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Three Days of Learning and Conversation

By AICC Staff

June 1, 2017


Hundreds of representatives of AICC member companies came together for the opening night reception.

More than 500 representatives of AICC member companies, with nearly 150 spouses and kids in tow, descended on the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Austin, Texas, April 26–28 for the AICC 2017 Spring Meeting.

Emerging Leaders Training


Attendees chose from four, two-day workshop tracks during the Meeting.

Nearly 60 AICC Emerging Leaders (ELs) came in a day early to participate in a workshop on Principled Leadership. The session began with a presentation and conversation with Scott Ellis, co-founder, P2, moderating. The conversation focused on building trust, understanding customers, and using effective communication.

The group then broke into separate panels for the men and women to discuss Building the Right Reputation. Panelists included: Jody Akers, Akers Packaging; Bonnie Barraclough, Can-Am Packaging; Julie Elgin, Oklahoma Interpak; Jerry Frisch, Wasatch Container; Jana Harris, Harris Packaging; Emma Hay, EFI; Chris Heusch, ARCH Inc.; Larry Hudson, Jamestown Container Companies; Molly Mercer, Litho Press; and Barb Willians, EFI. Panelists shared their personal experiences and offered suggestions to the ELs. The connections made between the ELs and the industry panelists could be seen in the continuing conversations throughout the remainder of the Spring Meeting.


Christine Walters, JD, MAS, SHRM-SCP,
SPHR – FiveL Company gave a keynote
presentation and led the HR Workshop track.

During a working session, later in the program, ELs developed the mission statement for the Emerging Leader Program: Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow, Today.

Plant Tours

Wednesday began with nearly 90 people embarking on tours of StarCorr Sheets LLC/Schwarz Partners Sheet Feeder group and Community Impact Newspaper.

StarCorr Sheets LLC is one of the newest members of the Schwarz Partners Sheet Feeder group. The greenfield plant was built in 2015 and started production in November.

Community Impact Printing prints the company’s 23 newspapers for the Austin, Dallas, and Houston metro markets. Their focus is to provide “hyper­local” news.

Sales Managers Forum


Tony Schleich, president, Lawrence Paper
Company, American Packaging Division,
AICC chair welcomed attendees.

Another 30 joined the Sales Managers Forum, at which participants heard from Ellis on Hunting Hunters, with tips and tools for finding and developing packaging sales professionals.

Then, Ed Wallace, president and chief relationship officer of The Relational Capital Group, spoke on Sustaining Relational Capital. Wallace focused the group on understanding relationship management as a core competency and learning how to objectively evaluate the relationships of the sales team.

Next, attendees heard from Andrew Hurley, assistant professor of packaging science, Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University, on Transforming the Commodity. This segment discussed finding the right value proposition for each potential customer and encouraged participants to look beyond the box.


Al Hoodwin, CEO, Michigan City Paper Box, and AICC vice-chair, encouraged everyone to take advantage of the free online education now available to all members.

The final presenter of the Forum was Dave Eggleston, president, Frain Integration, who offered insights on Differentiating the Commodity: The Disruptive Impact of Education on

Value. The focus of this segment was on creating the understanding within a company’s customer base that you are the “industry expert” to create a sales cycle that involves a combination of consultative relationship management, trend analysis, activity-based recommendations, and reverse-engineered retailer expectations.

Human Resource Summit

Forty-five human resources (HR) professionals came together during the HR Summit, hearing from Holly Green, CEO and managing director, The Human Factor; Gene Marks, columnist, author, and small business owner, Marks Group PC; and Christine Walters, J.D., MAS, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, FiveL Company.

Challenges and solutions discussed the first day included:

  • Finding, managing, rewarding, and engaging employees to become a “Best Place to Work” organization.
  • Learning the employee life cycle (recruiting, retaining, rewarding, and engaging employees) and key actions you can take at each stage to be even more successful.
  • Tools and services, platforms and applications, and hardware and devices that today’s innovative companies are using to recruit, collaborate, manage, pay, evaluate, and communicate with their employees.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Ed Wallace, president & chief relationships officer, The Relational Capital Group, explained how to build meaningful business relationships.

The Summit continued through two days of workshops, which offered participants the opportunity to earn continuing education credits and review their employee handbooks and HR’s top 10 headaches.

In addition to the HR Summit and workshops, the Meeting hosted three additional workshop tracks.

Sales and Leadership Track

Wallace spoke to more than 100 attendees about the relational ladder. He stressed the need to pursue credibility, authenticity, and integrity to aspire to become a respected adviser. A respected adviser offers a two-way relationship, and it is relationships that allow sales to grow.


Two evening receptions offered extra time for members to connect.

Hot Topics Track

Marks brought 45 people together and held a fast-paced session identifying “what’s hot” in business. Discussions covered health insurance, HSA (health savings account) plans, and Obamacare. In trends, he mentioned that wages will increase by at least 3 percent, and minimum wages will also increase. He believes overtime regulations will not change in 2017 and noted that paid time off is trending up. He also mentioned that several companies, including LinkedIn, which are offering unlimited paid time off, see employees taking less time compared to companies with a use-it-or-lose-it policy.

Day two of Hot Topics offered nearly 30 participants unfettered access to AICC’s corrugated and folding carton technical advisers, Ralph Young and Tom Weber. They offered immediate responses to the critical questions impacting the performance of member companies.

Supplier Innovation

Twenty AICC Associate members presented their latest innovations

over two days. The initial session had nearly 90 participants filling the audience. Presentations included:

  • “Alliance Machines Raptor Palletizer Offerings” — Danny Lopez, Alliance Machine Systems International LLC.


    Gene Marks, columnist, author,
    small-business owner, and CPA gave a
    keynote presentation and moderated day
    one of the Hot Topics track.

  • “INext—Digital Transformations and the Technology That Drives Them” — Eric Nolan, Amtech/Futura.
  • “New Developments of the Bahmüller Specialty Folder Gluer” — Benjamin Holke, Wilhelm Bahmüller.
  • “Evolution in Bundle Reject Technology” — Chris Raney,

    Baumer HHS Corporation.

  • “ColorConneXion—Simply Controlling Color” — Robert Callif, BCM Inks USA Inc.
  • “Eterna 3200-C6 (126) Specialty Folder Gluer” — Mark Caffrey, Brausse.
  • “FlexSHIELD” — Jeff Stacy, Cascades Sonoco.
  • “Leading the Digital Transformation—End-to-End Certified Corrugated Workflows” — Barb Willans, EFI.
  • “Innovations in Rigid Box Manufacturing Automation Equipment for Luxury Packaging” — Glenn R. Maile, Emmeci USA LLC.


    The 2017 Spring meeting offered more
    learning opportunities than ever before.

  • “Simplifying Multi-Part Corrugated Display Design & Production Workflow and Integrating Production with Business Systems” — Richard Deroo, ESKO.
  • “Printing Inside and Outside the Box in a Single Pass” — James Schiffman, Global Boxmachine LLC.
  • “HP PrintOS” — Bob Raus, HP Inc.
  • “The HP Pagewide C500 Press” — Steve Shannon, HP Inc.
  • “ColorCure ‘Cold’ LED UV” — Dave Burgess, JB Machinery.
  • “KOLBUS Luxury Packaging Line/Boxline” — Robert Shafer, KOLBUS America Inc.–Hycorr.
  • “Protecting Loads From the Elements With Lachenmeier Xeros Film” — Mark Wolschlag, Muller.
  • “Corrugator Lab” — Peter Dobell, OM Partners.
  • “SUN110 RDC: New Cost-Effective, Reliable, High Performance Rotary Die Cutter” — Aaron Schlothauer, SUN Automation Group.
  • “ClearVision BoxChek” — Ray Rammelsberg, ValcoMelton.
  • “Robotic Palletizing Solution” — Doug Vandergriff, WSA-USA.

Female leaders shared their experience with the women in the Emerging Leader program.

CEO Eye-Openers

For early birds, the meeting offered two CEO eye-openers. The first, with Green, brought 52 people together with a riveting program on why we do what we do and how to set ourselves up to get clear on winning in business. Participants discussed managing time effectively, implementing email processes to clean up your inbox and track and follow up with messages, and holding effective meetings.

The second was facilitated by Scott Ellis and Mitch Klinger, CPA, Klingher Nadler LLP. It allowed participants to learn from one another about deciding to buy or sell, making capital improvement decisions, and working with family. Ellis and Klingher regularly facilitate AICC CEO Advisory Groups. Learn more at

width=423Keynote Speakers

Matt Elhardt, vice president, North America, Fisher International, presented an overview of the current state of the paperboard and corrugated industry, and provided an outlook for the future. He covered trends and cost drivers for fiber, energy, and labor.

Dinesh D’Souza, renowned filmmaker, author, and scholar, gave an autobiographical talk about how America has changed his own life and the world.

Wallace turned “we all make boxes” into how to build relationships into sales. He explained behaviors validate your good intentions, and your good intentions reinforce your business relationships. Relationship capital is principles that allow you to distinguish yourself. Wallace suggests one should unearth the goals, passions, and struggles of customers to build a relationship.

Walters offered an overview of HR laws and regulations that can affect small business. Of particular interest were the differences in state and federal laws. Many areas were touched upon, including hiring, termination, nondisclosure vs. noncompete, and no-solicitation rules.


Two evening receptions brought together all attendees for hours of networking and conversation. Nearly 40 boxmakers and suppliers enjoyed dinner together at The View Restaurant during the Folding Carton & Rigid Box Dinner.

Forty-five people attended the off-site BBQ & Brewery Tour.

4th Annual Independent’s Cup Charity Golf Tournament

The Spring Meeting also offered the 4th Annual Independent’s Cup Golf Tournament. The winning team was Kyle Eldridge, Matt Ausburn, Vern Bennett, and John Krafels, with a score of 51. Jessica Negus, John Burgess, Gil Beucher, and Kevin Ausburn all won closest to the pin, with Kevin Doherty taking home the longest drive, and Eldridge winning longest putt.

A total of $45,000 was given to Austin Music Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas, and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.