The W.T. Pound Engineering Design Award

The W. T. Pound Engineering Design Award was established in 1996 by the family of William Thomas (“Bill”) Pound (WTP) to honour the memory of their father. He is remembered with love and respect. WTP thought very highly of Queen’s University and spoke of his time there as very challenging, stimulating and formative. The family was pleased to initiate an award in his name which recognizes excellence, innovation and achievement.

WTP was born in Kingston, Ontario on September 6, 1907. His father, a baker, also ran a sailor’s mission at Kingston. His mother later operated a boarding house where many Queen’s University students were resident over the years.

Following graduation, WTP joined the Ontario Paper Company and began a long and distinguished career in the Canadian pulp and paper industry. One of his early assignments dealt with the periodic requirement to quantify the log-wood inventory at large storage sites. WTP considered the problem and proceeded to survey the log piles at each site. The ensuing inventory estimates were more reliable than any previous figures and the company adopted the procedure at all of its mills. He was recognized as an innovative and effective Engineer and worked for Ontario Paper with increasing responsibility until the outbreak of World War Two. WTP attempted to enlist in the Canadian armed forces but was rejected because of his age and his dependence on eye-glasses. During the war years, he worked as an Engineer in a war production plant in Elora, Ontario.

On October 26, 1940, he married Jessie Edith Duncan Thom (JEP). Jessie was born on October 31, 1915, in St. Catharines, Ontario. Between 1942 and 1948, they had four children. From 1946 through 1948 the family lived in La Tuque, Québec where WTP was an Engineer with Brown Corporation.

In 1948 WTP was recruited by Pacific Mills Limited as Plant Engineer at their Ocean Falls, B.C. site. The company operated a pulp and paper mill and supporting town-site on the Pacific coast 500 kilometres north of Vancouver. The town of 3,000 people was not connected to the provincial power grid or highway system and was accessible only by boat or seaplane. The wide variety of responsibilities and experiences at Ocean Falls were invaluable to WTP professionally and personally. Crown Zellerbach took over the company in 1953. WTP was promoted to Assistant Resident Manager in 1954.

In 1956 WTP joined St. Lawrence Corporation Limited as Assistant Manager at their pulp and paper mill in Trois Rivières, Québec with manufacturing responsibilities at other St. Lawrence Corporation mills. In 1957 the family moved to Montréal when WTP was promoted to Vice President, Manufacturing with responsibility for the operation of the company’s pulp and paper mills. St. Lawrence Corporation was taken over in 1961 by what is now Domtar Limited. One of its subsidiaries was Domtar Newsprint Limited and WTP was promoted to Vice President, Manufacturing of this company, with responsibility for the planning and operation of mills including Red Rock (Ontario), Trois Rivières, Dolbeau, East Angus and Donnacona (Québec). In 1965 he was promoted to Vice President and General Manager, Domtar Pulp Sales. The over-leaf image is a picture taken during the Domtar years.

WTP elected to take early retirement from Domtar in 1967 following a mild heart attack. Thereafter he acted as a consultant and worked with companies in Canada and England through 1968. In 1969, WTP accepted a position with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Initially based in Rome, he and JEP then lived in Athens for two years. As a Project Manager, he managed two United Nations Development Programs projects designed to assess and plan development of forest products industries in Greece.

Even at the peak of his career, WTP made time for his family and other commitments. He volunteered time as a member of the Board of Stewards of his church, as an official at Canadian Amateur Swimming Association swim meets and was the Referee-in-Charge of the Canadian Swimming Championships in 1961. He enjoyed curling and served as a Director and then President of Thistle Curling Club in Montréal, one of the oldest curling clubs in Canada. During the years 1962 through 1964, he served on the Executive Council of the Technical Section of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association.

WTP and JEP retired to St. Catharines in 1973. They doted on their grandchildren, one of them named William. WTP died in his sleep on August 18, 1989, at the age of 82. His beloved wife Jessie died of cancer two years later.

WTP was an avid fisherman and once caught a 75 pound (34kg) spring salmon at River Inlet, B.C. That year the family Christmas card showed a picture of him with the fish, including a small, but unmistakable notation about its weight. He enjoyed watching baseball, football and hockey, which he played as a youth. He was a skilled card player and played the banjo and ukulele at home, having experience in amateur bands and productions. He had an excellent sense of humour, as illustrated by a comment he made after representing Domtar during an intense labour contract negotiation at Red Rock, Ontario. When the contract was finally signed, the paper-makers made him an honorary member of their union. To the amusement of everyone, WTP observed: “This is the first thing anyone has given me all week”.

He and JEP created a warm and civilized home. She was an excellent homemaker and a particularly good cook. WTP moderated discussion at the dining room table with considerable skill and insight. Both parents encouraged their children to pursue higher education and all four have at least one university degree.

WTP was an intelligent, thoughtful and constructive man possessed of considerable vigour and good humour. He set an admirable example for all of his family and displayed an unshakable integrity and work ethic. Throughout the pulp and paper industry, he was recognized as an authority and a highly effective executive. WTP gave great credit to his wife regarding his achievements and success, the companionship and family life they shared was a joy to him.