Jaakko Pöyry (1924-2006)
1995 Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Inductee
Jaakko Pöyry Group Consulting Engineers
Dr. Jaakko Pöyry was born in Finland in 1924. He received a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Helsinki University of Technology in 1948.
Dr. Pöyry has made many significant contributions to the development of technology and economics in the pulp and paper industry during more than three decades of activity in the field. He has been a design engineer and executive in the pulp and paper machine business. In 1958, he became founder and leader of what was to become the world’s largest consulting engineering firm serving the pulp and paper industry. He built his firm from a two-man business into a global company with a staff of 4,500 located in 25 countries, including Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America.
Under the leadership of Dr. Pöyry, the Group has acquired a thorough knowledge of every aspect of the pulp, paper, and other forest products industries worldwide. It has carried out over 6,000 assignments in 100 countries, including some 300 major mill design projects involving basic and detailed engineering, project management, start-up, and operation services. Dr. Pöyry has been personally responsible for directing over fifty of these mill projects. The Group also has extensive experience with special studies, as well as forestry, management, environmental control, market research, and other services.
Dr. Pöyry, who speaks Finnish, Swedish, English, and German, has frequently acted as an advisor for forest products industries in developing countries and for governments and international agencies around the world. He has provided advice and counsel to many of the world’s political leaders, including President George Bush, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.
In 1978, Dr. Pöyry performed the complete engineering work, including wood supply planning and construction management, for the giant Aracruz Cellulose project in Brazil, the world’s biggest single line pulp mill. The $600 million mill was the largest investment ever made for the pulp and paper industry in the southern hemisphere. Dr. Pöyry also engineered the mill’s expansion in 1991 to one million tons per year. He also oversaw the creation of the firm’s unique and comprehensive data base bank, which the company uses to develop numerous systems for industrial economics, mill optimizations, market research, and other activities relating to improving pulp and paper mill performance.
Dr. Pöyry has been a member of TAPPI since 1954; he was elected a Fellow in 1975. He is also a member of the Finnish Paper Engineers’ Association; the Engineering Society of Finland; the Finnish Association of Consulting Engineers; the Swedish Association of Pulp and Paper Engineers; and the Brazilian Pulp and Paper Technical Association. Dr. Poyry received the Export Prize for 1967 from the president of Finland, recognizing the outstanding exports resulting from his work. In 1971, he was recognized by the Engineering Society of Finland for his work in the field of technics, and he received the Finnish Paper Engineers’ Association’s Lampen Gold Medal. The Association of Finnish Entrepreneurs honored Dr. Pöyry with the Plaque of Award in 1974.
In 1994, TAPPI honored Dr. Pöyry with the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal award, the highest honor that the association can bestow upon an individual for preeminent scientific and engineering achievements in the world’s pulp, paper, board, and forest product industries. The award was accompanied by a cash prize of $63,800 made possible by a gift to TAPPI from the late Gunnar W.E. Nicholson, who was a leader in the industry and TAPPI for nearly five decades.
Dr. Pöyry remarried in 1984 and has two daughters. He devoted as much time as possible to his family, and he enjoyed golf and tennis. He died September 8, 2006.