October 20, 2008

James Okraszewski Receives Tuebor Award for Excellence in Conservation, Natural Resource and Economic Policy

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Michigan Forest Products Council (MFPC) announced that Mr. James Okraszewski, who recently retired from NewPage Corporation in Escanaba, Michigan became the fifth person to receive THE TUEBOR AWARD from the Council's Board of Directors.

"Mr. Okraszewski has been a vocal supporter of Michigan's forests, environment, and natural resources," said Michigan Forest Products Council Chairperson Margaret Minerick. "He has dedicated his distinguished 38 year forestry career to advancing key policy and economic initiatives through service on high profile Boards, Commissions, and Committees." In presenting this award, the MFPC cited his leadership and service, including:

   --  Leadership in formation of the Michigan Forest Products Council   --  Governor's Land Use Leadership Council   --  The dual certification (Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable       Forestry Initiative) of Michigan's State Forest system   --  Founding member of the Michigan Sustainable Forestry Initiative       Implementation Committee   
"Tuebor" appears on the State flag and means "I will defend". The MFPC's Annual TUEBOR AWARD applauds leadership in support of natural resource policy that is so vital to Michigan's quality of life, environment and economy. Past recipients include Governor Jennifer Granholm, State Representative Tom Casperson (R- Escanaba), former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, and Senator Gerald Van Woerkom (R-Norton Shores).

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Okraszewski earned a bachelor of science degree in forestry from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and, in 1971, a master of forestry degree in forest management and administration from the Yale University School of Forestry in New Haven, Connecticut. He joined The Mead Corporation at Escanaba as a forest technician in 1973 and remained at that location since, eventually becoming the corporate forest and fiber sustainability director for NewPage Corporation in 2007. In his 35 years at the Escanaba facility, Mr. Okraszewski earned numerous awards for his work, including being named 1992 Forester of the Year by the Michigan Chapter of the Society of American Foresters. A strong advocate of community involvement, Mr. Okraszewski served as former advisory board chair of OSF Bay de Noc Hospice, as a committee member for the OSF Home Health and Hospice Advisory Committee, and on the board of directors for Wells Fargo Bank in Escanaba.

"Mr. Okraszewski's life-long dedication to the wise management of forest resources demonstrates his belief that forest products are an important part of Michigan's rich history and a critical component of Michigan's economic future," added Kevin Korpi, Executive Director. "We are most appreciative of his tireless efforts to build and grow this sustainable industry in Michigan."

With approximately 19.3 million acres of forestland, more than half of Michigan's land area is forested, including 4 million acres in a dedicated state forest system and over 2 million acres of industry-managed land. Michigan's forests support over 150,000 jobs and add $12 billion to the state's economy annually. Forest-based tourism and recreational activities also support 50,000 jobs and add $3 billion to the economy.

The Michigan Forest Products Council is a statewide trade association that works to protect, promote and sustain a globally competitive forest products industry in Michigan. More information is available at http://www.michiganforest.com/.

   CONTACT:   Kevin W. Korpi   Executive Director   (517) 853-8880  

Michigan Forest Products Council

CONTACT: Kevin W. Korpi, Executive Director of the Michigan ForestProducts Council, +1-517-853-8880

Web Site: http://www.michiganforest.com/