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Ode to the Associate

By Michael D'Angelo

January 30, 2023


Michael D’Angelo embraced the Texas spirit at Corrugated Week in San Antonio, despite ultimately passing on the mechanical bull ride.

I held off writing this column for a while, although it is one I can write in my sleep, write from reflex.

Why? Because I previously worked for an AICC Associate member company for more than 30 years. I know the life of the Associate. I know the passion of the Associate. I know how the Associate esteems AICC and its members. I can write about that experience for this, the Big Associate Issue, without even thinking about it.

But I did want to think about it. More than that, I wanted to experience it with this column in mind. So, I did, twice—AICC/TAPPI Corrugated Week in San Antonio in September and the joint AICC/CCCA Tabletop Exhibition “Better Together” in Toronto in October.

In terms of scope, these events were not comparable. The former—three days, large booths to tabletops, big convention center, two general sessions, workshops, and breakout sessions. The latter—one day, only tabletops, small venue (but very cool—the old Toronto Stock Exchange Trading Floor), four speakers including a panel discussion, stage, and supplier tabletops all in the same room.

I walked the floor in San Antonio, and I worked the room in Toronto. I spoke to and witnessed hundreds of passionate, dedicated professionals practicing their craft. I saw engaged and enthusiastic customers and prospects. I saw expertise, honesty, and mutual respect.

“Quality performance starts with a positive attitude.” —Jeffrey Gitomer

At these two most recent events, I saw quality performance and positive attitude in multiples. AICC Associate members are as much a part of AICC converting members’ businesses as the paper, ink, software, equipment, and services they provide. This industry gets that people are behind the products, the partnerships, and the possibilities—and that those people are important and make a difference.

They are essential to moving the paper-based packaging industry forward and to the growth and sustainability of AICC, your Association.

The Big Associate Issue of BoxScore is AICC’s way of saying thank you to Associate members. They don’t have to be an advertiser to get a page in this issue. They only need to be an AICC member in good standing. They can use the one page to convey any message or information they wish to share.

It is a small token of appreciation.

Because I know that behind every quality performance and positive attitude delivered by an Associate is a man or a woman who is sweating the details. Worrying about whether the shipment will be made on time. Double-checking the order. Finding a solution. Being creative. Learning the customer’s business. Writing the proposal. Advocating on your behalf. Arriving at the hotel at 2 a.m. Stuck at the airport due to a missed connection. Away from the family for another week.

For you.


Michael D’Angelo

AICC President