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50 Years of AICC: 1994–2003

May 17, 2024

Go Big or Go Home

An AICC member tests his balance at the Seattle Science Center during AICC’s 1992 Annual Meeting in Seattle. 
Bill Mazzaco of Packaging Innovators is at the 1996 AICC Associate Member Trade Fair in Chicago.
Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, addresses AICC’s 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston.

The mid-1990s marked a significant evolution for AICC as it broadened its scope of services and educational programs. In 1995, in collaboration with M.S. Ackerman & Co. LLC, AICC introduced the School for Financial Managers & Controllers, underscoring its dedication to equipping senior-level personnel in independent box plants with essential skills. This initiative was followed by the inaugural AICC Sales Management Institute in 1996 and the Production Managers’ Forum in 1997, tailored to meet the evolving needs of industry professionals.

A pivotal moment came in 1996 when AICC initiated a comprehensive long-range planning session involving key stakeholders. Spearheaded by AICC’s 23rd board chair Joseph R. Palmeri of Jamestown Container Cos., this endeavor aimed to chart the Association’s future course, aligning its resources and programs with the emerging trends and challenges faced by the independent sector.

As demographic shifts reshaped AICC’s membership landscape, a new generation of leaders emerged. To facilitate this transition and preserve the Association’s vitality, the Next Generation Committee was established, providing a platform for young members to contribute and thrive within the organization. This committee eventually succeeded itself out of existence as the generation it nurtured took the reins of their companies. The Next Generation Committee was one of the precursors to AICC’s current Emerging Leader program.

Recognizing the value of collaboration, AICC embarked on strategic partnerships to enhance member services. Under Palmeri’s leadership, AICC joined forces with TAPPI in May 1997 to co-sponsor SuperCorrExpo 2000, North America’s premier corrugated machinery show. This groundbreaking collaboration underscored AICC’s commitment to driving industry innovation and excellence.

In 1998, AICC formalized its cooperative efforts through the FirstPak program, aimed at expanding members’ capabilities and market reach. By petitioning regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Department of Justice and the Canadian Competition Bureau, AICC paved the way for joint-selling entities among members, enabling them to better serve national and regional customers while adhering to antitrust regulations. This program continues to provide value to members today.

Dick Kelley of Dusobox and AICC President Joseph R. Palmeri of Jamestown Container Cos. “burn” AICC’s mortgage at AICC’s
1997 Spring Meeting in Orlando.

Throughout this transformative period, AICC remained dedicated to fostering international partnerships and outreach. Initiatives such as engaging with Latin American boxmakers underscored the Association’s commitment to global collaboration and knowledge exchange.

The dawn of the new millennium heralded continued growth and innovation for AICC. The signing of a 20-year agreement with TAPPI in 2001 to cosponsor SuperCorrExpo affirmed AICC’s enduring commitment to industry-
leading events and collaboration.

AICC’s global engagement expanded further in 2002 with its participation in international industry meetings and the establishment of AICC México, reflecting the Association’s commitment to fostering excellence and innovation beyond North American borders.

In response to the challenges facing North American manufacturing, AICC, under the leadership of then-President Jay Wertheimer of Wertheimer Box, launched the “Make it in America” campaign in 2003. This initiative, underscored by trademarking the campaign logo and annual Washington Fly-ins, aimed to advocate policies supporting a robust manufacturing base, reinforcing AICC’s role as a champion of industry advocacy and innovation.

At an AICC Spring Meeting are Ted and Liga Haiplik of Macmillan Bathurst, Joan and Bill Laimbeer of Laimbeer Packaging, Carol Strickfaden, and AICC Executive Vice President Steve Young.
John R. Troll Jr., son of the late AICC President Dick Troll, receives a commendation from AICC President Joseph R. Palmeri during the 1997 Spring Meeting in Orlando.

Tom Skinner of Phoenix Packaging, radio personality Paul Harvey, and Jim Davis of DeLine Box Co. celebrate AICC’s 25th Anniversary in 1999 in Chicago.
Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, poses with Bill and Judy Flinn of Scope Packaging at AICC’s 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston.
AICC President Jay Wertheimer of Wertheimer Box speaks at AICC’s 2003 Spring Meeting in San Antonio.
1990s
John R. Troll Jr., son of the late AICC President Dick Troll, receives a commendation from AICC President Joseph R. Palmeri during the 1997 Spring Meeting in Orlando.

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