Alumni Story: Project Smoky

Alumni are helping develop one of the nation’s largest recycling facilities

In 2020, Domtar Paper Company, one of North America’s largest copy paper manufacturers, announced one of its manufacturing operations in Kingsport, Tennessee, would be converted to produce more than 600,000 tons per year of 100 percent recycled cardboard products. This site will become the second-largest and most productive recycling paper machine in the U.S., and it is set to begin producing at the end of 2022.

Domtar has committed over $350 million and a team of more than 100 engineers to convert the facility — a project dubbed Project Smoky. Several Project Smoky leaders are Clemson alumni, and they got together for a picture with one of the site’s “headache balls,” which is attached to a large crane used to lift and position steel and equipment.

“Between [Domtar Paper Company, Yates Engineering and Isomer], there are over 30 Clemson grads who have contributed to Smoky,” said Charlie Floyd ’80*, Domtar’s vice president of packaging business capital. “I personally take great comfort in our project team skills and contribution because I know what it takes to be a Clemson engineer.

“I’ve never met a Clemson grad who wasn’t proud of that degree and the hard work required to earn it.” 


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