughter Pauline and Son John.

Lewis Alexander died in Port Edwards, Wisconsin, on August 7, 1934