New Franklin IP mill manager ‘excited’ for opportunity

Published 10:20 am Saturday, January 21, 2012

FRANKLIN—Allison Magness has always wanted to run an International Paper mill.

She’s getting her chance.

Magness was hired in September to manage IP’s new fluff pulp mill Franklin. She is the second female manager in the mill’s history.

“It’s a really exciting time for me and the company to be able to restart this facility,” Magness said. “The best part of this process is being able to build a great team.”

The Florence, Ala., native has worked for IP since graduating from Auburn University in 2000. In college, Magness studied chemical engineering with a specialty in pulp and paper.

“I knew I wanted to be a chemical engineer by my junior year of high school because of a love of math and science,” she said.

The Franklin mill is Magness’ fourth. Other stints with IP have included Courtland, Ala.; Jay, Maine; and Pine Bluff, Ark. She was involved with startups at other plants.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” Magness said about her career.

She moved to Franklin with her husband, Bret, and daughter Ava, 3.

“I love it,” Magness said. “The town has welcomed us here. It has been a great experience.”

IP closed the Franklin paper mill in June 2010, eliminating 1,100 jobs. The Memphis-based company in April announced plans to repurpose the mill for the production of fluff pulp, creating 225 jobs. The company began rehiring in September and has 140 working now. A June start-up is planned.

New employees will join weekly until about late February, said IP Spokeswoman Donna Wadsworth.

“It’s a big project,” Magness said. “We have formed an excellent team here.”