For some of our colleagues, working at Domtar is more than a job. It’s a family tradition that spans generations.
With roots going back nearly 170 years, including a long-standing presence in many North American cities and towns, you can visit nearly any Domtar location and find people following in the footsteps of a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or an uncle. These generations may even be working alongside each other.
For these colleagues, working at Domtar is more than just a matter of convenience. It’s a family tradition and a way of life. We take it as a compliment to our company culture.
“When you have an industry in a small community, many children grow up wanting to work where their parents work,” says Brenda Meloche-Gagné, a human resources senior advisor at the Espanola Mill. “We have many common names in our Espanola Mill. Personally, I was very excited to begin my career at the mill. My mother, Pearl Meloche; my father, Peter Meloche; and my brother, Brent Meloche, were already working, along with my husband (boyfriend at the time), Ray Gagné, and his father, Joe Gagné. Ray’s brother and sister also worked a few years as summer students. This mill has provided many opportunities for families in our community.”
Here are a few stories of colleagues who have made a family tradition of working at Domtar.
“I knew I would make a career here.”
In November 2017, after 35 years of work, Marc Cloutier retired from his job at the Windsor Mill. He was the fourth generation to work at the facility, and he hopes he won’t be the last. His son, Antoine, recently started an internship that Marc hopes will evolve into a full-time job, making Antoine a fifth-generation Domtar employee to follow family tradition.
“Since I was two, three, four years old, I always heard about the mill, so I knew coming in that I would make a career here,” Cloutier says. “They’re a very good employer. Conditions are good, safety is good. Why not work for the best?”
“It’s one of the best jobs someone can have.”
When Rich Koehn joined the Port Huron Mill as a laborer in 1992, he had a similar impression thanks to his dad Chris, who worked there for 38 years. Rich soon discovered what kept his dad there his entire career.
“I thought it was an assembly line where people stayed in one place all day,” he says. But then he toured and quickly saw why his father enjoyed working for Domtar all those years. It was a collaborative and positive environment where people look out for one another.
“The family atmosphere at this mill is unbelievable,” he says. “I love working here.”
Koehn also says working at the mill was exactly the kind of steady employment he needed as a newly married young father looking to support his family. “In this area, it’s one of the best jobs someone can have,” says Koehn, who attributes Domtar’s reputation as a great employer to the pay, the company’s commitment to safety and its caring culture.
Koehn, who worked his way up to his current position as team lead on two paper machines, isn’t the only member of the family to follow in his dad’s footsteps. His brother Doug retired in 2015 after 36 years at the mill. His nephews John and Mike (Doug’s sons) currently work at the mill.
“I told them, ‘You’re not going to find a better job with better pay,’” he says. “It’s just a great place to work.”
Five Colleagues Share Family Tradition
Christer Kylefjord feels much the same. He’s one of five members of his family who currently work at Domtar’s Aneby, Sweden, plant. His son Jimmy is a process operator; his brother-in-law Jonas, his daughter-in-law Martina and his nephew Joakim are machine operators.
Christer started at the plant in 1999 as a machine operator and today works as a spare parts operator. He likes that the work is never the same from day to day. He says it’s a great place to work with nice people and an excellent commitment to safety.
His nephew Joakim has been a machine operator at the Aneby plant for about 18 months. When Joakim’s previous manufacturing job left for Poland, he turned to Domtar after hearing a lot of good things from his Uncle Christer. Joakim says no two days are the same, and he enjoys the collaborative environment where everyone works together to solve problems. That collaboration, he says, has brought about many improvements in the past year because it’s a safe environment where people feel comfortable expressing opinions or giving ideas without fear of criticism.
Of course, these are just a few examples of the many fascinating stories of how working at Domtar has become a family tradition, with the company woven throughout each family’s history. With our ongoing commitments to sustainability, innovation and community outreach, there are plenty of opportunities for future generations to thrive at Domtar together.
Take a look at some other colleagues who have created a family tradition of working at Domtar.