Celgar boss moving on after five-plus years at the helm
After a five-and-a-half-year tenure at the helm of the city’s largest commercial venture, Al Hitzroth will be bidding Zellstoff Celgar adieu.
Hitzroth, Celgar’s 55-year-old managing director, Operations & Technical, told The Source that his final day will be February 24, as he relinquishes Celgar’s top spot to current director of strategic initiatives Kevin Anderson.
Hitzroth will then be heading to New Brunswick to take on a new and exciting challenge within the pulp industry.
“It’s another part of Canada that I haven’t had the opportunity to experience,” he said, adding the new position is definitely an upward career move.
“I like working for Mercer, and I like it here, I like the people here – but this opportunity presented itself, the time was right, and the opportunity is a very appealing one.”
He said he would eventually return to the Kootenays someday, as he and his wife have burial plots in the East Kootenay, but wasn’t prepared to speculate, just yet, on where he might retire.
As for his successor, Hitzroth said Anderson has been at the Celgar mill for roughly four years, and brought with him a great deal of pulp experience from places as far away as Australia and New Zealand, as well as other B.C. locales.
“He’s one of my right-hand people,” Hitzroth said. “He’s kind of been groomed all along to take my place.”
Hitzroth will probably be best-remembered by residents for his successful negotiation of lowered major-industry tax rates by the City of Castlegar, as well as having ushered through to fruition Celgar’s $60-million Green Energy Project, which made it the first pulp mill in Canada to produce and sell its own power.