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Introducing AICC’s Foundation for Packaging Education

By AICC Staff

December 1, 2020

“AICC has a diverse group of member companies that total nearly 500. They range from single sheet plant operations to multiple-facility, integrated papermakers and converters, from single-employee technical service providers to multinational machinery builders. They are boxmakers, and they are suppliers. They are in the corrugated, folding carton, and rigid box markets.

Despite this variety, AICC members have a major thing in common: people. And with people there is the need to hire and retain workers at all levels in their organizations, particularly in the manufacturing environment.

The more knowledgeable the industry is, the stronger it will be. Dick Troll, AICC’s first executive director, once famously remarked, “You have people running a million-dollar flexo who you wouldn’t let drive your car!” Education and training were his passion. He always said that every worker deserved a chance to better themselves—and not just for their job performance. Their dignity and self-respect mattered more. Troll’s passion led AICC into the forefront of industry training and education for all levels of employees.

Troll was instrumental in the launch of AICC’s first education foundation, the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF) (see sidebar and page 64 of this issue). ICPF is now in its fourth decade of providing funds for collegiate-level corrugated-oriented education curricula and equipment.

While ICPF brings people to the plant door, AICC’s mission is to educate and train them once inside. A company that cares enough to invest in their employee education and training is one that is regarded highly by its team members and fosters loyalty.

That sentiment, and Troll’s vision for industry workers, is backed by studies that have shown that manufacturing companies that can demonstrate investment in industry-related employee education are more likely to fill open positions, promote from within, and retain team members than those that cannot.

Education in a manufacturing environment is seen by AICC as a quality-of-life driver. High utilization of AICC’s online Packaging School, webinars, and seminars by its members underscores the fact that thousands of industry employees require training daily. Training ensures not just proficiency in a discipline but also the opportunity for advancement as the employee learns more. This requires a broad-based, transparent, educational eleemosynary organization.

In a series of actions by its board of directors that began in January, AICC has created the Foundation for Packaging Education, its second nonprofit 501(c)(3) education endowment fund.

AICC member companies, industry foundations, and government granting agencies, through the foundation, will support the development and dissemination of employee education and training resources for workers in the corrugated, folding carton, rigid box, and related supply chain industries. Funds raised by the Foundation for Packaging Education will be used to support workforce development, including to:

  • Underwrite costs associated with providing education and training programs to the industry, curriculum development, learning management system platform costs, and instructor fees, thus helping to lower training costs for AICC members.
  • Provide funds for a formalized certificate skills achievement program.
  • Provide funds for the creation of aptitude testing for pre-applicants for defined in-plant positions.
  • Provide funds for in-person, goal-based training programs for manufacturing floor teams.
  • Provide funds for educational and scientific research.
  • Develop and support industry-specific paper-based packaging education and training programs.
  • Assist members in developing internship programs for their companies.
  • Translate online courses into Spanish.
  • Provide payment of professional services and instructor fees.
  • Underwrite staff support needed to oversee the execution and completion of all foundation activities.

Your company can be a part of growing your industry via tax-deductible contributions that will benefit AICC’s industry-specific education and training programming through the Foundation for Packaging Education. See more of what your contribution to the Foundation can do at

AICC’s executive committee, consisting of the voting officers and nonvoting advisors to the AICC chairman, will be the Foundation for Packaging Education’s board of directors.

AICC’s Foundation for Packaging Education is uniquely positioned to reduce the training expense for AICC member companies as well as the broader corrugated and paperboard packaging industries. In essence, the foundation gives back to members by lowering these expenses.

Interested in learning more and in becoming a donor? Please contact AICC Director of Education Taryn Pyle at 703-535-1391 or, or AICC President Mike D’Angelo at 703-535-1386 or Learn more about the Foundation for Packaging Education at


Sidebar: Million-Dollar Match

AICC’s board of directors has created a matching grant. AICC will match the first $1 million in pledges received by the Foundation during its first year. This doubles the impact of all donations made. Eleven companies have already pledged more than $500,000.

Donors to date include: Bay Cities, DeLine Box, Harris Packaging, Jamestown Container Packaging, Michigan City Paper Box, Oklahoma Interpack, Package Crafters, Packaging Express, Standfast Packaging Group, SUN Automation, Wasatch Container. To make a one-time donation or a multiyear pledge, contact Michael D’Angelo at or 703-535-1386.

Sidebar: Governance

The chairman of the Foundation for Packaging Education’s board of directors is the chair of the AICC Past Presidents’ and Past Chairmen’s Council, Al Hoodwin of Michigan City Paper Box; the chairman will serve for one year. The vice chairman will be the immediate past chairman of AICC’s board of directors, Joe Palmeri of Jamestown Container. The rest of the foundation’s voting officers comprise AICC’s Executive Committee, namely Jay Carman of StandFast Packaging Group, Gene Marino of Akers Packaging, Jana Harris of Harris Packaging, Matt Davis of Packaging Express, and Gary Brewer of Package Crafters. Nonvoting advisors are Greg Tucker of Bay Cities and Jerry Frisch of Wasatch Container.

Articles of incorporation were filed with the Commonwealth of Virginia, and a set of bylaws was created this past summer. Any member that would like to receive a copy of these documents may do so by sending a request to AICC President Mike D’Angelo at

Sidebar: COMPLEMENTARY Purposes

AICC and other such 501(c)(6) organizations commonly have more than one supporting foundation. AICC’s first, the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation, was created and launched by AICC in 1985 and has been co-sponsored by AICC and the Fibre Box Association since 1990. Reasons for having multiple foundations go primarily to the need for being able to support functionally different requirements and demands for education resources that come from AICC member companies and the industry at large. The Foundation for Packaging Education’s differentiating factor will be its focus on workforce development needs. Both foundations are worthy of support.”