In 1938, nylon and the ballpoint pen were invented, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the U.S. president, and the average home price was $4,000. It was also the year when opening a cellulose mill in Brunswick, Ga., was an extremely risky venture in the post- depression era.
This summer, 75 years later, more than 1,000 mill employees, family members, retirees, community leaders and business leaders gathered to celebrate the mill’s diamond anniversary. Retirees who started at the mill as long ago as 1941 were able to see first-hand how the operation has evolved since earlier days.
“At that time, bleached pulp from Southern wood fiber to make paper had not been produced on any commercial scale,” said David Martinez, general manager of GP Cellulose in Brunswick. “Heavy manufacturing, especially in pulp production, was very rare in the deep South.”
The Brunswick mill began as a joint venture between two paper companies. In 1988 Georgia-Pacific purchased it and it later became part of the GP Cellulose business.
The logistical and natural resources of the Brunswick region made it an ideal location for the operation. When the first shipments of paper left the Brunswick mill in February 1938, daily production was 150 tons per day. Many expansions and changes have occurred since that time, and the mill is now the largest, single-site fluff pulp mill in the world.
Today, the GP Cellulose business as a part of Georgia-Pacific has grown considerably from just a few short years ago. Every day, product leaves the mill headed to customers in more than 80 countries by truck, rail and ship.
One common factor for the mill still holds true 75 years later, adds Martinez. “We can boast the same employee talent, commitment and passion to lead the competition today as was present in 1938. From its beginning, the mill was set up to succeed because of the people and employees involved.”
Congratulations to the Brunswick mill employees - past and present - who remain dedicated to the success of the Brunswick operation!