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Community Counts!

By Michael D'Angelo

September 21, 2021

width=131I write these words from the AICC office on the Monday after a jam-packed week at SuperCorrExpo. As you all know, SuperCorrExpo is jointly owned by AICC and TAPPI. I want to thank the staffs of both associations for their tireless work in staging another successful trade show, under more demanding circumstances than ever before. If you were there, thank you for joining us. It was an experience.

AICC’s team began arriving the Thursday before the show. Exhibitors already had teams on the floor getting booths ready for the Monday opening at the Orange County Convention Center. The mood on the floor pre-show was one of great anticipation and, honestly, some uncertainty. But the enthusiasm for being there was readily apparent and contagious!

The Box Manufacturing Olympics setup was a massive undertaking given the 170 entries. The AICC and TAPPI volunteers, under the direction of the ever-passionate Cordes Porcher, put together a fantastic exhibit that showed so well the dynamism and creativity of the corrugated industry. Many thanks to the judges who spent their time evaluating and seriously considering the merits of each entry. Congratulations not just to the winners (see p. 14) but to all who entered.

As we saw with AICC’s Spring Meeting in April in Amelia Island, Florida, all those who came to SuperCorrExpo were happy just to return to a semblance of normalcy. Those who were there as attendees and as exhibitors all shared the “isn’t this great?” vibe.

Several exhibitors brought full line machines or major components to the show floor. Others brought augmented reality presentations of equipment or live-feed presentation capabilities. Just as the entrants in the Box Manufacturing Olympics were creative, so too were many exhibitors. One can slightly alter AICC’s messaging to sum up the SuperCorrExpo experience: “When you invest and engage, SuperCorrExpo delivers success.” You get out of it what you put into it.

Yes, attendance was down compared to the last edition in 2016. This is no surprise. After every trade show, there is the usual discussion of quantity versus quality. This year, the discussion regarding attendance brought a different adjective for the attendee: motivated. The shoe fits. Anyone who hopped on a plane or drove several hours to Florida to spend time at SuperCorrExpo, cutting through the news and concerns of the day, did so for a reason. And they were rewarded.

I had the pleasure to meet Adrian Quigg from Hummingbird, a SuperCorrExpo exhibitor. He was kind enough to buy me a glass of wine, and when we toasted, he raised his glass and said, “Community counts!” How appropriate were these words to sum up the 2021 SuperCorrExpo experience?

Corrugated is a community. Paper-based packaging is a community. AICC is a community. In my opinion, COVID-19 will be with us for a long time in many forms and variants. We must continue to keep our community together, as we did in the past year with the limitations that we faced, and present, as we did at Amelia Island and at SuperCorrExpo. It is time.

Why? Because your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. The way you make others feel is your trademark. These are not my words, but I believe in them. Be it on the floor of SuperCorrExpo, in Association retention and recruitment, in equipment and service sales, in box sales—honestly, in everything that you do.

Personal interaction is a competitive advantage!

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Michael D’Angelo

AICC President

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