Chairman’s Corner December Report


Paul Irvine, CEO of Plexpack Corp and the Chairman of PMMI’s Board of Directors

I was a Fraternity president in 1981. A Fiji “legacy” of my father who was the master of ceremonies for their Toronto based “grand meeting” that year (the 146th annual “ecclesia”). In his opening remark to a crowd of about 1500 somewhat inebriated young men, he loudly told the assembly that the United States was the greatest country on earth. As you might imagine, there was surprised silence from the 300 Canadians in the crowd. There was a smattering of cheers from the 1200 odd Americans (mostly from the Southern-based chapters). His best friend—a man he knew for 30 years—waited for the noise to die down and then booed him loudly. Taking the exact time required for his pause to move from dramatic to awkward, Dad then went on to say that protégées of his graduated from Harvard and Wharton before careers at Bain and Boston Consulting. In fact, when he was younger, he had published strategy papers in the States and was the president of a Los Angeles-based leather coat company that had made all the Air Force flight jackets in the ‘70s. The upshot to that crowd of young, bright, ambitious men was that if you were hoping to have a great career with the best experiences, learning and pay, the U.S. was the place. It was the land of opportunity and no one in that crowd, in fact, no one period, could argue that back then.

Fast forward three decades, and we are told opportunity like that no longer exists. They say we live in a world of vested interests and entitlements. But it is entirely accurate? I don’t think so. Here I am, the product of globalism, finishing my stint at the top of the best association in the world. I would argue that PMMI offers a fantastic opportunity to those with the same ambitions.

Why did I get involved? I needed information, contacts and ideas—the very context for my future career and ambitions. PMMI provided that. I had said off the cuff in my final speech as Chairman that this is “The Association of Opportunity in the Land of Opportunity.”

And it is.

For those reading this who are young, make the most of it. It is extremely rare, almost non-existent, that such precious resources are offered so freely and without a “price.” The rest of the world may be sorted, but PMMI provides a land of diverse opportunity. Newly defined education and workforce development resources, job fairs, world-class Business Intelligence and Global Market research, fantastic conferences, a thriving Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network and unparalleled tradeshows. The upshot? Friends and colleagues sharing the best ideas in an association and industry that enjoys sustained growth. So be clear reader: it doesn’t get any better. PMMI offers the fullest of experiences. So take advantage of the opportunity it provides as I have. Learn, and you’ll grow as this association has.

I’d be remiss without shouting out some examples. During my tenure we have had record attendance at our member meetings (so I know many of you do see the real value of PMMI), we reaffirmed our position as the global resource for the packaging and processing supply chain by updating our by-laws and growing our membership. That increasingly diverse group currently sits above 800 and continues to grow, setting new records every time another company joins our roll. The PACK EXPO portfolio of Trade Shows reached new heights with PACK EXPO International 2016, EXPO PACK México 2016, EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2017 and PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2017 all serving as the largest events in each’s illustrious history. With the addition of ProFood Tech and PACK EXPO East, PMMI tradeshows collectively convened the most substantial packaging and processing events in the world in 2016 and North America in 2017. The PMMI Media Group launched ProFood World to meet the needs of our expanding audience and in 2018 will relaunch OEM magazine to serve as the Official Publication of PMMI.

I could go on. It’s the spectacular staff headed by Chuck Yuska and soon Jim Pittas that made PMMI’s heady accomplishments during my tenure possible. I could tell you endless stories about what I have learned, experienced and felt. But I hear the music trying to play me off the stage. Get involved, and you’ll reap a thousand rewards.

It’s been my honor and privilege to serve as Chairman of PMMI. I leave you in excellent hands with my incoming successor Mark Anderson, president and CEO of Pro Mach. Under his guidance, many more great accomplishments lie ahead.

Paul Irvine
Chairman of PMMI’s board of directors and CEO of Plexpack