Class of 1992
Henri Perron was a Quebec forestry entrepreneur who founded J.H. Normick and Co.
Born in La Mauricie area of Quebec in 1888, Henri spent most of his youth working as a farm hand in summer and as a lumberjack in winter. He launched his forestry career in 1912 with the purchase of government land at La Sarre in the Abitibi Temiscamingue region. He was a pioneer who quickly established himself as a hard working and fair jobber, a trade that hired workers for others.
By 1925, Henri was experiencing harsh conditions associated with opening up the virgin Quebec forests to commerce. When the Depression hit, he turned to horse trading to supplement his income.
At age 50 his dream of success was helped along when he became a logging contractor. His first sawmill, at the end of a trail in Val-Paradis, Quebec, opened the province and Henri to the many benefits that would follow. He innovated the process or recuperating waste poplar wood to manufacture plywood from the region’s abundance of Aspen trees.
By 1957, Henri and his four sons were partners in the family owned business, J.H. Normick and Co. Together, they spent the next 20 years building a forest products empire. The company became the largest poplar plywood manufacturer in Canada. Under the Normick banner, Henri’s factories and sawmills employed thousands of people.
Henri Perron participated in the birth and expansion of the Abitibi region and development of northern Ontario. A biographer wrote, “he was a man of subtle character who never completely revealed himself.”