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Getting the Best from a Diverse Background

What do General Motors, Harley Davidson, Michelin Tires and Alcoa have in common?

They all provided Everick Spence with a diverse set of manufacturing experiences, which later helped advance Domtar’s success at Continuous Improvement (CI).

In 2016, Spence joined Domtar as director of Continuous Improvement, our disciplined, intentional approach to improving our manufacturing efficiency, reliability and quality.

Spence found that the diversity of his previous experiences in a number of different industries equipped him well to see opportunities in pulp and paper manufacturing. This background allowed him to help accelerate positive results from Domtar’s CI program.

“A large part of Domtar’s CI success is due to bringing daily management systems and decision-making to the mill floor, empowering operators to come up with work improvement ideas and ways to reduce costs,” commented Spence. “Trust by mill leadership in its workforce drives progress toward bottom-line objectives and a highly engaged culture across our 13 pulp and paper mills.”

It was that kind of passion and practical leadership that led to Spence’s promotion in September 2018, to general manager at our mill in Plymouth, North Carolina. “It was an unexpected surprise, but my broad manufacturing background really helped me to quickly grasp Plymouth’s systems, resolve issues and apply a great number of CI principles directly to mill floor operations,” said Spence.

Spence believes his two years at Domtar’s headquarters in Fort Mill, South Carolina, offered him invaluable opportunities to learn Domtar’s proud culture and build relationships that were pivotal for successful communication with Plymouth personnel.

“Success as a mill manager requires a unique set of skills,” he explained, “not the least of which is gaining the trust of staff. You also need to demonstrate your depth of knowledge and experience through sound decision-making, while at the same time patiently coaching individuals and teams to run operations and solve problems.”

As the generational transition in our workforce continues, Domtar embraces those who can bring their diverse background, experiences and skills to the table.

Everick Spence