Yesterday, I celebrated 16 years at FPI. To be honest with you, I never expected to be here that long. I had already been bitten by the foodservice packaging bug, having worked with the European Food Service & Packaging Association (EFPA) – now known as Pack2Go Europe – prior to joining FPI. I thought I would work at FPI for a few years then join the corporate side of the industry. It turns out the universe had other plans for me, and I am thankful for those plans every day.
The good part about being with an organization for as long as I have is that you get to experience lots of highs and lows (and learn from them). Branching out and having biennial meetings with our European counterparts; celebrating innovation through our packaging awards competition; having a better pulse on the industry through the launch of our Executive Briefs publication, State of the Industry Survey and Trends Report; expanding membership to include foodservice operators and distributors (as well as a growing membership base, overall); and more recently, our efforts to increase the recovery of foodservice packaging and extend our reach into social media. All this has taken place in the last 16 years.
At the same time, there have been some lows: reducing staff due to budget cuts; seeing increasing attacks on our products from ill-informed external audiences; saying good bye to long-time members and colleagues when they retire; and losing a few long-time supporters of FPI to illness. [I’m glad my “highs” list is longer than the “lows.”]
I have seen lots of changes at FPI in the last 16 years – an evolving industry and products lines, new challenges and opportunities facing the industry and its association, different offices and staff members. Who knows what’s on the horizon, but after what I’ve seen the last 16 years, I know we’re ready for it (and already proactively preparing for it).
I am thankful for mentors and supporters like John Burke and Joe Bow (former FPI presidents), without whom I would not be here 16 years later. They taught me the importance of honesty, compassion, diplomacy, transparency, perseverance and communications. We each have our own styles and strengths, but our dedication to FPI and its members was, and continues to be, second to none.
I love what I do and with whom I work. I love the industry I work for, and the companies and individuals involved. I love that together we make a strong, united FPI family. I love that I feel like we are making a difference and that FPI is appreciated by its members. And, I love that we are being recognized by others for our hard work.
This blog post was perhaps more personal than most, but hey, that’s the author’s prerogative, right? And, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, perhaps it’s a good time to share my love affair with FPI and the foodservice packaging industry. I hope I have the privilege to continue that love affair for many more years to come.
Posted By Lynn M. Dyer (President) | 2/11/2014 11:47:06 AM