Experience Speaks: Tony Petrelli

  • President of CardPak Inc.
  • Management style | Passionate and enthusiastic
  • Motto | Do more with less until you can do everything with nothing.
  • What is the biggest mistake you made and how did you fix it? I once asked a key executive with PepsiCo if he would like a “Coke” to drink. From that day forward, I made sure the products of every customer who visited our facilities were served.

  • What do you enjoy most about your job? The “batting average” of success in our industry is pretty low. To hit a “home run” requires a good amount of invested time. However, landing that key prospect after working sometimes years is one of the most incredible highs I have ever experienced.

  • What is the best advice you ever got? Give credit to those who help you reach your own conclusions. Those to whom you report will see this as a true sign of self-confidence, teamwork, and leadership.

  • What keeps you up at night? Making sure that each day our employees leave their jobs safe and healthy.

  • How did you get into the converting business? I was planning to work with an advertising firm after college, but during a holiday break, I met a sales rep with the former Container Corp. of America (now Graphic Packaging) and was invited to visit their plant. After watching huge gravure and offset presses running cartons for top consumer brands, I was hooked.

  • What is the key to growing a business in a bad economy? Regardless of economic conditions, companies that are the most successful are those that continually develop new products and revenue streams. In today's world, if you are not “knee deep” in the sustainability movement, you will not be in business much longer.

  • Do you have a personal hero? As a parent, I truly understand the hard work and sacrifices my parents endured for my siblings and me. I can never state in words how much that means to me, even though I try to tell them as often as I can.

  • What makes you proud? CardPak was suffering from a declining market, and I was able to come in a year and a half ago, hire my own management team, and develop a turnaround strategy for success with complete board approval. Although we are currently profitable for the first time in almost a decade, I am most proud of this team and the accelerated path we were able to take to get this done. I am proud of the people far more than the results, although the bank is certainly proud of the results.

  • What sustainability efforts has your company made? We are ISO 14001: 2004 certified for Environmental Management Systems. We developed an environmental policy that directs our business strategy. All our revenue growth has been in the development of paperboard products that replace plastic clamshells. This is not only the future of our company but the future of our planet.

About CardPak Inc.

  • 29601 Solon Rd., Solon, OH 44139; www.cardpak.com
  • Founded 1965; 1 plant; 125 employees
  • Specialty | Carded packaging and specialty paperboard converting, including PakSeal heat seal coating and the ClubPak and SustainPak EcoLogical Line of Packaging

What sustainability efforts has your company made? Share your perspective. Write to yolanda.simonsis@penton.com.


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