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Every June, the Suppliers, Members, and Champions in the Packaging Distributors of America community come together to celebrate successes and share best practices.


This year’s meeting was the 11th annual meeting, and was held at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Oconee, Georgia from June 19, 2017 to June 23, 2017. The meeting kicked off with a Welcome Reception where prizes were raffled for a charity auction.


On Tuesday, the general session began with a few words from PDA’s founder and CEO, George Strobel, PDA’s chairman of the board, Derrick Murdock, and a representative from PDA’s marketing team, Stephanie Roland. Following the opening comments, guest speaker, Jim Stallings, who is currently a managing partner of PS27 Ventures, a private investment company focused on innovations in the expanding wellness and sustainable living market. He has held top leadership roles in several Fortune 25 companies and been involved in numerous startups. He serves on the boards of Fidelity National Information Services Corporation, Seaside National Bank and Trust Company, and the World Affairs Council of Florida. His specialties include strategy development, sales & marketing, technology, intellectual property, and leadership development.


Having presented to the PDA community in the past, Jim knew that he was speaking to a group of individuals who come from a historically dated industry, but are eager to learn trends in technology to improve their business functions. The common thread of his speech: the necessity for leaders to embrace technological advances and encourage their teams to explore the same open-minded approach to future technologies. Coming from a forward-thinking venture firm, Jim was the perfect person to deliver this message.


The following days predominantly focused on bringing our suppliers and members together to discover new ways to work together, as well as additional focused break-outs. On Wednesday afternoon, over 40 of our attendees took a break from the meeting rooms to participate in our annual charity golf tournament, held at The National Golf Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee.


All of the money that was raised during the Welcome Reception raffle and the charity golf tournament went to Bikers Against Child Abuse, a non-profit organization whose members stand together to fight back against child abuse. The B.A.C.A. mission statement reads:

Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (B.A.C.A.) exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.


On the final evening of the meeting, all attendees and family members came together in the ballroom for an awards dinner. After plates were filled, CEO George Strobel introduced B.A.C.A., who was represented by 5 of their members from the Georgia chapter, one of whom followed George with an eye-opening presentation about the day-to-day realities of child abuse, and the lengths that B.A.C.A. will take to end such terrors.  B.A.C.A. also brought one of their B.A.C.A. Bears which was auctioned at the end of the evening; Kirk Fischer, from Shorr Packaging, outbid everyone else to even further support our charity. Stay tuned for more about the Bear’s journey!


Following the B.A.C.A. presentation, George returned to the mic to close the evening with the 2017 awards:

Member of the Year: Hughes Enterprises

Supplier of the Year: Laminations

Champion of the Year: Bobby Smith, IPC

2017 President’s Award: Ken Wong, Crownhill Packaging


As expected, the week was filled with an enthusiasm for future growth in the PDA community and endless knowledge-sharing.

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