It was a day to celebrate at Nanaimo’s Harmac Pacific pulp mill. It’s been six years since employees took over the operation. The future of the mill was in jeopardy in 2008, so the workers banded together and bought the place themselves.

President Levi Sampson says the first year was tough, but since then, they’ve proven the skeptics wrong and provided jobs for 300 full-time employees.

Harmac isn’t the only employee ownership success story Sampson has celebrated this year. He’s also involved in Victoria-based CHEK TV, where employees followed Harmac’s lead and took over the business.

Sampson says Harmac’s now also generating power , which is a valuable second revenue steam.

A new a new entrance built by Pioneer Log Homes and statue of Harvey Reginald MacMillan, carved by Peter Ryan, were also unveiled in front of Harmac’s main office on Thursday. Harmac was named after MacMillan, who built the original mill in 1949.