CWPCA Annual General Meeting: The future is now!

May 1, 2016

Scott Geffros

Sunday May 15, 2016. Woodbine Racetrack, 1:30 pm….as the #5 horse crosses the finish line, laughter and high fives erupt as one of our delegates has luckily picked a winner…CWPCA AGM 2016 has begun. 

On May 15/16 CWPCA members were treated to one of the best events in recent history. Over 60 delegates from across the country converged on Toronto to participate in a well rounded mix of business and social activities. First up, delegates were treated to a day at the races, complete with a fabulous lunch, and for the adventurous, maybe a little time at the slot machines. Sunday made way into Monday, and delegates reconvened at the Westin Bristol hotel for the business portion of the event and the speaker program.

The meeting began with a welcome from CWPCA General Manager Brian Isard, who discussed the marketing plan and unveiled the new CWPCA logo, seen here. 

 

This was followed by a report on the year in review by President Ryan Scobie. The President’s report was a special one this year as it was announced that, as opposed to many other associations, the CWPCA experienced membership growth in 2015, and is expected to continue on that trend in 2016. This serves as a testament to the value the CWPCA provides to its members. Additionally, for the first time ever, the CWPCA presented its members with an annual report, detailing the work that is done behind the scenes. The report covers not only the year in review but also the year in numbers. The annual report will be circulated amongst all members and we do hope that everyone will find it not only informative, but demonstrative as to the efforts that the association takes on behalf of its members.

Following the opening remarks, the meeting quickly moved into the business session which was highlighted by the unanimous acceptance of by law revisions aimed at broadening the membership base, and the election of the Board of Directors.

2015 saw the dawn of a new and exciting initiative: Nature’s Packaging. In case you have not heard of it, this is a joint sustainability initiative undertaken by the CWPCA, NWPCA and the WPA and it is the recipient of rave reviews from industry professionals across the continent. CWPCA member volunteers are well represented in the working groups, and we were fortunate enough to have Rob Anderson (St Boniface Pallet), Mark Patrick Tame (Herwood, Inc.), Dave Uppal (Pioneer Pallet), and Jeff Doman (CHEP) join together to share not only the purpose of Nature’s Packaging, but to demonstrate the tools available to members and to explain how this initiative stands to benefit the wood packaging industry. We encourage all of our members to learn all they can about Nature’s Packaging and utilize the tools available to them. CWPCA staff and committee volunteers are always available to discuss this “first ever” initiative and welcome your inquiry.

Delegates were then treated to an informative presentation by Shawn Casemore which provided insight on how to empower employees and “Conquer the Talent Gap.” Judging by the audience reactions, this presentation hit home with many in attendance. Shawn’s approach to solidifying and bolstering a company’s workforce resonated with the business owners and managers in the crowd.

Shawn was immediately followed by Brent McClendon of the NWPCA who was on hand to give his view from south of the border. Brent was quick to key in on the growing alignment of our respective associations, and how a North American perspective is critical to ensuring that efforts such as Natures Packaging bear the most fruit possible. Brent’s perspective of the growing synergies between the three major North American associations fortified the need to continue to join forces, and also to encourage those business owners who have not yet become members of these groups to do so. Brent detailed association initiatives like Nature’s Packaging, the defeat of U.S. State house bills aimed at eliminating wood packaging from government supply chains, and the industry stance on pending fire code regulations as the main issues that unite all of us that are involved in the wood packaging industry in North America. 

Finally, after a quick lunch and a chance to visit the exhibitors who were on hand to promote their products, delegates boarded a bus and were brought to Canadian Tire’s AJ Billes Distribution Center for a tour which allowed insight into how one of Canada’s leading retailers moves their products amongst their stores. The level of automation was astounding and delegates commented favourably about what they had seen. For some, seeing the pallet’s role in modern distribution and warehousing was the key takeaway while others commented on the best practices and policies in place to ensure the well being of the employees. It is doubtful that anyone came away from the tour disappointed, and the staff at the AJ Billes Distribution Center should be congratulated on their top notch tour.

We wish to thank all of those members in attendance, and especially the CWPCA Board of Directors and volunteers without whom we would cease to function. The CWPCA exists to serve its members and we encourage all members to participate as much as they can in order to enhance the advancement of the wood packaging industry. We look forward to our next events, starting with our annual golf tournament and then the Western Focus Meeting. Details will follow on each, and we hope to see as many of you as possible out to support your association and your industry at these events.

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