Capital Argument $

A trademark of Paperitalo Publications
Published on the 15th of every month
March 2019
Horizontal PM
Horizontal PL II
Given--Fit, Form and Function

Back in the early days of my career, before computers took over the graphic responsibilities in the industry, there was lots of time spend and lots of struggles endured to make sure things fit where they were supposed to fit, missed where they were supposed to miss (interference checking) and did what they were supposed to do. Computers and computer aided design were supposed to have fixed any problems in this area and added a certain level of efficiency previously not experienced.
I think we can only declare partial success when it comes to progress here. I still see poor fit and interferences in the field. This became a topic of discussion at breakfast the other day when a fellow engineer and I got together as we often do.
My theory on why there are still problems is that the designers and engineers of today are more distant from the actual physical machinery. In essence, they are playing video games in front of their computer screens all day. Unless they have had extensive field experience, their "feel" for the equipment--it's size, weight and ease of movement to get it into position is lacking.
I am old enough that we made 3-D plastic models when I was in the engineering department at Procter & Gamble. Pre-CAD, obviously. We were always on the model builders for doing "fictitious" piping. That is where they would take an Exacto knife and shave a piece down if it didn't fit. Shaving it with an Exacto knife in plastic meant you had a cutting torch out in the field and not only that, you may be distorting essential properties by "carving in metal."
Technology has gotten better but the problem still exists, it is just that the designers and engineers know have a mouse in their hand instead of an Exacto knife of drawing pencil. Managers need to fix that elusive area between their employees' ears in order to fix this problem. No matter of technology is going to do it.
It is a given that fit, form and function are correct. Often, they still are not.

What is your opinion?  Drop me a line at  I would like to hear from you.   
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Young 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.  There is an age limit on the manager eligible for this award: they must be under 35 years old when they completed the project.
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) and meets our age requirement, 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

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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. 

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