Joining a new organization can be a daunting task. I think sometimes it harkens back to starting a school year at a new school somewhere around junior high. New classes, new teachers, new students and, please don’t let me sit at the wrong lunch table?!
Associations can be confusing with all of their boards, committees and divisions. Coming in blind, how is anyone supposed to know where to go and what to do? Even here at FPI, where we as staff think all the parts move relatively easily, it can still be confusing, especially for new members. We don’t want you feeling lost.
You may be asking, am I even a member? If your company is a member of FPI, that means you are. We have corporate memberships here at FPI. A company joins the association. As long as your company is a member (and you still work for that company), you belong to the club.
So how does FPI work?
Being over eighty years old, FPI has had lots of time to develop its various parts. At the top, we have a Board of Directors. Each converter and supplier member company designates one representative to serve on the Board. The Board of Directors approves all of our budgets, policies and positions. Our Executive Committee is the group that works on the details of the items approved by the Board of Directors. The Executive Committee includes a Chair, a Vice Chair and a Past Chair, in addition to a number of at large members. To become a member of the Executive Committee, one must be elected to the position. The nomination and election process takes place each fall, prior to the FPI Fall Meeting.
In addition to those two governance related bodies, we have also had a number of topic specific committees over the years at FPI to work in areas such as communications, public affairs and technical. In fact, FPI used to host “Committee Days” several times a year, when members would fly in to meet with their various committees! FPI still has an active Technical Committee that will from time to time host an in person meeting, but to save member time and money, we have taken to primarily conference call and email based committee work. Any FPI member has been welcomed to join in the work of these committees. We routinely put out calls for volunteers when subject related projects come up. If you have an interest, we want your help!
Historically, FPI has absorbed a number of other smaller associations. Think of it like a merger or acquisition. A few of these groups morphed into our divisions. We currently have three divisions that remain active: The Supplier Division, the Egg Packaging Division and the Food Packaging Trays Division. These meet once a year at FPI’s Fall Meeting and are open for anyone considered an FPI supplier (either materials or machinery) or manufacturer of egg packaging or meat trays, respectively. Projects of these divisions are driven by member request. For example the Trays Division offers a quarterly statistics program for the members.
FPI from time to time has had separately funded special interest groups. The Paper Recovery Alliance and the Plastics Recovery Group would be the best current examples of these. Members of these groups are FPI Members who commit funds in addition to their FPI dues to work on special interest projects.
Do you want to learn more? We’re hosting a webinar Wednesday afternoon, April 23 at 2:00 p.m. eastern time to talk about the structure of FPI for our new members and how to get involved. In fact, any member, new or old of FPI is welcome to attend. We’ll also be talking about our spring meeting being held next week in Carlsbad, California, so if you’re attending you’ll have all the inside information.
I’ll send out a reminder on the morning of our webinar to all of our members – it will have the link to the webinar. Want to make sure you’re on the list? Drop me an email.