AICC 2023 Annual Report
By AICC Staff
November 13, 2023
Your Association ends fiscal year on solid footing after productive year
As AICC’s fiscal year came to a close, converting members and supplier members were experiencing slowdowns in their businesses since the latter part of the fall of 2022. AICC’s “business” was going in the opposite direction, an indicator that members rely on each other more than ever when the industry is seeing adversity. AICC is the network members utilize to share best practices, to seek education, and to network with one another.
AICC closed the fiscal year 2023 (FY 2023) on June 30 in a strong financial position, with results back to pre-pandemic
levels and better. Before we get to the numbers, which will close this article, let’s show you how AICC got there.
National Meetings and Events
The first AICC event of each fiscal year is the Midwest Region Golf Outing, always held in July at the Batavia Country Club in Batavia, New York, and hosted by Clay and Casey Shaw of Batavia Container. This always well-attended event serves as a scholarship fundraiser for a worthy aspiring student of a team member at an AICC member event in the region. AICC’s Northeast Summit in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in August was next on deck, a combination of casino glitz, educational speakers, and a golf outing. AICC’s fall meeting was held in September 2022 in San Antonio in conjunction with the Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry (TAPPI). In September, there was Corrugated Week. By long-standing contract, fall events in even-numbered years are either a SuperCorrExpo or a Corrugated Week. The bustle of exhibitors at the San Antonio convention center was a reminder that our industry enjoys getting together in a big way and loves to learn about technology. As October rolled around, the AICC West Coast Golf Outing was held at Strawberry Hills in Irvine, California. At the end of February and into March, the fun stayed out west with the West Coast Ski Meeting at Snowbird, Utah. The events calendar was capped in April with the Spring Meeting at Trump Doral in Miami, where more than 800 attendees and the Independents Cup Golf Tournament raised another $30,000 for the Foundation for Packaging Education.
AICC is thankful for all members who participate at in-person events and for the many Associate Member companies whose sponsorship makes these events possible.
Education and Training
As FY 2023 began, AICC’s long-standing partnership with the Packaging School as the learning management system host for AICC’s Packaging School was ending. AICC launched a new platform, AICC NOW (NOW.AICCbox.org), which hosts not only AICC’s Packaging University but the entire archive of AICC’s education-related materials. The new website is much easier to search for and find content as compared with the previously linked locations at the AICC website. Hits and visit lengths at NOW.AICCbox.org have been growing steadily throughout the fiscal year. Packaging University has seen over 18,000 learners complete courses since spring 2017. AICC continues to create approximately 10 new online courses annually and translate existing and new courses into Spanish on a regular basis.
The backbone of AICC’s online education programming is the courses provided by AICC Education Investors. These companies have committed financial and intellectual capital to create courses rostered on the site: Fosber, BCM, SUN Automation, JB Machinery, Pamarco, Absolute, Printron, EFI, Krueger, Bobst, HP, and Stafford Corrugated Products.
As part of the new courses created during the past year, AICC’s Machine Primer deserves special mention. This virtual box plant has an array of equipment on the floor. A visitor to this plant through AICC’s Packaging University can put their cursor on any machine or process shown and find an in-depth review of what the machine does with extremely detailed information. Members have cited it as a tremendous onboarding tool (along with Corrugated 101, 102, and 103, and Safety Basics), and it is also helpful for team members interested in moving over to other tasks and positions within their company.
AICC’s Breaking Down Boxes podcast remains an anticipated monthly education tool. Hosted by Gene Marino of Akers Packaging and Joe Morrelli of Huston Patterson/Lewisburg Printing Co., boxmakers and suppliers tell their stories about their successes, stumbles, and lessons learned that got them to where they are today.
AICC continues to host education opportunities for other associations through our relationship with the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association (NWPCA) and Asociación de corrugadores del Caribe, Centro y Sur América (ACCCSA). More discussions are underway with other associations.
Finally, AICC is in discussions with the Ben Barber Innovation Academy, a STEM school in the Fort Worth, Texas, area, to include AICC’s education programming in its curriculum. This project is a passion of AICC Past Chairwoman Jana Harris and is being facilitated with the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF). ICPF is also partnering with AICC to bring AICC education to ICPF’s partner schools and to find more STEM and trade school opportunities. The fight for talent on the plant floor is going to be won here.
Foundation for Packaging Education
Launched in fall 2020, the Foundation for Packaging Education is a 501(c)(3) education foundation whose mission is to ensure funds to sustain AICC’s and other entities’ education programming for current workers in the paper-based packaging industries. The number of donors has risen to 34 pledging companies and individuals, 10 one-time donor companies, and multiple single donations from individuals. The foundation has received pledges valued at $1.72 million of which $587,000 have been received. Total on-hand funds in investments and the bank are $1.53 million, which includes a one-time donation from AICC of $1 million. The goal is to reach $3 million in on-hand funds to begin funding programming. Please visit www.packaginged.org to make a pledge. You will be investing in your company’s future.
The foundation also administers two scholarships, AICC’s long-standing Dick Troll Memorial Scholarship and the new Steve Narva Memorial Scholarship, which is funded by several pledge companies in the foundation.
In November 2022, the foundation launched its first dedicated fundraiser at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Golfers played on two courses, including the famed Ocean Course, while nongolfers enjoyed the sights, sounds, and tastes of nearby Charleston. The next foundation fundraiser will be held in July 2024 in the Napa Valley region of California. Watch for details.
The Foundation for Packaging Education thanks and values all companies that have gotten behind independent education through their generous pledges.
Publications and Advertising
Since all AICC publications are available only in digital format, most of AICC’s publications and media past and present are now found at the previously mentioned AICC NOW site (NOW.AICCbox.org). Included are white papers, Ask the Expert content, past and current issues of BoxScore, all webinars, and more.
AICC NOW will also offer more online advertising opportunities for members wishing to showcase themselves in front of AICC member companies and all of their employees.
BoxScore remains the flagship publication of AICC. Produced six times a year, the content is always relevant and generated primarily by members. The January/February Big Associate Issue is dedicated to AICC’s Associate Member companies in good standing. Each interested company receives one page of editorial copy for them to write about themselves. The issue also serves as a de facto buyers guide because AICC members prefer to purchase from fellow members.
For those members who would like to advertise in AICC publications, online, or sponsor AICC events, opportunities abound. You can always stay abreast of these opportunities by looking at the media guide at www.AICCbox.org.
Governance, Cooperation, and Advocacy
AICC continues to follow its destination model driven activity where the board of directors sets high level, strategic goals for the year. AICC’s committees—Convention Content, Membership, Education, Government Affairs, Paperboard Regulations & Sheet Supply, Nominating, and Associate Member—translate the strategic goals into effective deliverables and programming. Each committee is chaired by a member of the AICC board of directors, ensuring connectivity and accountability between the committee and the board. AICC staff execute to achieve the deliverables and programming as identified by the committees. It has proven to be a sound model that provides visibility into all aspects of AICC operations. It puts members in the driver’s seat to ensure AICC provides what its members need and evolves as those needs change. Committee membership is open to any AICC member. Please consider participating and shaping the future of your Association.
AICC continues its close ties with fellow industry associations such as the Fibre Box Association, TAPPI with which AICC shares co-ownership in SuperCorrExpo and Corrugated Week, and the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA). Internationally, AICC is a member of the International Corrugated Case Association (ICCA) with representation on the ICCA Board of Directors in the person of Kim Nelson of Royal Containers, AICC’s overseas director. AICC maintains relationships with the Sheet Plant Association in the United Kingdom, the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers, and with the previously mentioned South and Central American entity ACCCSA and the NWPCA. AICC management and staff endeavor to represent member interests at various events throughout the year.
AICC also maintains close ties with its constituent organizations, AICC México and AICC Canada. Members in both countries have access to all AICC-generated programming and also receive unique member benefits, events, and information from closer to home. Both organizations are represented on the AICC board of directors. AICC México is experiencing explosive membership growth, reflective of the revitalization of the Mexican manufacturing economy, likely the result of near-shoring efforts by U.S.-based companies. AICC staff and management participate in many member events both south and north of the border.
With an administration in Washington, D.C., that is active on regulatory fronts, with a Congress made up of opposing narrow majorities in the House and Senate, and with several state legislatures actively considering extended producer responsibility (EPR), AICC has had a busy year as it relates to government affairs. AICC partners with several entities that are active on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures around the country, namely the Small Business Legislative Council and Council of Manufacturing Associations, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers. Issues relating to paper and paper-based packaging are borne by AF&PA, which is also active in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals around the country.
AICC is involved in campaigns on behalf of members at the federal level regarding changes in overtime eligibility rules, the introduction of the Corporate Transparency Act, the expansion of 529 plans to cover trade school participation, and the continuity of the 199A deduction for S corporations.
At the state level, it is all about EPR-related legislation, which is driven by the bulk of plastic packaging going to landfills. Unfortunately, legislators tend to think broadly and write laws that roll up all packaging into EPR. Paper-based packaging recycles and reuses at a high rate, and as such, it should be exempt from measures meant to affect low-recycling-rate packaging media.
AICC’s member retention rate continues to be among the highest in the manufacturers association industry at 94%. We believe this rate reflects the relevance of AICC programming for members and the strengths of the Association’s collegial networking atmosphere. AICC’s tagline, “When you invest and engage, AICC delivers success,” proves time and again to be accurate for the member experience. At the close of FY 2023, AICC had 502 members in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico with general (boxmaker) members totaling 292 and Associate (supplier) members totaling 210. Total dues revenue was over $2 million for the three organizations in North America.
AICC finished the fiscal year in a strong position, beginning with the balance sheet.
From an operating income and net income point of view, total revenue was better than budgeted by nearly $500,000 due to strong dues and meeting receipts. On the expense side, most activities ran according to plan. Administrative costs were elevated as AICC’s information technology made a cloud migration to enhance the security of our platform and our members’ information. Meeting expenses were higher due to the turnout at the AICC Spring Meeting in Florida, but this was more than covered by meeting revenue. Operating income was better than budgeted by $130,000. Below the line income and expenses netted to over $210,000, resulting in a total net income of $340,000.
The above financial information is not audited. The spreadsheets are derived from AICC’s monthly financial statements. At the time of this writing, AICC’s audit, an annual process we conduct with Mullins, PC, of Bethesda, Maryland, has not been completed. Once audited numbers are received, they are presented to the AICC Budget Committee and board of directors for review and approval.
Members that wish to receive AICC’s audited financial statements should contact Mike D’Angelo at mdangelo@AICCbox.org.
Thank you for your membership, your participation, and your support.