Community is at the core of the paper and wood products industry. As a top 10 manufacturing employer in 45 states, the forest products industry employs nearly 950,000 people with more than 2 million jobs supported throughout the supply chain.
Forest products industries are often the largest employer in a community. Places like Ashdown, Arkansas, a town with a population of about 4,400 people. That’s where Alondria Hamilton works as the Human Resources Generalist and Diversity & Inclusion Advocate for Domtar.
Her experience with the industry can be traced back to her childhood.
“The industry has been a part of my life ever since I was a little girl,” Hamilton said. “My father has been employed in the paper and wood products industry for 42 years, so I’ve seen and experienced the stability the industry can provide.”
More than stability, Hamilton said Domtar has helped her grow as a leader.
“Domtar has created opportunities that allow me to grow professionally, and joining this team is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she said. “Domtar Ashdown has a great workforce, and I enjoy being able to provide guidance to assist and support them. We truly have a great team.”
People are the best part of the job, Hamilton said. And the job has an impact on the people surrounding the community. One way is providing jobs at the mill and for those who support the industry. Another, and just as important, is building relationships and partnerships.
“Domtar Ashdown is definitely community-driven,” she said. “Several of our employees are from Ashdown and the surrounding communities. We partner with numerous local non-profit organizations, such as Harvest Regional Food Bank, United Way and the Ashdown Community Foundation, to provide assistance to those in our area.”
In addition to her job, Hamilton is a member the Ashdown Mill’s EarthChoice Ambassadors. This team focuses on promoting sustainable business practices. The focus is three-fold: customers, employees and community. The Ambassadors help pick up trash alongside highways and host a First Book Event where the team reads to local elementary schools.
Hamilton added being part of an organization that makes products people depend on every day is truly a rewarding experience. She’s proud of her contributions. And even more proud of what she and other women in the industry are uniquely able to bring to the table.
“Women in the industry enhance the culture of the organization by promoting diversity and inclusion. Being a woman is an asset as I am able to bring a different viewpoint, compassion and a sense of creativity to the company,” she said.
She draws her inspiration from her family. Hamilton said her husband and her son motivate her to be her best self and reach for ambitious goals.
And she has big dreams for women in the industry.
“While we are seeing more women being recognized and acknowledged for their talent, we still have a long way to go. I would love to see more women in leadership roles, taking on more responsibility and being an example for both females and minorities, who wish to achieve the same goals,” Hamilton said.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative—Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $60 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.