Location: Williamsport, MD
Owner and CEO
Mathew Chakola, owner and CEO of Maryland Paper Company, was born in Kerala in southern India and grew up in an industrial family with seven siblings. His father owned and operated a brick factory and a silk factory, both located across the street from the family’s house. “At a very early age, we were exposed to all aspects of operating the factory and managing the family-owned business,” says Chakola. “I was fortunate enough to absorb my father’s discipline, focus and his business skills.”
“I tried to bring up my children with the same values that I was taught, and I am fortunate in that they have absorbed them well,” says Chakola. “I have also tried to pass on to them the family traditions that are close to my heart. Mally worked as a corporate attorney for five years before joining the company in 2010. David started working for Maryland Paper after graduating from Hobart College. For the last three years, he has been in training to understand all aspects of the business.”
Fun Fact: “I didn’t inherit a business. I built it from the ground up, with only $2,800 in my pocket. In 2006, we hit gross sales of $68 million.”
“Both the land of my birth and my adopted country have influenced me equally, and my life has been made richer because of my exposure to the culture and challenges of both,” says Chakola. “I love that anyone in America can dream big.”
Chakola hopes Maryland Paper will be known as an environmentally conscious company. The water used in the company’s paper production is heated by natural gas, is frequently recycled, and is never sent to county wastewater plants. “As the need to recycle increases, I plan to continue to apply my expertise and talents in expanding and improving the company and assisting the community in its challenge to recycle,” says Chakola.