Retirement isn't a word that's usually associated with Frank Dottori.
That's why it was surprising when the forest industry legend announced in early January that he was stepping down as president and chief executive of WRC Timber, and that his successor was already on the job.
In his place is Tony Wyszkowski, a 19-year veteran of Parker Hannifin, a Cleveland-headquartered industrial manufacturing firm and Fortune 250 global company that provides motion and control components and systems.
Jan. 2 was his first day on the job.
WRC is the parent company that runs sawmills in White River and Hornepayne.
"I'm retiring from the White River group," said Dottori, who will serve in a chairman-type role, overseeing the northwestern Ontario operations from afar. "I'm going to tinker with a few other things."
Age played a factor in his decision to step down, he said. He'll be 80 shortly.
The White River mill had been operating without a manager, and Dottori was averaging 25 days a month running the day-today operations on the shop floor.
With 300 millworkers at the White River and Hornepayne mills depending on him, plus another 100 to 150 working as harvesters and truckers, Dottori said it was time for new blood and a fresh perspective.
"The place needs a full-time presence and we want to secure its future and ensure there's continuity there. I don't intend to stop working, no, I'd just like to pass the mantle to someone else to ensure what we've got keeps on going."
Best known as the founder of Tembec, Dottori grew the forest products giant from one closed-up mill in Temiscaming to 55 operations in Canada, U.S., Europe and South America over a 33-year span before resigning as chief executive in 2005.
In enhancing his reputation as a company builder and innovator, Dottori worked with the Township of White River and Pic Mobert First Nation to reopen a shutdown former Domtar mill into White River Forest Products in 2013.
In 2016, he acquired the bankrupt Haavaldsrud Timber Company, just to the north in Hornepayne, and its co-generation plant, rebranding it as Hornepayne Lumber GP and Hornepayne Power.
Dottori said it was always his intent to restart both mills and put them on solid footing before backing away to pursue other opportunities. He'll assist Wyszkowski through a transition period.
"Let me put it this way, I have a strong financial interest in its success," he chuckled.
His ownership group has invested $35 million in equipment and production...