Fiber Manager, Inland Empire Paper Company
Brian was born and raised in the beautiful northwest lake town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. After finishing high school, Brian headed to the southern part of the state where he received undergraduate degrees in both Communications and Environmental Science from Boise State University. While attending Boise State, Brian also competed on the wrestling team, where he was a four year starter and Pac-12 Champion for the Broncos. Next, was a graduate assistant position coaching wrestling at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (half hour north of St. Louis) while finishing his Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho’s online extension program. After his tenure in Edwardsville, Brian moved back to the northwest and began working in the Fiber and Forestry departments for Inland Empire Paper Company in Spokane, Washington.
Inland Empire Paper Company (IEP) is a newsprint and specialty paper and pulp mill that was founded in 1911. IEP is primarily a ground-wood pulping facility using thermo-mechanical refining processes to breakdown virgin wood fiber, but also has a recycled paper facility utilized for 25% of pulping needs. To add to the vertical integration of the company, IEP also owns and independently operates a more than 120,000+ acre industrial tree farm. Brian’s current roles include, marketing the 32+ million board feet harvested annually to sawmills, procurement of all wood fiber (chips), procurement of all recycled paper grades, and engineering of residuals with environmental impact.
Specifically related to paper, in 2018 Brian was given the responsibility of managing and redesigning the recycled paper procurement program for the mill. The diversification and constant modifications have changed the purchasing program dramatically over the last 10 years, and forward thinking was needed to design a program that will adapt with the continued shifts in demands. This has been a continued effort as the change in grades to adapt to specialty markets has an ever moving goal-post.
Brian and his wife Whitney have settled on a ten acre farm in north Spokane County, Washington with their growing family of 5. There are plenty of chores for everyone, but the family makes sure to carve out time for fishing, hunting, and youth athletics that keeps them busy. Living in the beautiful northwest has four full seasons to take advantage of, and the Owen family is excited to put the summer toys away and dust off the ski’s and snowboards.