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Every January, Packaging Distributors of America’s Members and Suppliers come together to celebrate success from the previous year and review initiatives for the upcoming year. The 2018 Annual Planning Meeting took place on January 14-16th at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, Florida.


The meeting kicked off on Sunday with a welcome reception where our attendees reconnected on business and family updates and strategized with each other on what they want to accomplish at this year’s meeting.

The first morning of the planning meeting was dedicated to reviewing and planning, as well as educating. PDA President, George Strobel, officially welcomed the group and Derek Murdock, Chairman of the Board, followed George with highlights from the Member survey and an encouraging statement about the upcoming year.

Strobel continued with highlights from 2017, sharing that the combined revenue in the Membership base hit $1.8 billion last year, a pinnacle moment for PDA. Additional updates shared by George included:
• PDA grew to 25 Members and 35 Suppliers across North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean
• GTG Packaging joined as a new Member
• Sigma Stretch Films joined as a new Supplier
• The Supplier Council was reinstated and provided priorities for 2018
• New programs and educational options were introduced

The morning presentation continued with a review of our branding and digital marketing in 2017 and scope of marketing for 2018, as well as programs, educational opportunities, and initiatives that are available to the PDA Member and Supplier base.

Jerry Land, JP Land Associates, took the stage and shared issues and successes with sales recruitment. He presented a new approach to recruiting sales reps and how to overcome common challenges that hiring managers face. Following Jerry, a recruitment panel, consisting of Neal Magaziner, Hughes Enterprises, John Fisher, Combi, Kirk Fischer, Shorr Packaging, Kevin Logan, Pacific Packaging, and Tim Minarik, ID Images, provided insights on how they handle recruitment issues within their own organizations.

The Supplier Council recommended a Member Survey to better understand the current relationship and where there will be new business opportunities. Members will be receiving the survey in February from selected Suppliers and will need to be completed in as much detail as possible and returned by the end of March. Look for these surveys to arrive shortly.

The afternoon was dedicated to Member and Supplier break outs, identifying 2018 priorities, and best practices. Following the meeting, Sharp Packaging Systems by Pregis hosted a dinner for all attendees at the Ritz Carlton Beach Club on Lido Key.

On Tuesday morning, George introduced 4 Champions from various Member organizations to talk about the importance of having a PDA Champion. A Champion is an “ambassador” for PDA and provides a support role to PDA in their own companies. This panel shared how they, and their companies, have benefitted from this relationship and the value the Champion brings. Champions on the panel were: Jack Andersen, Flexpak, Amy Packer, Hughes Enterprises, Barry Willis, Heritage Solutions, and Mike Cancilla, Crownhill Packaging.

Jack Uhl from Yaskawa – Motoman followed with an exciting presentation on robotics in the packaging arena and how to work with a robotics firm. A panel discussion including Marc Collis and Todd Maxwell, RMH Systems and Chip Reavley, Shorr Packaging brought real-world ideas and issues to the team. The afternoon concluded with an open discussion and final thoughts on the upcoming year.

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