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Tour Takeaways: Greif Riverville


The agenda of the tour was to discuss the operations and processes at Greif’s Riverville Mill. Each presenter on the tour discussed their individual roles and the tasks they performed at the mill. They also discussed safety measures, maintenance procedures, production processes, logistics, and environmental management at the mill.


Takeaway 1: Riverville Mill’s commitment to a safe and diverse workplace

Riverville Mill is committed to ensuring a safe work environment for its team. They prioritize safety and demonstrate this through extensive training programs, emergency response teams, and strict adherence to safety protocols.

“Each member of the team is engaged and has a meaningful role in the safety process. The leadership team here exemplifies their commitment to safety by empowering the teams with the resources and authority to identify hazards, assess risks, and problem solve,” said Carrie Brown, the Health and Safety Superintendent.

Angela Reed, the Manager of Safety and Employee Services, further highlighted Riverville’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by stating, “We strive for diversity and inclusion in all we do. Women make up a small percentage of the workforce here, but we are represented at all levels of the team.”

Takeaway 2: Maintenance and engineering team’s crucial role at Riverville Mill

The maintenance and engineering team at Riverville Mill plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth running of operations. They provide round-the-clock support to the mill, address technical issues, and continuously work towards process improvements.

Ryan Knapp, the Maintenance Manager, noted, “Our goal is to safely maintain all the equipment and facilities in the mill in a manner that optimizes asset uptime, controls cost, and reduces long-term operational risk.”

Other members of the team, JD Burley, Barry Gilbert, and CD Williams, shared their specific roles and responsibilities. From vibration analysis to electrical apprenticeship and process control engineering, they illustrate the variety and complexity of the tasks handled by the maintenance and engineering teams.

Takeaway 3: The role of technology and effective waste management at Riverville Mill

Riverville Mill leverages technology and effective waste management practices. The results are the optimization of their operations and the minimization of their environmental footprint. This is clear from their use of advanced machinery, effective use of byproducts, and comprehensive waste treatment processes.

Billy Caldwell, a licensed Wastewater Treatment Operator, explained how the mill effectively manages waste: “The Environmental department is responsible for the drinking water, wastewater treatment, solid waste recycling, and solid waste disposal. Approximately two-thirds of our solid waste is reused or recycled, where only about one-third ends up in the landfill.”

Takeaway 4: The importance of training and development opportunities at Riverville Mill

Riverville Mill is invested in the professional growth of its employees and offers numerous training and development opportunities. This is clear in the maintenance apprenticeship program and the provision of individual development plans (IDPs).

As Barry Gilbert, an electrical apprentice, shared, “The Maintenance Apprenticeship Program is a four-year program that combines on-the-job training with formal classroom training…it’s given me the opportunity to take the knowledge I learned from production and learn the technical aspect of what’s going on in the mill.” Angela Reed also highlighted using Individual Development Plans (IDPs) as a tool for professional growth at the mill: “Each year, we return to our individual development plans. These IDPs are a useful tool to determine both what colleagues want to focus on in the future and how it will be accomplished.”

Takeaway 5: Riverville Mill’s high production capacity and effective logistics

Riverville Mill has an impressive production capacity and effective logistics, ensuring a steady supply of products to customers. The mill’s high output and efficient shipping procedures are key to its success.

Fred Bush, the Production Support Manager, shared, “Riverville ships about 50,000 tons a month. On a weekly basis, we would ship around 600 trucks and seven to ten rail cars of outbound roll stock.” Megan Stoy, the superintendent over the OCC plant and Number Two paper machine, also detailed the mill’s production capabilities: “The OCC plant was built in 1989 and it’s been upgraded over the years to produce up to 1200 tons a day…Number Two machine came along in 1993 and it is a two ply machine producing 100% recycled liner board.”

Insights surfaced

  • The mill has a strong safety culture, with everyone feeling responsible for safety and pursuing it daily.
  • The mill is both FSC and SFI certified, meaning all the wood that they buy is harvested in a sustainable fashion.
  • The mill operates 24/7 and ships about 50,000 tons a month.
  • The mill has a team of 78 colleagues in the maintenance department, providing round-the-clock support.
  • The mill has an Environmental department responsible for drinking water, wastewater treatment, solid waste recycling, and solid waste disposal.
  • The mill has a dedicated fleet operated by Cowan that consists of 74 tractors and on average 325 to 350 trailers.


Key quotes

  • “The Riverville mill has built a strong and positive safety culture. The team here is connected around a common goal of zero harm the mill’s culture.”
  • “We’d like to buy, on average, about 10,000 tons of wood per week. That equivaleates to roughly 76 truckloads per day.”
  • “Our onsite warehouse at number one only holds less than a day’s worth of production from that machine. And our number two onsite warehouse will only hold about two and a half to three days of production from that one.”
  • “We take care of all the machine controls, the operator workstations, PLCs, communications with drives and we also take care of an in house control network separate from the business network that consists of about 60 switches.”
  • “The Environmental department is responsible for the drinking water, wastewater treatment, solid waste recycling, and solid waste disposal.”

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