Mike Grimm Notopoulos Award Acceptance Speech

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At our annual meeting the American Eagle Paper Mills was the recipient of this year’s Alexander A. Notopoulos Award for outstanding business and Mike Grimm, Pres/CEO gave an acceptance speech on behalf of the organization. His speech is below and is a testament to the dedication and collaboration that embodies the spirit of Blair County.

May 20, 2016
Notopoulos Award Acceptance Speech
Mike Grimm, Pres/CEO, American Eagle Paper Mills

I am honored to accept the Notopoulos award on behalf of all of the employees, our investors, and key partners that helped American Eagle along the way in the past thirteen years.

I have only been part of the team for a little over three years now but am still infatuated with the story and how it all took flight. Rest assured…this is a remarkable story and incredible group of individuals that came to together and set this course. The vision, the leadership, and the persistence of a handful of people are why I am standing here today. Working together they changed the course of history; for the Mill, for the town of Tyrone, and for all of our past, present, and future employees that live in Blair County and the surrounding area.

I want to take the a few minutes to acknowledge the original group known as Team Ten. Some have come and gone over the years but these individuals; they stepped up, took the risk, and made the leap for the right reasons. They should be recognized for the success that we share in today: Clark Adelman, Don Devorris, John Ferner, Scot Igoe, Brent McMonigal, Bill Naugle, Harry Sickler, Delmont Sunderland, Randy Tarpey, Fred Tiegler, Chuck Whitfield, and Jim Zuhlke.

This diverse group of experienced papermakers, engineers, managers, accountants, and finance experts would have not been successful without the steadfast leadership, support, and persistence of the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation and Senator Robert Jubilerer.

After the shutdown in 2001, Marty and his team at ABCD worked tirelessly along with the Senator to breathe life back into the Mill. The resuscitation process was very complicated, riddled with many road blocks, problem after problem; and could have come unglued numerous times right up to the day that the machines were turned on. In the end, their unwavering determination to getting it done overcame all challenges.

As I reflect on this today, I ask myself what if that chain of success was broken?

What if the individuals I named previously didn’t step up, if ABCD did not exist or could not offer the same support, what if people like Marty and Bob were not around, what would have happened back in 2003?

How many lives would have been effected indefinitely?

What would have been the long-term economic impact?

The story of American Eagle Paper Mills is what it is all about my friends. The real story is about people coming together for the greater good. It is everything good, about real economic development.

The story is about changing the future. I am very proud to live in an area that is made up of people and organizations that truly care about and the success of one another. This is very uncommon and the key contributor to what makes Blair County what it is today.

In these times of change, I would like to challenge the future leaders that are sitting in this room. Step up and continue to build on the foundation of success that has been handed down, by the hard work and persistence of those before you. The task before you reminds me of a favorite quote from President Calvin Coolidge:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On!” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

You are going to be the ones carrying the torch, faced with difficult challenges; you will be writing your own stories. You will change the future! “PRESS ON”

We would like to thank the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation for this award! Simply stated we would not be here without you!

Marty, it has been a pleasure to work with you the past three years. You have been a great example for me and many of us in this room to follow. Thank you for “Pressing on”!

On behalf of the employees and partners at American Eagle Paper Mills we thank you for everything you have done and we wish you the best!

Thank You Very Much!

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