- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - There’s a lot more to the paper industry than just making paper.

Hoffmaster Group, Inc., 2920 N. Main Street, Oshkosh, is one of a vast number of companies that convert paper to consumer products. The company has produced paper-based products for the hospitality industry, like napkins, paper plates and more since 1947, Oshkosh Northwestern Media reports (https://oshko.sh/1qrmR17 ).

Its customers range from The Chalice in Oshkosh to Olive Garden, U.S. Foods, Costco and beyond, to all 50 states, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Australia.

“We see, particularly in the restaurant industry, sort of what we would describe as slow, stable growth that tracks along with GDP,” said Rory Leyden, Hoffmaster Group, Inc. CEO. “And while the paper industry in total is probably shrinking, we don’t see necessarily a slowdown in the usage of paper at a restaurant industry.”

Steady customer demand drives the company to invest in both new equipment and people for long-term sustainability, said Russell Snow, president of Hoffmaster Food Services.

“This company is making a lot of investments in the future here - employment here in Oshkosh and in our business long-term,” Snow said.

Hoffmaster’s operations include a remote sales force, a corporate office and food service division in Oshkosh, a consumer division in Clintonville and a division primarily servicing large manufacturers in Oconto.

When hiring, the company looks for people with a variety of skills, especially those who have a greater knowledge of technology and electronics as they relate to manufacturing equipment. There’s also a high demand for power, control and information systems, company executives said

Jobs on the manufacturing floor require a high school diploma or a two-year technical college degree, possibly with some additional training in electronics or printing. Office workers need a four-year undergraduate degree.

“We’d be routinely hiring people in different disciplines, like finance, marketing,” Leyden said. “So it really sort of varies.”

There are key skills for success at Hoffmaster, like communication, teamwork, creativity, problem-solving and proactiveness.

“Those are all attributes that are a part of our company’s values, and that we look for when we’re hiring people,” Leyden said.

It’s an exciting time for the company, Snow said, as there are a lot of opportunities for Hoffmaster outside the base of business in Oshkosh.

“We think it speaks well for our future,” Snow said. “And it’s good that those investments are being made.”

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Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, https://www.thenorthwestern.com

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