People Make it Possible: Mickey Shope


Before there were paper towels at First Quality, there was Mickey “Mick” Shope. He joined the company’s Lock Haven, Pennsylvania facility in 2004, about 6 months before the first paper machine started. At the time, he didn’t have any papermaking experience. Now he’s one of First Quality’s most experienced papermakers.

“Back when we were starting up the plant, it was hard to imagine it would grow so much,” said Mick. “I didn’t know we would have multiple locations and so much new technology. And we’re still growing!”

Mick joined the company as a paper machine operator. As the facility added more production lines, he moved up to become a distributed control system (DCS) operator and eventually, backup to the lead operator.

“I find it interesting, making paper,” he said. “I like troubleshooting, figuring things out. You’re responsible for a big machine. Before you work here, you don’t think about what goes into making paper towels and bath tissue.”

‘First Quality keeps investing’

What goes into making household paper products has changed a lot in the last two decades.

“It’s amazing. It used to be pretty manual, now it’s high tech,” said Mick. “There have been so many improvements in technology, and it’s nice to see First Quality keeps investing. We’re developing new things and staying ahead.”

When he’s not at work, Mick enjoys being outside, hunting and spending time with his wife and two children. He says his work schedule gives him flexibility for hobbies and family time.

“I like the 12-hour shifts and having some days off during the week,” he said. “I also like coming into work and being part of a company that’s invested in the future.”


About First Quality

First Quality is a closely-held diversified group of companies manufacturing, selling and distributing branded and private label absorbent hygiene, paper and packaging products into the healthcare, retail and commercial channels. First Quality is dedicated to meeting the demands of the market by providing innovative and high-quality products manufactured utilizing state- of-the-art technology. For more information, please visit


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