The AICC Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky last week was marked by bourbon, box plants, and business but also offered plenty of valuable takeaways designed to spark learning opportunities and inspiration for manufacturers, suppliers, and professionals at all levels and expertise among the corrugated industry’s most innovative organizations. 

Some 500 AICC members convened at the downtown Marriott where conversations overflowed from ballroom to ballroom and all corners in between throughout the three-day event. AICC brought info-packed panel sessions, inspiring keynotes, and the latest trends in family business, automation, legislation, artificial intelligence, sustainability and a lot more.

Jana Harris, President of Harris Packaging and American Carton Company of Haltom City, Texas, and AICC Chairwoman, shined a supportive light on those individuals demonstrating leadership in the industry and young packaging talent. She also shared her passion for education and updated members on her efforts to establish online packaging courses for high school STEM students.

“If you have a STEM school that you’re already working with, or one that you want to work with, and you want to implement some of this as well, we highly recommend you reach out to us at AICC or myself and we’ll make sure we can help you get that going,” Harris said.

Three local companies — Premier Packaging, Independent II, and Greif CorrChoice — graciously opened their doors for tours of their state-of-the-art facilities where two busloads of attendees were allowed an inside look at their operations and the practices that drive their success in the industry following by lunch and bluegrass music at the historic Farmington Plantation.

Greg Jones, Executive Vice President of Sun Automation Group, and Greg Tucker, CEO of Bay Cities Container, Pico Rivera, California, were recognized as AICC member Champions for going “above and beyond” in their efforts to promote the value of being a member of the association.

Jordan Dawson, Customer Service/Purchasing Representative of Harris Packaging, an EL junior delegate, recognized to ELs who are “aging out” of the program after serving for a number of years and making significant contributions.

Harris urged AICC members to invite their young professionals to join the Emerging Leaders program, which offers a support system for young leaders 35 and under in the packaging industry and networking opportunities that help them grow as leaders.

John McQueary, Vice President of Sales at CST Systems, a senior delegate for AICC’s Emerging Leaders (EL) said that there are currently 122 enrolled members, 21 of whom are new in 2023, and 55 of whom attended the AICC Annual Meeting.

“We hold multiple virtual and in-person training and networking events throughout the year, and more than half of those events are completely free to our members,” he said. “Some other exciting events we have planned for the year include our next C-Suite series webinar, which is a free quarterly webinar series both within and outside of organization and outside of our industry.”

Matt Davis, President of Packaging Express and AICC First Vice Chairman, was recognized for his leadership with Emerging Leaders and association with the EL workshop in Colorado Springs. “We’re also looking forward to to our annual virtual winter social networking event in December.”

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