Celebrating 50 Years: Sam None, paper machinist

Celebrating 50 Years: Sam None, paper machinist
Photo: Sam None was recently honored by WestRock for 50 years of dedicated service to the company. None said he had seen many changes over the years, but the most important one concerns the safety of the employees.

“Sam None is attentive to the job and to the people he works with,” said Sam Cobb, general manager, as he thanked None for his dedication to Mahrt during a recent production meeting. Cobb expressed appreciation to None for 50 years of service and acknowledged many missed ball games, school events, Christmas mornings, and other family events. Cobb referred to None as “Sam No. 1” as he shared, “It is an honor for me to present this award to Sam No. 1 and personally thank him for his service.”

The room was filled with representatives from departments throughout the Mahrt facility who applauded None for his service. None said, “This is an emotional time for me. Things have changed in the past 50 years – from Alabama Kraft to Mead to Mead Coated Board to MeadWestvaco to WestRock – we’ve had a lot of improvements and this isn’t the place it used to be; it’s safer.”

None, a man of strong Christian faith with a reputation for staying away from gossip and rumors, encouraged the group to stay focused on their jobs and treat people well. He praised the Mahrt management team for being willing to listen to employees. None said treating people like you want to be treated is important. Then he shared a story about Sam Cobb. 

With almost twenty years at the mill when Cobb arrived, None said the paper machine employees used to refer to Cobb as the water boy. He looked to Cobb for confirmation as the now general manager corrected him saying, “bottle washer.” The room erupted in laughter as None continued, “That’s right, bottle washer.” Then he shared how he always tried to treat everyone with respect and told his co-workers that Cobb (the person they referred to as the bottle washer) might be their boss one day. As time passed, Sam None’s words were confirmed. Cobb became a leader on the paper machines and now leads the entire Mahrt facility. 

None says he knows he won’t make another 50 years at Mahrt, but he’s not ready to call it quits just yet. In his final comments to the group, he said, “The company has been good to me and my family, and I’ve enjoyed working at the mill.” 

Contribution from the Mahrt Matters newsletter, Jan. 29, 2020 – Volume 15, Number 4.