At this year’s annual meeting, over 170 members of the PDA community came together to celebrate 15 years of PDA.
Packaging Distributors of America’s 15th annual meeting took place at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, FL, on Sunday June 13th to Wednesday June 16th. In light of last year’s annual meeting being canceled, there was an overwhelming excitement as the group reunited; the connection in the group was stronger than ever. Everyone in attendance – our member distributors and preferred suppliers – were eager to last 2 years, welcome new members and suppliers, raise money for charity, and celebrate achievements.
The Welcome Reception kicked off on Sunday evening, as the community gathered for a hand-crafted meal and special announcements from PDA president, George Strobel. George introduced visitors and new members of the group and thanked the event sponsors: ID Images, Combi, Signode, VersaPak, Berry Global, and StretchTape.
Following the welcome announcements, George announced the winners of the raffle drawing. Every year PDA has a raffle drawing to benefit a local charity or a charity in need. The raffle winners received gift cards and other prizes but the real prize is the chance to give back. The money raised from this year’s raffle went to The Gary Sinise Foundation.
Beyond the raffle, throughout the week there were more opportunities for people to participate in activities and auctions that raised money for the foundation. The mission of The Gary Sinise foundation is to “serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.”
On Monday, the general session began with a few words from PDA’s president, George Strobel. George welcomed PDA’s newest members, Korpack and OPC Direct, to their first official PDA annual meeting; and introduced PDA’s first guest. Joe Everson is a fantastic artist and is known for his viral videos of singing the National Anthem while painting a live-action artwork. He inspired the group as he sang the National Anthem and painted the Statue of Liberty. The painting was auctioned off to benefit The Gary Sinise foundation.
After Joe’s performance, PDA’s seceding chairman of the board, Ken Wong (Crownhill Packaging), inspired the group and passed the torch to PDA’s new chairman, Nick Mihacevich (M-Line). Nick gave the group hope for a productive and synchronistic week to come.
Following the opening comments, PDA’s various committees presented updates on projects that are taking place in PDA. Todd Bills, from ShipBob, was next to take the stage; he discussed the evolution of ShipBob and how they are helping companies grow by providing reliable fulfillment services, warehouses, and technology.
Then, George Strobel welcomed our 2021 keynote guest speaker, Kim Lear, from Inlay Insights, who was back to captivate the audience for a second time. Kim is a researcher at heart, and she explore how emerging trends impact the future of our workforce and marketplace. Through her thought-provoking speech she informed the audience about how Covid-19 will shape the future.
On Tuesday afternoon, over 40 of our members and suppliers took a break from conference rooms to participate in our annual charity golf tournament, held at The Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Sarasota. The money raised during the golf tournament also went to the Gary Sinise foundation.
On the final evening of the meeting, all attendees and family members came together for an awards dinner. The circus theme of the night was an exciting way to celebrate 15 years of PDA. Our president, George Strobel, introduced our annual charity contribution, and the 2021 award winners.
Member of the Year: All of The Members
After a tough year, George thanked all of the members for showing up and their fullest capacity and persevering every day.
Supplier of the Year: Versa-Pak
Jeff Knapke, CEO of Versa-Pak, was surprised and humbled to be selected as this year’s winner.
Champion of the Year: Robin Goheen, Rusco
George Strobel thanked Robin for showing up and doing everything she can to help advance PDA.
2021 President’s Award: Harry McDonald, Stretchtape
George thanked Harry for going the extra mile and Harry took a moment to show his appreciation and belief in the group.
As with all PDA meetings, this year’s reunion was filled with an enthusiasm for the continued growth of Packaging Distributors of America.