In each issue, FlexPack VOICE® hosts a question-and-answer segment with an industry leader. Here, we talk to Evan Arnold, president of Glenroy, Inc.
Arnold studied packaging engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, graduating in 2009. “When I was looking for a career after high school, I knew I wanted to be involved in manufacturing and get my hands dirty,” says Arnold, who is a member of the FPA board of directors. “While touring the school, the lab and testing facilities really captivated me. That experience led to a fantastic internship at Molson Coors Brewing, where I gained a deep understanding of the critical role packaging plays in a product’s success.”
After college, his goal was to join the flexible packaging industry, which he says was experiencing tremendous innovation.
“I aspired to be part of this transformative process,” he says. “I began my journey at Glenroy as a packaging engineer, leading innovation and the development of new film structures to safeguard our customers’ products. Glenroy provides the opportunity to collaborate with diverse customers across various markets who trust us to handle their packaging needs, a responsibility we take very seriously.”
During his 14 years at Glenroy, he has taken on leadership roles “and wholeheartedly embraced the chance to bring people together, allowing them to accomplish remarkable things both professionally and personally,” says Arnold, who was named president of the Wisconsin-based family-owned company this summer.
FLEXPACK VOICE®: What do you see as the major challenges facing the industry in 2023?
EVAN ARNOLD: We are actively working to spread the word about the innovations happening in our field. Our investment in research and development for sustainable products is substantial, and we excel at internal communication. However, it’s essential for us to extend our reach beyond our organization and share with the world how flexible packaging can be the most sustainable choice and the reasons behind it. As an industry, we are making significant strides in utilizing post-life packaging. I am proud to be a part of this industry, but we must find effective ways to spread this information and raise awareness about our efforts.
FPV: Sustainability often comes up when answering that question. Thoughts?
EA: The industry is actively involved in developing recyclable and reusable packaging, but we must persist in spreading the message about it. While it may be well-known within the packaging industry, we need to find creative approaches to tell this story to a wider audience. At Glenroy, we explore various avenues to broadcast this information and consider ourselves educators to our customers. We have discovered innovative ways to share this narrative through LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Social media serves as an excellent platform to educate our customers and other interested parties.
FPV: Issues with supply chains and raw materials are sometimes brought up, too, especially shortages for aluminum. Thoughts on those concerns?
EA: We face a significant challenge concerning aluminum foil in the country. The United States simply doesn’t produce enough of it. However, we use aluminum when necessary to ensure proper protection for our customers’ products. There will always be cases where foil is required, and we must find solutions to either offer a sufficient barrier or seek investment opportunities to manufacture foil within the United States.
FPV: Generally, how do you see government regulations as they pertain to the industry?
EA: In general, I am disappointed that government regulation is necessary to define and promote recyclability and innovation. At times, it seems like the regulations focus more on banning plastic rather than encouraging better ways to reuse it. I believe federal investments should be directed toward recycling infrastructure to standardize collection sites. While the industry can innovate and develop recyclable packages, it won’t yield the desired results if consumers are confused about recycling processes. Clear guidance and education are crucial to gaining the traction needed for sustainable practices.
FPV: What is your company doing to encourage recruitment and retention?
EA: We make a concerted effort to inform the community about our work and our approach. At Glenroy, we take immense pride in fostering a fantastic culture of teamwork and collaboration, and we want prospective employees to experience and recognize this. To increase our visibility and convey the uniqueness of working at Glenroy, we actively participate in local initiatives and support community efforts. Our focus is on maintaining a safe, innovative, and collaborative environment, and we are dedicated to promoting these values throughout our community.
FPV: What would you tell someone who is thinking about a career in the industry if they were to ask for your advice?
EA: This is a fantastic industry that offers individuals the opportunity to discover their passion. There are numerous avenues to explore, but it’s important to note that the industry is evolving rapidly. The packaging and films we use today will undoubtedly undergo significant changes in the years ahead. So, get ready and stay ready to learn because it will be a wild ride.
FPV: Is there a particular experience that stands out in your career, good or bad or both?
EA: There isn’t one specific experience that stands out, but as a leader, seeing people discover their passion is always fulfilling. As a leader, your role involves facilitating the professional and personal growth of individuals. Observing them find their path will consistently be the most rewarding experience.
FPV: Who was your mentor?
EA: One mentor, in particular, has truly stood out for me. This person demonstrated what it truly means to be a leader and the inherent challenges that accompany leadership. Additionally, she taught me the valuable lesson of finding one’s passion and persevering despite obstacles. As a leader in her industry, she drove innovation and maintained an unwavering passion for her work. Undoubtedly, there will be difficult days and challenges, but maintaining focus on the bigger picture empowers you to drive forward and find your path.