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Timber industry stalwart Kenneth Epp retires

30 July 2023
After 25 years with Visy Pulp and Paper, Kenneth Epp, who was with the Tumut mill from its establishment in 2001, has retired.

Chair of the Softwoods Working Group and Murray Region Forestry Hub, Peter Crowe OAM, said Mr Epp played a major role in the development of the Australian plantation-based forestry industries and in particular the establishment of the Visy enterprise near Tumut.

“The Visy mill at Tumut is a global-sized pulp and packaging plant and is the largest softwood plantation-based investment ever constructed in Australia. Even more remarkable is its establishment near a relatively small regional town, which meant Kenneth had numerous logistical and operational challenges to meet to make this mill a reality,” he said.

“The project brought Kenneth’s great talents of communication, negotiation, and technical expertise to the fore and he is widely respected across the industry. Because of his valuable participation in guiding the project to a highly successful enterprise – his contribution to the wider community is almost immeasurable.

“Kenneth’s ability to assemble a huge portfolio of pulpwood and chips supplies was no mean feat and his legacy in this regard will endure. The assembly of a large array of mechanical harvesting and transport vehicles and having them operating 24/7 was a mighty challenge – successfully met.

“The pulpwood thinnings from young plantations have set up the plantation estate in NSW for maximum production of a high-quality product – much of this would not have been possible without Kenneth’s efforts on behalf of Visy.”

Prior to Visy, Mr Epp spent 16 years with Laminex Group, and seven years with British Columbia (Canada) Forest Service. Reflecting on his career he said it had been varied, interesting, and very demanding at times but highly rewarding, mostly due to the fine people he had worked with over the years.

“Looking back, what strikes me most are the people that supported and trusted me. My mentor and friend, the late Ron Hardwick, especially needs to be mentioned,” he said.

Photo: Ron Hardwick and Kenneth Epp at Sugar Pine Walk, Bago State Forest, Laurel Hill

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Source: Murray Region Forestry Hub

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