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Meet Hassen Debbache, One of Domtar’s Environmental Engineers

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Hassen Debbache is one of Domtar's environmental engineers.

It takes teamwork — and engineers — to manufacture pulp and paper products responsibly and sustainably. Engineers, whether they’re mechanical, chemical or process engineers, are an important piece of the puzzle at Domtar because they enable us to operate more efficiently. Our environmental engineers help us be good stewards of the natural resources on which our industry depends.

As a chemical engineer looking to start his career in a sustainability-focused industry, Hassen Debbache quickly homed in on the forest products industry and Domtar’s Dryden Mill. He not only helps the mill team manage environmental compliance but also contributes to solutions improve manufacturing reliability.

Debbache celebrates his one-year anniversary with Domtar on Nov. 23, and he’s grateful for the hands-on support he’s received from colleagues.

“I speak to the mill manager (Marie Cyr) almost daily, and I have direct access to people in every function … maintenance, the lab, you name it,” he says.

This broad exposure, plus his natural inclination toward innovation and inclusivity, has helped Debbache gain deep experience in a short time.

“By shadowing others, asking questions and taking the lead on projects, Hassen soaks everything up like a sponge,” says Brian Kozlowski, Domtar’s director of environment and sustainability. “He’s an up-and-comer and is setting himself up well for success.”

Hassen Debbache is one of several environmental engineers at Domtar

A Forward Thinker

As one of several environmental engineers at Domtar, Debbache monitors and reports on the mill’s air, solid and water emissions, and he applies for the necessary regulatory permits.

He also looks for ways to improve the Dryden Mill’s environmental performance. During the mill’s annual maintenance shutdown, he inspected the site’s sewer system, collaborating with the engineering department to address any potential weaknesses or risks that could lead to an environmental incident.

“Because Hassen takes a big-picture perspective, he brings ideas to the table that can help us in the long-term,” says Dryden’s General Manager Marie Cyr. “He is very keen to address the environmental issues we face and is eager to produce solutions.”

Collaboration is Key

Debbache credits his peers for helping him grow professionally. Kozlowski hosts virtual meetings that bring the company’s environmental managers and environmental engineers together to collaborate.

Debbache says that being able to work well with others is just as important as the technical aspects of being an engineer. “Collaboration is more than being able to get along with like-minded people,” he says. “I need to be able to partner with people in many different roles and from diverse backgrounds.”

An Inclusive Approach

For Debbache, being inclusive is something he learned at a young age. His family moved to the United Arab Emirates, which is populated by 192 nationalities, from Algeria when he was 8 years old. He quickly adapted by learning Arabic and English, and he picked up on the importance of listening.

“For me, being inclusive means being open to hear the other person, especially when someone is being negative. You learn more when someone complains than when they’re happy,” he says. “Usually there’s a reason for the complaint, and it’s important to understand their point of view.”

It was his open attitude that led Debbache to Canada from the UAE in the first place. When exploring his options for university, he didn’t want to set geographic limits. He chose Western University in London, Ontario, for its unique program that allowed him to complete a double minor in biochemical and environmental engineering in addition to his major in chemical engineering.

Debbache completed an internship at a Canadian energy company and briefly considered returning to the UAE for a job in oil and gas after he graduated. However, he loved the Canadian experience. “I see myself here, and everyone makes me feel welcome,” he says. “I love the four seasons. I’ve even tried ice fishing, which didn’t even sound like a real thing when I first heard about it.”

Though early in his career, Debbache already is an important contributor at the mill. “Hassen has become a key player on our team by bringing a true collaborative approach to his work,” says Cyr. “We deal with complex challenges in our operations. His critical thinking and his adaptability help us meet these challenges in a sustainable way.”

Are you an engineer who wants to learn more about working in manufacturing? Have a look at these Newsroom stories.

Domtar employs engineers from a variety of disciplines in a range of roles at our mills in Canada and the United States. Our entry-level engineering program is great for new graduates like Hassen, and we also offer co-ops and internships for students.

Visit our careers website to search for jobs and apply.