From April 23-25, some 700 industry leaders from 300 companies are expected to attend the ASC Annual Spring Convention and Expo in Miami. The three-day event will include concurrent technical sessions focusing on business development and market trends, regulations, processing, and new/advanced technology applications. In addition, short courses and several networking opportunities are packed into the event, including an Expo with more than 100 exhibitors.

Keynote Speakers

Talent Acquisition

Jim Larranaga

Tuesday, April 24, begins with Jim Larranaga, head men’s basketball coach at the University of Miami, presenting “The Art of Retaining, Developing and Recruiting Talent.” Larranaga will share his tried-and-true methods for recruiting players and assistant coaches, as well as strategies for creating an environment that keeps them on the job. Attendees will learn how to develop a program that will elevate their organization’s performance to the highest level; where to find talented employees; and how to build a winning, dedicated staff.

His presentation will outline the eight Cs: character, competitiveness, competence, consistency, cohesiveness, commitment, communication and confidence. According to Larranaga, these characteristics are the foundation for selecting a winning staff and team, as well as developing a championship-caliber program.

Sustainable Packaging

Michael O. Okoroafor

From 7:30-9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 25, Michael O. Okoroafor, vice president, Global Sustainability and Packaging Innovation, McCormick & Co. Inc., will present “Industry Outlook: Key Insights Driving the Future of Food Packaging.”

With a Ph.D. in organic polymer chemistry from Michigan State University and considerable experience at Coca-Cola and H.J. Heinz Co. before joining McCormick in 2015, Okoroafor knows there’s more to packaging adhesives than just bonding, especially with flexible packaging.

According to Okoroafor, because flexible packaging is not single layer, we need to reconsider what we think of as adhesives. Not only do they provide bond strength, but “adhesive could be something that provides adhesion that you put in before bonding the next layer. I think in the future there will be significant demand to have polymer networks that will bring two disparate plastic materials together.”

Connected packaging and sustainability are also important characteristics of packaging, both now and in the future. This packaging, a.k.a. “smart packaging,” that incorporates digital technology will increase in importance and demand.

In addition, packaging must be truly sustainable. “Up until now, there has been this mindset of ‘make, use, dispose,’” says Okoroafor. “This won’t work in the future; instead, the new mindset should be ‘make, use, reuse.’”

Corporate Growth

Chuck Paul

Closing presentation speaker Chuck Paul, vice president of technology, at Henkel Corp., will give a talk entitled “Henkel Ventures―Our New Path to Business Growth.”

In November 2016, Henkel announced plans to step up its corporate venture capital activities. Paul says Henkel is committed to investing a total of up to $150 million in startups with specific digital or technological expertise.

“At Adhesive Technologies, we clustered our innovation portfolio into three horizons,” he says. “The first horizon is primarily renovating our existing technology and product portfolio constantly and growing organically. In Horizon 2, we are developing new technologies in our research team and new growth platforms through new business development. Horizon 3 is then approaching totally new technologies, applications and business models through our venture capital activities.

“The company’s ‘deal flow’ of startup companies comes from many sources:  universities, start-up accelerators we sponsor such as MassChallenge in Boston, startup forums we attend, the two venture funds we are partnered with—Emerald and Pangaea, and through recommendations from the business groups,” he says. “Our venture fund investments provide the bulk of our deal flow currently.”

Paul says that, while Henkel usually invests in startups that the company could imagine acquiring if the startup succeeds, this isn’t always the case. “Startups could provide new technology or businesses that help our existing businesses grow,” he explains. “An example is 3D printing, which can use many of our existing materials, with some modification, for producing and finishing parts.”

According to Paul, companies considering investing in a startup need to be aware of the different mindset required. “Startup investing is much riskier and more about taking an inside position in potential new markets, not ROI on the particular investment,” he says. “Such thinking is not the norm in big, established companies. Leaders must fully understand and buy in to the venture process.”


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