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Your New AICC President

By AICC Staff

July 24, 2019

In 2016, after decades serving the corrugated and folding carton industries at an AICC Associate member company, Michael D’Angelo joined the AICC staff. Two years later, in April 2018, the AICC board of directors unanimously approved a transition plan that named Michael D’Angelo president of the Association as of July 2019.

Though many AICC members have known D’Angelo for years, as he begins his tenure as president, we wanted to learn a little more about how he got here and where AICC is going under his leadership.

BoxScore: How did you first get involved in the industry?

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Mike connecting with AICC members during the 2017 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

Michael D’Angelo: I was soon to be graduating from Villanova University with a degree geared toward urban and regional planning and absolutely zero job prospects. I was at a neighborhood barbecue in Sparta, N.J. Chuck Krueger, then vice president of sales at Bobst and a friend of the family, asked me about my job hunt. After I gave him the dismal update, he suggested I stop by Bobst, as they were looking for a sales administrator, an entry-level position that required “only” a college degree. I interviewed for the position, the 10th person to do so. The two people I interviewed with did not want to hire me because they were afraid I’d be “Chuck’s boy,” but I must have made an impression. They took a chance, and I began in Bobst’s folding carton business. Mind you, I was only going to work for Bobst until I found work in my chosen field. It’s a great industry—I spent the next 33 years at Bobst.

BoxScore: You spent a large portion of your career at an AICC member company. How has having that perspective impacted what you do now or what you think AICC should do in the coming years?

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Hixon Boyd, Poteet Printing Systems, with Mike during the 2017 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

D’Angelo: Having worked for an AICC Associate member company has given me two insights with which to serve the membership. The first is just that: service. There is not a big difference between a customer and a member. Members need honest partners to assist them in growing their businesses and succeeding. They need their Association to be one of those partners, to know and understand their business, the markets they serve, and the environment in which that business is occurring. They need a partner that protects them, advocates for them, educates them, and fosters the paper-based packaging industries.

The second is to be a good listener. To be an effective partner, one must be a good listener—AICC’s activities are very much member-driven. AICC’s business is our members’ business, and we, therefore, have to meet our members’ needs each and every day. If we don’t, someone else will. So we must listen well. Being a good listener also means being able to discern how members’ needs may differ—from a large multiplant boxmaking company to a single plant operation, from a large multinational capital equipment supplier to a regional ink manufacturer, and everything in between. Each member needs AICC to serve them in a way that suits them. We can never lose sight of that.

BoxScore: What do you hope to do in your first year as president?

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Mike pitches in to help set up the 2017 Independent Package Design Competition.

D’Angelo: Spend time with members. Get to know in some way each member that does not already know me. After 2½ years on the AICC staff, I know that it’s no small undertaking. As part of that, I also hope to drive AICC’s value proposition, especially as it relates to industry education, deeper into our member companies. We have had tremendous growth in member utilization of education, especially The Packaging School. I’m especially pleased with how members are turning to AICC and The Packaging School for recruitment and onboarding and having AICC help them to customize experiences. Despite all that, we are barely scratching the surface of all the member company employees we could be reaching. So, we need to find a way to take a deeper dive into our members’ plants. I hope to focus on working with our members and committees to make that happen.

BoxScore: Is there any particular issue that you think will touch members in the coming year, and what will AICC do to help them?

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Mike welcomed attendees to the Digital Xperience conference this past year in Charlotte, N.C.

D’Angelo: Determining what is the new normal with regard to pulp and containerboard, OCC pricing, operating rates, and scheduled new capacity coming online. Paper and supply are the common denominator for each converting member of AICC. The Paperboard, Regulations, and Sheet Supply Committee and AICC are working diligently to ensure that we are understanding how things are evolving and relating them to our members’ needs. Each converter needs to make its own decisions, and AICC’s role is to provide relevant and timely information to put them in the best position to do so.

BoxScore: What is the one thing that you want to tell AICC members?

D’Angelo: If you’re not already doing so, please make AICC a trusted partner in your business. Your Association has been assembled to assist in your successes. Chair Joe Palmeri’s theme is simple, but it rings loudly: When you invest and engage, AICC will deliver success. I think it’s apparent when you go to The Packaging School, national meetings, seminars, summits, and other programs. What we have the benefit of seeing at headquarters in Alexandria (Va.) is the daily engagement, how the staff interacts with members and responds to inquiries that come in by email and phone—day-to-day realities in your business life with which AICC can assist. AICC works for its members each and every day, not just at the events you find in the calendar. We’re here to serve you.