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Getting Personal With Larry Chatzkel

Experience Speaks

How did you get into the converting business?
I started loading trucks in the box factory as soon as I was legally permitted to work around machinery—about 12 years old.

Describe your management style.
Consensus building. I have the final say in significant decisions affecting the company, but I always keep an open mind and try to get all managers and employees involved.

What is the key to retaining good employees?
Fair compensation is an essential ingredient but of equal importance is the opportunity to learn and grow in your job. Our greatest satisfaction is in finding motivated employees and helping them develop their skills so they can advance in their careers.

What is the biggest threat to the converting industry right now?
The main threat is our failure to adapt to the global economy. It is not going away, and we have to continue to reinvent our companies by providing goods and services that offshore companies cannot.

How do you handle a difficult customer?
I try to filter out the personality of the customer to discover the nature of their business problem and then try to solve it.

What keeps you up at night with regard to your business?
We strive to be a cutting-edge company, and I am always trying to anticipate the next development.

At a Glance
Hanover Packaging
8 Barnhart Dr.
Haover, PA 17331
hanoverpackaging.com
Founded in 1925
75 employees
Set-up boxes, folding cartons, and contract packaging services

What is the biggest mistake you made and how did you fix it?
In retrospect I probably could have taken more risks to grow faster, but I still believe that perseverance and going slow and steady will win the race.

What’s the worst advice you ever got?
Advice I didn’t take: “Just be a distributor. It’s too hard to be a manufacturer.” This was when we first had to contend with offshore competition in the ’90s. The challenge just made us stronger, and I continue to enjoy the creativity and challenge of making things.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in this business?
The same advice I would give to anyone starting out anywhere: Work in a job that will be satisfying. We all have to earn a living, but the days are very long if you dislike what you do.

Any hobbies?
I enjoy sailing for much the same reason I enjoy business. First, you never know what challenges will await you on any given day. It challenges you both physically and mentally. You may have to change course and equipment may break, but if you plan well and have a good crew, you will be okay.



 

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