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NORCROSS, GA, USA--February 22, 2010-– Willis J. Potts Jr. will receive the 2010 TAPPI Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award, established in 1994. It recognizes an individual for voluntary leadership and service that has significantly and demonstrably contributed to the advancement of TAPPI. It carries a cash prize valued at more than US $50,000.

“Willis’ long career as a manager and administrator sets him apart from many other leaders in the forest products industry,” said Larry N. Montague, President of TAPPI. “In addition to his contributions in the field, he saw TAPPI through its recent reorganization and restructuring, bringing additional value to our membership and strength to the association.”

Retired from Temple Inland, Rome, GA, USA, Potts is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree with highest honors. He also completed the University of Virginia’s Executive Program. Potts served Union Camp for more than 30 years, beginning his career as an engineer in Savannah. He held both operational and management positions including Resident Manager of Union Camp’s mill in Prattville, AL, before becoming General Manager and Senior Vice President of the company in 1992. He joined Temple Inland in 1999, retiring in 2004 as Vice President and General Manager of the Rome, GA, operations.

Potts, a former board member and Chairman of TAPPI, actively has supported TAPPI on all levels, from student activities and regional chapters to numerous conference and exhibits. He has served in nearly every capacity of TAPPI’s divisional structure. Additionally, he served as President of PIMA in 1995 and was Chairman of TAPPI when the organization joined forces with PIMA, building a strong management program for the two associations.

A TAPPI Fellow, Potts also has served as Chair of the Finance Committee of the TAPPI Board. He has been a member of the TAPPI Foundation Board of Directors as well. He also received the Glen T. Renegar Award recognizing an individual who provided outstanding service and contribution to the growth and betterment of the field of paper industry management from PIMA and the Management Excellence Award from CPBIS/PIMA.

In addition to being a military veteran, he has public service that includes work with the United Way, the Boy Scouts of America, The American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Clubs, March of Dimes, Prattville/Savannah/Rome Chambers of Commerce, Rome-Floyd County Development Authority, University System of Georgia Board of Regents, President of the Auburn Pulp and Paper Foundation and member of the Alabama Pulp and Paper Council.

Potts was nominated for the Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award by Harry T. Cullinan, PhD. Cullinan is director of the Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering, and professor, ChE Department, Auburn University. “Willis’ constellation of contributions have quite simply preserved and enhanced the value of TAPPI for the benefit of its members,” Cullinan said. “I can think of no one more deserving of this honor than Willis Potts.”

In 1994 Herman L. Joachim made a gift to TAPPI that was used to establish the Herman L. Joachim Distinguished Service Award Fund. Since that time the Fund has provided a cash honorarium to each year’s honoree. Herman L. Joachim was a TAPPI member for more than 70 years. He joined TAPPI while working as a chemist at the Bogalusa Paper Company in Louisiana. He later managed paper mills throughout the United States and was responsible for expansions and modernizations in the industry. He also enjoyed a successful career as an engineering consultant.

Potts will be honored at the Tuesday evening, May 4, 2010, awards dinner during the 2010 PaperCon Conference at the Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA, USA in conjunction with the 2010 PaperCon meeting.


TAPPI is the leading association for the worldwide pulp, paper, packaging, and converting industries and publisher of Paper360° and TAPPI JOURNAL. Through information exchange, trusted content, and networking opportunities, TAPPI helps members elevate their performance by providing solutions that lead to better, faster, and more cost-effective ways of doing business. Visit


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