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AICC Members Invest in Their Future

By AICC Staff

June 4, 2019


Nearly 700 people came together during the meeting to make new memories and learn about the industry.

AICC hosted nearly 700 people during the Spring Meeting, April 1–3, at the Trump National Doral in Miami. The meeting explored key economic indicators, succession planning, the impact of generations in the workforce, recruiting and retaining employees, and the latest innovations impacting the containerboard and paperboard markets.

The Sales & Customer Service Management Forum, a pre-conference two-day seminar, which began Sunday, March 31, was the first event to bring members together. Led by Wayne Millage of WM Investments LLC and Suzy Cummins of Next Gear Consulting, the first day taught sales managers how to build a strong team and identify trends, while the customer service managers focused on metrics and profitability. Day two brought the two camps together to explore strategic alignment between the departments and within their companies.

Monday, April 1, began with a tour of Atlas Packaging & Displays, a designer and manufacturer of custom corrugated packaging and point-of-purchase displays. Their products range from die-cut corrugated to retail packaging to other specialty products.


Nearly 40 AICC Emerging Leaders enjoyed a night out in Wynwood—Miami’s trendiest neighborhood—where they experienced the graffiti art and toured Wynwood Brewing Company.

Later that afternoon, moderator Kevin Ausburn, Chair and CEO, SMC Packaging Group, brought together: Mitch Klingher, CPA, partner, Klingher Nadler LLP; George Staphos, managing director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Matthew Poirier, director of trade policy, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME); and Ken Waghorne, vice president, global packaging paper, RISI. Each gave perspective on the future of the economy, which was relatively positive; the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA, “NAFTA 2”); and market forces that will impact AICC members in the coming years.

That afternoon also brought together 35 AICC Emerging Leaders (ELs) to learn how to generate creative leadership, shared vision, and alignment across a variety of skills and talents from Mark Houck, co-founder and president, The King’s Men. The ELs later enjoyed a night out in Wynwood, Miami’s trendiest neighborhood, where they experienced the graffiti art and toured Wynwood Brewing Company.

Keynote presentations offered inspiration and new ideas to attendees:

  • Scott Zimmer, generational expert and consultant, BridgeWorks, offered ideas about working together across generations in “Bridging the Generational Gap.”
  • Jeff Skiles, co-pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, shared his amazing experience and the role he played in the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

During the closing general session, AICC members also heard from a surprise visitor, Eric Trump, the second son of President Donald Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, and founder of the Eric Trump Foundation. Trump shared his perspective on running a family business.

The meeting offered four workshop tracks to allow AICC members to gain insights into human resources, generations in the workplace, leadership transition, and supplier innovations.

Human Resources Track


AICC recognized four member companies for reaching a significant anniversary this year.

Solve the Work Shortage Crisis – Recruiting & Retaining Veterans

Justin Constantine, partner and chief business development officer, JobPath, debunked myths about veterans returning to the workforce, explained the military-civilian language barrier, and offered solutions designed to help companies attract veterans. JobPath, a new AICC member benefit, allows AICC members to post jobs on the JobPath portal, an innovative online community that helps companies connect with qualified veterans. Learn more at

Recruiting, Retaining & Retiring Top-Level Employees

Joe Trybula, vice president, advisory services, Diversified Financial Advisors, helped AICC members translate their 401(k) plans into a recruitment and retention tool. He also discussed common practices and best practices of companies offering this benefit.

Generations in the Workplace

Generations & the Future of the Workplace

Zimmer offered seven tips on things that motivate millennials other than money, explained the importance of listening to the ideas of millennials and Generation Z, encouraged a flexible work environment, and stressed the importance of offering feedback with examples of how different generations tend to prefer receiving it.

Here Comes Gen Z

Josh Miller, speaker and passionate advocate for Generation Z, XYZ University, explained that Gen Z will share many traits with baby boomers. Gen Z is the first generation of the 21st century, and they came of age during the most disruptive decade of the last century.

Leadership Transition


Attendees were able to enjoy several networking events during the meeting, including a late-night mixer, an opening-night reception, networking lunch, and other eventing receptions.

Leadership Transition

Moderators Gene Marino, executive vice president, Rusken Packaging, and Terri-Lynn Levesque, office manager, Royal Containers, led the audience in a discussion with panelists David Callif, CEO of BCM Inks, Peter Moore, founder and CEO of Moore Packaging, and Neil Saunders, CEO of Container Graphics Corp., about their experience transitioning their successors into leadership roles in their companies.

Develop a Road Map for Your Own Leadership

Marino and Levesque began again on the second day with the successors of day one’s leaders—Rob Callif, vice president of BCM Inks, Stephen Moore, director of corporate strategy at Moore Packaging, and Graham Saunders, vice president of business development at Container Graphics Corp.—to discuss their processes and lessons learned along the way.

Then, Jim Hensel, speaker, author, and transition coach, Mayhem Mindset, joined the conversation to help members create a “road map” for their own leadership transition plan.

Supplier Innovations

AICC Associate members shared the latest machinery and nonmachinery innovations for the corrugated, folding carton, and rigid box industries.

Machinery Innovations


  • KOLBUS America: “KOLBUS AutoBox”
  • Samuel Strapping Packaging Systems: “All-New Unitizing System Engineered by Samuel”
  • Global Boxmachine LLC: “Super Alpha High-Speed High Graphics Flexo Folder Gluer”
  • SUN Automation Group: “Taking the Air Out: New Electric Ink Pump Ensures Lower Operating Costs”
  • EFI: “Unique White Ink in EFI Nozomi C18000 Single Pass Inkjet Printer for Corrugated”
  • Valco Melton: “Valco Melton/ClearVision CartonChek Pro for Specialty Folder/Gluers and Folding Carton Folders”
  • CST Systems Inc.: “Duplex: Perfect Core Grip – Perfect Core Ejection – Every Time”
  • XDS Holdings Inc.: “AirBond A Double Backer Heat Transfer Upgrade”
  • Pamarco: “Increase Quality, Reduce Ink Consumption, Improve Efficiency”
  • A.G. Stacker Inc.: “Sample Quality Rejection”

Nonmachinery Innovations


  • Tilia Labs: “‘AI’-CC or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Artificial Intelligence”
  • Advantzware: “Advantzware-Esko Full Integration”
  • EFI: “Streamlining Product Creation With the Corrugated Business System”
  • Amtech Software: “Smart Factory – Streamline Your Scheduling”
  • REISSCO Corp.: “Reinvent Your Business With Better Knowledge Management”

Over the three days, more than 40 new members or first-time meeting attendees were treated to a special networking event and reception, as well as a breakfast, with AICC Ambassadors, seasoned AICC meeting attendees, to help them integrate into the AICC family and make the most of their meeting experience.

During the meeting, AICC also recognized members for safety and significant anniversaries:

Independent Safe Shop Winners

AICC recognized 14 member companies for outstanding performance in plant safety:

  • Abbott-Action Inc., Attleboro, Mass.
  • Akers Packaging Solutions Inc., Huntington, W.Va.
  • Akers Packaging Solutions Inc., Middletown, Ohio
  • Akers Packaging Solutions Inc., Oreana, Ill.
  • Alliance Sheets LLC, Bristol, Ind.
  • Arrow Box Company of St. Louis, Kirkwood, Mo.
  • Box-Board Products,
  • Greensboro, N.C.
  • Buckeye Boxes Inc., Columbus, Ohio
  • Hoosier Container Inc., Richmond, Ind.
  • Jamestown Container Cleveland, Macedonia, Ohio
  • Jamestown Container, HP Neun Division, Lyons, N.Y.
  • Lawrence Paper Company, American Packaging Division, South Hutchinson, Kan.
  • McElroy Packaging Inc., Orrville, Ohio
  • Wunderlich Fibre Box Co., St. Louis, Mo.

AICC Member Milestone Recognition

The Member Milestone program, started in 2017, was developed to honor the hard work and longevity of AICC member companies:

  • 80 years: Wertheimer Box Corp., McCook, Ill.
  • 60 years: Central Package & Display, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • 60 years: Landaal Packaging Systems, Flint, Mich.
  • 50 years: Cumberland Container, Monterey, Tenn.

The International Corrugated Packaging Foundation also honored Joseph R. Palmeri of Jamestown Container Cos. with the Circle of Distinguished Leaders Award.

Photos from the meeting can be found on AICC’s Facebook page, Meeting attendees can request recordings of the general sessions by contacting Laura Mihalick at 703-836-2422 or

The AICC 2019 Annual Meeting & Independent Packaging Design Competition will be held September 16–18, 2019, at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto. Registration for the annual meeting will open in June.