Capital Argument $

A trademark of Paperitalo Publications
Published on the 15th of every month
March 2017
Horizontal PM
Horizontal PL II
Scheduling is very high on the list of important issues

It is very important to remember how important scheduling is, no matter the size of the project. As a matter of fact, if it's more than installing one bolt, your project needs a schedule.

When should you start the scheduling process? Absolutely as early as possible. If it's a large project, you need to start the scheduling process before you receive capital authorization. Schedule impacts costs, even if everything goes according to plan. There are many ways to do the same tasks that are impactful, good or bad, on the schedule. Even if everything clicks absolutely perfectly, there will be a shorter way to do a project making certain choices that is optimal to another way.
Let's look at a pair of examples.
When I was a young engineer working in a converting plant that operated only five days per week, I had this driven home to me. We were going to make a change in a certain piece of machinery on Friday night after the last shift of the week. We thought it was minor. However, we had not carefully scheduled it and accounted for every step. We had not double checked our parts list. Three simple bolts, unobtainable after midnight Friday in this rural location, prevented us from doing any of the project. Come Monday morning, we looked foolish and all involved had black marks against our names. And, the next Friday night we got to do the whole thing over again (of course, I made sure we had a box of those stupid bolts--I was prepared to lose or twist off about 25 bolts and still have a successful project).
A few years later, not so many miles away, I was involved in a very large paper machine rebuild. The construction contract, despite my protestations, had been let as a firm lump sum. Three months before the shutdown, the contractor mobilized. The contractor's scheduler showed up with the entire schedule on two sheets of drawing paper (this was still before computerized scheduling). I was horrified at the shallowness of his work and raised an alarm with anyone who had a remote chance of listening--to no avail. And I was correct. The scheduled downtime was an absolute disaster, even though the contractor faced a punitive penalty for every day he was late.
I have learned scheduling is high on the list of the important issues. I hope you have, as well.

Engineering Manager of the Year, call for nominations

We are looking for an individual who has done an extraordinary project, one that almost defies belief.  Its extraordinary features can be schedule, technology, cost or all three.
We have often gotten nominees that go something like this, "I nominate Joe because he has done a great job of running our engineering department for the last fifteen years." Quite frankly, we are not interested in such nominees.
However, if you know someone who has led a very exceptional project in the recent past (the last two or three years), we want to know about it.  We want to honor them and hold them up as an example for Engineering Managers in every pulp and paper mill around the world.
Just send your nomination, with as much details as you can provide, to  We will seriously consider it.

Current Patent Activity is available here.

Capital Arguments Engineering Manager of the Year
Hall of Fame

CA Logo
Since its inception, Capital Arguments has believed extraordinary projects are possible.  They can be done safely, responsibly and offer a great advantage to their mills with lower capital costs and saved downtime. We established this award in 2008 to recognize those people and companies that follow this philosophy. This award is given once per year somewhere in the world.  We honor our inductees permanently here.


Mac Switkowski--Engineering Manager of the Year 2015

Mac Switkowski, center, holds his Capital Arguments Engineering Manager of the Year Award that was presented by Paperitalo CEO Jim Thompson, left, as Luis Henao, right, vice president at Pratt Industries applauds.  Mac brought the new mill at Valparaiso in on time and on budget despite a change of paper machine suppliers mid project.

Not Awarded 2014

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2014.


Not Awarded 2013

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2013.

Not Awarded 2012

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2012.


Ed Kersey--Engineering Manager of the Year 2011

Jim p resents Ed with the Engineering Manager of the Year for 2011.
(L - R) Matt Nilsen, Jim Thompson, Ed Kersey and Wayne South.  Nilsen is Account Manager and South is Business Development Manager for Kadant Black Clawson, underwriter of this year's award.  Ed Managed the construction of the Pratt Industries mill in Shreveport, Louisiana which took 13 months from piling to paper on the reel.  His reward?  They made him mill manager!

Peter Flynn and Steve Roush

Kadant Black Clawson was a major sponsor of the 2011 Award.  Here, on the left,  Peter Flynn, President of Kadant Black Clawson, receives the company's duplicate of Ed's Award from Steve Roush, Publisher and Editor, Paperitalo Publications. 

Not Awarded 2010

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2010.


Dean Abrams--Engineering Manager of the Year 2009

Now retired, Dean was an engineer at Corrugated Services, Forney, Texas, USA in the summer of 2009 when he completed his award winning project.  Dean managed a team that installed a secondary headbox in 11 hours, 30 minutes, paper-to-paper.  The experts had said it would take at least 3 days.  In April 2010, we presented the award to Dean in the presence of a number of his colleagues.

Dean Abrams Award 
Here is the award we presented to Dean:

Deans Plaque


Mike Ahcan--Engineering Manager of the Year 2008

Mike works at the UPM Blandin Mill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, USA. In 2008, the mill's sole effluent pipe, running outside a building, almost in the Mississippi River, was determined to be in a state of imminent collapse.  The experts said it would take a week of total mill downtime to replace it.  Additionally, there was a danger of leakage into the river.  Mike and his team went to work and replaced the pipe without any downtime and with no spillage.  We had a banquet in Grand Rapids for him in July 2009.

OpTest Official Solid Background

And here is Mike's award:

OpTest Official Solid Background

We normally accept nominations in the November-December time frame.  They can be sent to with "EMOY Nomination" in the subject line. 

Please write when we tickle your brain cells!  Email