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Smart Papers Makes Noise in Premium Printing Papers Market

Press release from the issuing company

Company makes glossy and uncoated papers for commercial and home printing, plus packaging and book markets HAMILTON, Ohio---March 11, 2002-- In its first year, Smart Papers launched four new gradelines, created a North American distribution network and established new sales teams targeting label and specialty converters as well as digital printing paper markets. The privately-held Ohio papermaker also made fresh investments in customer service, significantly shortened turnaround times on its express order and delivery service and expanded its custom papers business. "We had a lot to do during our first year--and we got it done,'' said Smart Papers CEO Tim Needham. "We streamlined our operations, launched the gradelines and began working on modernizations of other core products. We expanded business with merchants, graphic designers, commercial printers and specialty converters. We brought in highly experienced new employees to our sales and customer service teams.'' Smart Papers manufactures and distributes premium coated and uncoated printing papers, including the well-established brands Kromekote, Benefit, All Purpose Litho and Carnival. The company acquired the assets of the former Champion International facility just north of Cincinnati in February 2001. "Our goal is to set new industry standards for premium, specialty and custom printing papers,'' said Needham. "We also want to provide the best customer and technical service available.'' Completing the development of Kromekoteplus, Knightkote Matte, the new Benefit and Smart Digital Papers was among the first priorities following startup. By October 2001, the company unveiled a sweeping modernization, including new line extensions, for all those gradelines. Smart Papers is now in the process of modernizing its two other core product lines, big-sellers All Purpose Litho (coated one side label papers) and Carnival Text and Cover. "Because print media competes with high-impact electronic media, printing papers matter more than ever,'' Needham said. "The technological advances incorporated into every one of our papers makes them world class in printing ease and graphic excellence.'' Bob Ruff heads new label/converting sales unit; team has broad technical, product development expertise The new label/converting sales team targets customers in the label, greeting card, envelope, publishing and specialty converting businesses. Three specialists--Bill Hamilton, John Santamaria and Rob Eskew--now report to Bob Ruff, director of label and converting sales. Ruff reports to Smart Papers' senior vice president of sales, Paul Simpson. "Our customers and top prospects are in technical markets that require direct mill involvement,'' said Ruff. "Each member on our team has expertise serving specialty converters and are adept at meeting very detailed, unique requirements.'' Industry veteran Ruff is the former senior vice president of sales for Eastern Paper Co., Amherst, Mass. Atlanta-based Eskew has worked in sales for Champion International, Paperexchange.com, Finch Pruyn and Eastern Paper. Minneapolis-based Hamilton has worked in technical and specialty product sales for Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Unisource. Santamaria, based in Holmdel, N.J., is a veteran technical papers account executive who spent much of his career with Kimberly-Clark. "Our group is driven to help customers solve problems, improve efficiencies, reduce costs and increase profits,'' explained Ruff. "We have strong technical and/or R&D backgrounds and, combined, bring nearly a century of experience to Smart Papers' specialty converting paper sales. That's rare for a smaller manufacturer. This team is highly focused on addressing complex, individualized customer needs--much more so than the large forest products companies can be.'' New digital media team targets OEMs, paper marketers, coated media manufacturers Smart Papers offers the broadest line of papers specially made for digital printing. Products include cast-coated gloss, matte coated and uncoated papers for desktop and production-rated inkjet and laser printing equipment. The company also recently announced its sales team for digital media. It is led by Garth Geist, director of digital media, who reports to Simpson. Reporting to Geist are account managers Blair Hurt, Katie McShane and two sales representatives based in Dallas and Munich, Germany. "The focus of the team is on developing relationships with OEMs and branded marketers of papers for inkjet and laser printing applications,'' said Geist. "We also sell base papers to coated media manufacturers.'' Geist spent more than 12 years in sales for Champion International. Hurt, a 30-year industry veteran, helped develop and market the Great White paper brand for Union Camp. McShane served more than a decade in sales and marketing for Champion International. APL Express' program established to get custom label stock orders made, delivered quickly Label printer and converter demands for special sizes and quick product delivery has prompted new investments in the company's APL Express program, which provides manufacturing and delivery of non-standard and non-stocked sizes of All Purpose Litho and Kromekote Litho products. The company can now fulfill special orders of minimum 5,000 pounds in just four business days. "Our customers have shorter lead times and are looking to us to tightly manage their paper supply flow,'' said Simpson. "We've responded with very fast order turnaround and delivery to customers.''