SPRINGFIELD — Thomas O’Connor Jr., chairman and CEO of Mohawk, will join U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to discuss the future of the fine-paper industry during the New England Paper Cluster’s annual conference today in Springfield.
The New England Paper Cluster, a regional, nonprofit trade association founded by the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, is comprised of New England-based businesses — including paper mills, packaging companies, and printing companies — that work to promote the regional paper industry.
Mohawk is currently completing renovations on an envelope-converting facility in South Hadley. The company is investing approximately $2 million to retrofit the facility and expects to hire up to 40 full-time employees to produce more than 500 million envelopes annually.
“Insightful, forward-thinking companies such as Mohawk are supporting the local paper economy by locating plants in New England,” said Ben Markens, principal of the Markens Group and president of the Paperboard Packaging Council. “This meeting will assist us in identifying ways we can encourage other paper-related firms to see value in moving to the region as well as share expertise and best practices so that existing companies may thrive.”
Added O’Connor, “The town of South Hadley has been extremely cooperative and supportive of our interest in opening a new envelope manufacturing and distribution facility. We selected our new facility in South Hadley because the layout of the building is ideal for our manufacturing needs, the site required minimal construction prior to becoming operational, and there is an abundant pool of highly skilled envelope workers in Western Massachusetts.”
Neal, a member of the Congressional Paper Caucus, will present an update from Washington about recent legislative efforts to promote the paper industry on the federal level.