After five years away from Fort Frances, John Harrison is happy to return here in the role of new general manager of the Abitibi-Consolidated mill here starting Jan. 13.
“It’s nice to return back home. I was born and raised in Fort Frances,” Harrison said yesterday from his home in Thunder Bay.
“It’s a nice mill. I’m really looking forward to the job,” he added. “I know a lot of the people still working there.”
Harrison began his career at the mill here in 1980, where he started out as a process engineer. He then moved through several jobs such as in the mill’s prep stock department.
He later was machine superintendent, then assistant general manager for the final year before his departure in January, 1998 to become general manager of Abitibi’s Fort William Division in Thunder Bay.
Harrison noted over the past five years, the mill here “has continued to move ahead in terms of its safety performance, productivity, and grade development.”
“Hopefully, we can keep moving forward,” he added.
Harrison’s wife, Joan, will move to Fort Frances at the end of the school year in June when their daughter, Angela, a grade 12 student, graduates.
Angela won’t be moving here as she will be attending university. Harrison’s son, Matthew, currently is attending Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
Harrison is replacing Jim Gartshore, who has started a new position in Montreal as vice-president of Engineering and Technology for Abitibi-Consolidated.
“I worked with Jim the whole time I was at the mill,” said Harrison. “This is a great opportunity for Jim and Maureen.”
In his new position, Gartshore will oversee the company’s capital expenditures as well as manage its power generation facilities while developing an energy strategy.
“With his experience, he’ll do a great job,” Harrison remarked.
Clark Johnson will continue to manage the local mill in the interim until Harrison arrives.