Getting Personal With Donald R. Droppo Sr.

Experience Speaks

Curtis is celebrating 160 years in the folding carton business. Why has it been so successful for so long?
Obviously people are key, but it’s been my impression that this company always looked to do things right. They’ve always had a good reputation for quality, service, and innovation. I believe they were the first folding company in North America to put in a laser die system, for example.

How long have you been connected with it?
I purchased it 16 years ago in an LBO. Previously, I was a partner at the KPMB CPA international firm.

At a Glance
Curtis Packaging Corp.
44 Berkshire Rd.
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
curtispackaging.com
Founded in 1845
160 Employees
Specialization: High-End Custom Folding Cartons

What is your key to retaining good people?
We have a good, friendly work environment. When I took over, I put in air conditioning. Now I walk around and ask people if they need a sweater in the summer! They had a run-of-the-mill cafeteria, but I redid it as “The Curtis Diner.” We have booths, a counter with stools, plastic laminate tops, and so on. I try to make this a comfortable place to work.

How do you handle difficult customers?
I’ve really never had one. I mean, our customers bring us a lot of challenges. But we do business with good people. We treat them professionally and we get that in return. Clearly, doing the jobs right virtually all the time helps.

Has your management style changed over the years?
I’ve become more oriented to the big picture and looking down the road to make sure we’re going to the right place.

Any hobbies?
I love designing and creating. I’m studying architecture, and I designed all of the improvements to the company since I came.

How does it feel owning a company that is 160 years old?
It’s like a sense of stewardship. This is my turn to add my mark, my vision. It’s been here for many, many generations. My goal is to not screw it up.



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