So, the last installment of my a-viking adventure was my excitement for Swedish glass. It has not dimmed but it has changed. Thanks to the glass companies being bought out by larger conglomerates, it was REALLY hard to find information on these companies. We finally admitted defeat and switched companies. So, goodbye Glass, hello PAPER! Our new industry is the world of international paper and pulp mills as seen through the eyes of Stora Enso! It’s one of the largest companies in this industry and we will be taking a plant tour at its Hylte plant in Sweden.
Surprisingly, I’m actually really excited about this though in a completely different way than the previous companies. Little known fact about Laura: some of my first memories are visiting the printing company that my Dad worked at as a kid that printed and bound final products, mainly magazines and tradepress.* 4 out of my 6 siblings at some point in their lives worked at the same place. Dad started off as a pressman, worked in bindery for awhile, and ended his 30+ career as a maintenance worker. Essentially, he (and therefore my entire family) knew everything there was to know about a printing company. And one thing that he definitely knew was the paper used. I can remember occasions where he’d come home complaining about the latest new type of paper and how it had problems, i.e., would bleed or wouldn’t hold ink, would get caught in the presses, was too thin and would rip, etc. I’m really curious to see how Stora Enso is able to innovate paper while still maintaining the standards and characteristics required by its customers.
*As the largest employer in the area, a lot of kids’ parents worked there. Most of the other dads would sneak out the Seventeen and Teen Bop magazines that were printed there for their kids months before those editions actually hit the stands. But not my Dad. I had to wait until they hit the news stand and paid full retail. I suppose as someone in my mid-thirties I should by now appreciate the lessons that this taught about honesty, morals, etc., but I admit – I’m still annoyed 25 years later.