Members of the Independent Carton Group (ICG) came together last week for a membership meeting that offered copious opportunities for education and camaraderie. The group, comprised of independently owned and operated carton manufacturers, meets three times annually for its general membership meetings, and members rotate hosting.
Colbert Packaging hosted the August meeting at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, WI. The first evening, members boarded the Lady of the Lake for a lively sunset dinner cruise. Dinner the second evening was held at the resort in a room overlooking spectacular grounds that were once home to the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel, a luxury escape for Midwest travelers.
The venue was selected in part for its proximity to two Colbert facilities. ICG members were bussed to Colbert headquarters and offset folding carton plant in Lake Forest, IL., and then to the company’s new flexographic printing facility in Kenosha, where they were greeted with a catered lunch. Members also enjoyed a lunchtime tour of the adjacent Gateway Classic Cars showroom.
Those who arrived in Lake Geneva early and departed late were given the option to golf on one or both of Grand Geneva’s two championship golf courses. Some ICG members and suppliers elected to extend their stay and bring family members, as the venue – with its golf courses, spa and fitness center, pools, water park, arcade and more – is a treat for business travelers and vacationers alike.
The general membership meeting, during which time ICG members gather to discuss the business and buying aspects of the group, featured notable guest speakers from ICG supplier companies.
- WestRock CEO Steve Voorhees got the morning underway with a presentation on the value of paperboard packaging as a branding vehicle. He spoke of his admiration for family-run businesses like many of those in the ICG, and of WestRock’s continued commitment to all ICG members. Voorhees was joined at the meeting by WestRock senior vice president of sales for North American paperboard Kevin Sullivan and sales manager Roberto Balaguer.
- Rickard Österlindh, president, Iggesund Americas, thanked the ICG for the opportunity to be a supplier to its members. Iggesund is the ICG’s newest supplier, but likely the oldest company on the supplier roster. (It was established in Sweden in 1685.) Österlindh and regional sales manager Paul Weibel introduced the group to Iggesund’s Invercote brand.
- Clearwater Paper’s Richard Dreshfield, vice president of sales and marketing, and Randy Stewart, director of converting solutions, led a discussion about their onsite services aimed at helping carton manufacturers optimize operations and drive innovation. Dreshfield and Stewart were joined by sales director Robbin Rodgers and sales manager Amy Redden.
“The actual ‘meeting’ takes place during one morning of what is typically a three-day event. And while it’s a key piece of members’ time together – especially because we have guest speakers and important topics to discuss – these events are always so much more than just a meeting,” says Jay Willie, executive director of the ICG. “We have seen some incredible places and we’ve done some fun things as a group, thanks to our member hosts who help put these events together.”
In recent years, members have enjoyed a private oceanfront bonfire in Huntington Beach; tours of ballparks, a winery, historic Philadelphia and the University of Norte Dame athletic arenas; cruises on the Chicago River, Lake Coeur d’Alene and Lake Geneva; and golf courses in several states.
ICG members will return to Wisconsin later this year for a meeting hosted by one of the newest additions to the group, Wausau Container, who has arranged for fellow members to participate in a fun event that involves learning the sport of curling. In 2018, members will come together to celebrate the ICG’s 35th anniversary, with one of its founding members, Zumbiel Packaging of Hebron, Ky., hosting; then break out passports to visit first-time meeting host Jones Packaging in London, Ontario; and finally, finish the commemorative year at Accurate Box in Paterson, NJ.