The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Friday, March 30, 2012

  • Mark and Annie Mulligan / The Herald

Voices of the mill: Troy Woodard, 40, of Everett

Safety Specialist, 16 years

In this series, we're telling the stories of what the Kimberly-Clark mill closure means for workers and for Everett, which has been defined by mills for more than a century.
Like many people, Troy Woodard got his first job at the mill because his father worked there.
It was a summer job during college. When a job didn't materialize after graduation, the mill came calling.
It was good, honest work with a decent paycheck.
For seven years, he ran the equipment and inspected Viva paper towels as they came shooting off the line: making sure the printing was correct, the packaging straight and the towels clean.
If there was a problem, he picked up a phone and heard his voice booming across the factory: “Paging a mechanic.”
Later, Woodard worked as a maintenance mechanic, squeezing into and under the great, grinding machines that turned wood chips into the slush that would become paper.
He liked the tactileness of the job and the puzzle of figuring out how to fix a tough problem. He liked working with tools.
What he enjoyed most in his years was making the workplace safer. That was his last role at the mill.
He's now temporarily employed helping his fellow coworkers find other work.
When that's through, he'll have to find his own future. He has a wife and kids to support. He hopes to work in occupational safety and he hopes to stay local.

The Last Smokestack: Go to the main series page

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