NPTA, the association for the paper distribution channel, is pleased to present the 2015 Stanley O. Styles Industry Excellence Award to Morris Dennis. With 71 years in the industry, Morris’ accomplishments in the paper industry and as an individual are exemplary and deserving of NPTA’s highest honor.
“Morris embodies the American dream and all that is good about our industry,” said F. Marshall Brown, the Executive Director of Independent Paper Merchants. “His passion for the paper business still burns strong. What is most remarkable about Morris Dennis is that he started his own company and built it into one of the strongest independent paper merchants in the U.S.”
Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the middle of six children, Morris Dennis began his first job at the age of 12. Soon after, he took a job at the soda fountain at Jones Drugstore where he met Agnes, with whom he would enjoy 67 years of marital bliss. His career in the paper industry started with Bond Sanders Paper Company at the age of 17, just before he volunteered to serve in the Navy in World War II.
After his service, Morris returned to Bond Sanders Paper, working at every position within the warehouse—from operating the ruling machine and producing envelopes to building pallets and designing one of the first palletized paper warehouses in the country. Eventually, he earned a position in outside sales and when Champion Papers acquired the company, Morris became branch manager in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In 1959, Morris was recognized with the Distinguished Salesman Award for increasing the branch sales by over 50%. After three years in Chattanooga, Morris took a job with Athens Paper to be nearer to family. Family has always remained an important value to Morris throughout his life and career. After eight years building the Athens Paper sales, the company was sold. Morris decided to strike out on his own, and with the support of his family, began Dennis Paper in 1969 at the age of 43 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Within seven years, Dennis Paper moved from a 17,000 square foot warehouse to a 30,000 square foot warehouse. It now occupies a warehouse of 71,000 square feet. After 71 years, Morris still goes to work at Dennis Paper every day, along with his sons Ron, Jerry and Steve.
Throughout his career, Morris received many accolades, including the Supplied Service Award in 1974, the 1977 Craftsman of the Year for the Nashville Chapter of the International Association of Printing House Craftsman and the Printing Industry Association of the South 2004 Person of the Year (PIAS). Active in the PIAS for many years, Morris served on the board from for ten years. He also served ten years on the Weyerhaeuser Papers Merchant Advisory Council.
He was even recognized by the state of Tennessee as an Honorary Court Officer for his outstanding service to the state and attention to Governmental processes in 1994.
Additionally, Dennis Paper is a founding member of the Association of Independent Printing Paper Merchants (AAIPM) and was recognized by the organization with the Founders award in 2009 and the Peyton Shayner Award in 2011. He has been a part of NPTA for 41 consecutive years.
“When asked about his success, Morris will modestly tell you that he has been extremely fortunate,” F. Marshall Brown shared. “It goes without saying that his character and reputation are flawless…Morris Dennis [is] a worthy recipient of the Stanley O. Styles Industry Excellence Award.”
Morris Dennis will accept the Stanley O. Styles Industry Excellence Award at the Paper2015 convention, March 15-17 in Chicago at the Tuesday Luncheon. Donations to honor Morris Dennis can be made to the Paper and Plastics Education Research (PAPER) Foundation 2015 Scholarship Program.