January 22, 2014GORHAM — Brian McAlary, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for both Gorham Paper & Tissue and Old Town Fuel and Fiber in Maine, sent out a reassuring email on Thursday to its customers, some of whom are apparently skittish about the paper mill's recent news of its need to restructure.
"As you may know, lack of pipeline capacity to New England is driving natural gas prices to record highs," McAlary said. "Like other Northeastern paper mills, we are being forced to rethink the way we operate. Our restructuring announcement a few weeks ago mitigates the unprecedented gas situation, helps to contain costs through the winter, and provides the necessary foundation for long-term viability.
"Contrary to industry speculation, the Gorham mill is fully operational. Over the past few weeks we ran our #1, #9 and #6 paper machines, supporting our core markets including lightweight printing, packaging, towel and tissue.
"We are fortunate to have a team of 190 employees committed to doing whatever it takes to meet customer requirements.
"Numerous decisions are being made daily by our leadership team to overcome our current challenges and better position the mill in the future. CEO Mike Cummings regularly meets with state officials and natural gas suppliers to address our energy situation while demonstrating the need to fast-track the pipeline expansion.
"Dave Cameron leads our operations in mill-wide energy conservation initiatives, including retrofitting our boilers to use alternative fuels.
"Ann White balances natural gas pricing with customer deadlines as she schedules machines. To become a more consistent supplier, Ann and I are working together to build customer-specific inventory programs.
"The past few weeks we have been internally focused as we executed the restructuring. Our communication has suffered as a result.
"On behalf of the Gorham team, please accept our apologies for any inconveniences, concerns or confusion that we may have caused."
McAlary concluded with both his thanks and a pledge: "We greatly appreciate your continued support and are committed to emerging from this crisis as a stronger business."