Profiles in Paper: Roy Geigel


Born: I was born Sept. 19, 1945, in Manitowoc, Wis.

Education: I graduated from Huron College (Huron, S.D.) in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Family: I married Darlene Miller in 2004. We have no children.

Q: When and how did you enter the paper industry?

A: After spending four years in the U.S. Air Force, I began my paper career at Fort Howard Paper Co. (now Georgia-Pacific) in Green Bay, Wis., in 1971 and started procuring waste paper—now called secondary fiber—for the mill. After working for a number of paper companies—including Brown Co. (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Fibres International (Bellevue, Wash.), and Kimberly-Clark Corp. (Neenah, Wis., and Roswell, Ga.)—I formed Fox River Fiber in 1991 with two other former Kimberly-Clark employees.

Q: What was it about the industry that prompted you to build a career in it?

A: I started in the paper industry totally by accident. I was on my way to a job interview with an insurance company when I got lost and turned around in the parking lot of Fort Howard Paper Co. On my way home from the insurance job interview, I stopped at Fort Howard and applied for any job the company had. I was hired as a waste paper buyer. The rest, as they say, is history.

Q: What have been your most rewarding professional achievements? Personal achievements?

A: My most rewarding professional achievement—after 47 years in the paper recycling industry—was the education I provided to all the people I hired and trained. Most of them went on to “bigger and better things” and made names for themselves.

My personal achievements include serving on charitable boards, helping disadvantaged families, organizing fundraisers, completing the World Race 2011 automotive race around the world, and renovating a barn, a caboose, and a home. I’ve also traveled to over 100 countries and six of the seven continents.

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m passionate about animals. My wife and I support animal shelters, an elephant sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., and a wild mustang refuge in Hot Springs, S.D.

Q: Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

A: Few people know that I went to college on a music scholarship. The Huron College Symphony Orchestra needed one more tuba player to qualify as a full symphony, and I think I was the last tuba player left in the entire state in 1967.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I like to tinker with my collection of sports cars, do woodworking, work on our barn (which never seems to be competed), cook, and read. You also can include drinking beer, watching ESPN, and going to casinos.

Q: When and why did your company decide to join ReMA and the PSI Chapter?

A: Fox River Fiber joined ReMA and PSI when my partners and I started the company because we thought we should contribute to the industry and offer anything we could to its success.

Q: Did you hold any volunteer leadership positions within PSI?

A: I was involved in a few ad hoc committees, including one tasked with writing the specifications for Sorted Office Paper (SOP) and File Stock (FS). My goal was to help end the confusion over precisely what type of fiber qualified as SOP and FS.

What benefits did you receive from your PSI involvement?

A: Fox River Fiber benefited from its PSI membership by exposing the industry to what we were doing and, I suspect, garnering some customers as a result.

Q: What are the major challenges facing the paper recycling industry today?

A: I think the major challenges the industry has to face are the advance of the “paperless” office and the future requirement of completely “clean” recycling.

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