Blair Companies CEO takes on role with Tyrone paper mill

Philip Devorris expects position to be temporay

TYRONE — The pres­ident/CEO of Altoona-based Blair Companies, a diverse group of businesses assembled over the past five decades, has another title.

Philip Devorris is the interim president/CEO at American Eagle Paper Mills in Tyrone.

Devorris, who has been chairman of the board of directors of the paper mill since June 2017, took over the position in December when Michael Grimm left the mill to accept a new position.

Devorris expects the new position to be temporary.

“I have great partners in Clark Adelman and Scott Igoe, who run the day-to-day operations. I will be in this position for about a year. I want to get a closer look at the business and the people. It is a fantastic group of people,” Devorris said. “The long-term plan is to put in a new president/CEO.”

Devorris said he is comfortable holding top positions at the two businesses.

“I’ve got a strong team at Blair Companies. We’ve been putting the right team in place. It is a comfortable evolution. I’ve set up Blair, especially Blair Sign, with strong leadership,” Devorris said.

Raymond Plunkett serves as chief operating officer and runs the day-to-day operations, Devorris said.

Grimm has joined London-based DS Smith Packaging’s U.S. business in charge of its capacity expansion projects — his title is managing director of capacity expansion projects for North America.

DS Smith vaulted into the U.S. container board and corrugated market in 2017 with the purchase of a large majority share of Interstate Resources. Since then, the company has continued a U.S. expansion plan, purchasing Atlantic Coast-area Corrugated Container Corp. and launching plans to open a new corrugated plant in Lebanon, Ind.

While at American Eagle Paper Mills, Grimm helped grow the company’s business in recycled-content uncoated freesheet paper. He led the completion of a pivotal power boiler project that lowered the mill’s production cost and also led projects for a new sheeter and warehouse space at the mill. The company also added new uncoated free sheet products during his time at the company.

Grimm came to American Eagle Paper Mills on Feb. 25, 2013, to succeed John Ferner, who served as the company’s president since its beginning in 2003 until his retirement in December 2012.

He previously served as executive vice president and general manager at North American Commu­n­­i­cations in Duncan­sville.