Dedicated to Former Mill Manager Bill Downing By Jody Bekevich, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Coordinator, Mercer Peace River | Photography submitted
On September 23, the family and coworkers of the late Bill Downing gathered to formally dedicate Mercer Peace River’s (MPR) new recovery boiler, now known as Billy’s Boiler.
The recovery boiler, which is sometimes referred to as the heart of the mill, was rebuilt during MPR’s longest-ever shutdown—over 60 days—in 2021.
The boilerplate was adhered to the recovery boiler by Bill’s son, Connal Downing, and Operational Excellence Manager, Joe Fawcett, who worked with Bill for nearly three decades.
After a short ceremony, everyone gathered for lunch and reminisced about the great man who was Bill Downing.
Bill Downing was hired as a T2 Operating Technician in 1989, and his commitment to both mill people and production advanced him through the roles of Power and Recovery Lead, Superintendent, Business Team Leader and Mill Manager over his 30 years.
A quiet demeanor, a quick smile and the belief that tracing lines, self motivation and strong mentorship empowered new power engineers to become the best in the industry helped transform our mill into what it is today. No matter Bill’s role, the boiler was Bill’s baby, and forevermore, it will be known as Billy’s Boiler.
Bill was an integral part of our team, and his memory lives on in the hearts of all who knew him. He built a strong foundation of trust and friendship at the mill, and we are committed to continuing his legacy.
Mercer Peace River thanks the Downing family for joining us to honour Bill. We will ensure all who go near the recovery boiler will know about the great man it is named after.
Photo 1: The family and friends of Bill Downing holding the Billy's Boiler boilerplate
Photo 2: Bill's son, Connal Downing, adhering the boilerplate to the recovery boiler