While we are in the midst of a heat wave and definitely sitting squarely in the months of summer, it is the time when we at FPI start thinking about the upcoming industry events of the fall. We are fortunate in the foodservice packaging industry and also in the association business to have so many of our events plotted well in advance. Many of us are already planning calendar items for 2017 – really!
FPI, of course, holds its own meetings twice a year, and we are already working on our program for the fall meeting in St. Louis. In addition to our own meetings, Lynn and I spend time doing outreach - participating in events that allow us to showcase the good work FPI is doing. For instance, the Resource Recycling Conference is coming up at the end of September. In addition to some of FPI’s members and a handful of our allied associations, the attendees and exhibitors’ lists are comprised of many in the municipal recycling world. This affords us the great opportunity to share and network with those individuals and companies who may not be in the foodservice packaging space, but are very connected within the recycling world. It raises the visibility of FPI as a whole, increases our bandwidth and network, while allowing us to highlight all of the work the PRA, PRG and FRC has been doing to foster the recovery of foodservice packaging. When it comes to recovery, we have several other events on the schedule, scattered throughout the fall including the Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, WIST’s Conference on Paper Foodservice Packaging and the Food Recovery Summit.
While the Resource Recycling Conference is an event that Lynn and I attend together, most of the time, we take the “divide and conquer” approach to outreach. Lynn is involved with the State Government Affairs Council (SGAC). They are holding their Leaders Policy Conference in November this year. Groups like SGAC offer FPI the chance to come together with state government affairs professionals and legislative leaders from around the country. As you know, areas of legislative interest for FPI often come from the state and local level. Making connections with those who work at the state level can help foster relationships that might become even more meaningful in the future. Lynn will also be talking foodservice packaging and legislative issues at this year’s SPC Advance.
While Lynn works on the government affairs side, I spend some of my time working in the technical arena. One of the well-known organizations doing work on this front is ASTM International. Many of you are likely familiar with ASTM standards. ASTM International is comprised of many committees and subcommittees who work diligently on creating and improving those standards. Each of these ASTM committees holds meetings in the spring and in the fall. By attending some of these committee meetings, it affords FPI an in-depth “in the weeds” look at what is going on related to standards. Again, it also allows us the opportunity to expand our network and meet people who may work within the paper, plastics, packaging or sustainability industries, but who may not know about foodservice packaging or FPI.
Since some of these outreach and events take us to other cities across the country, Lynn and I also like to find the time to visit FPI member companies that may be located near those cities. You might read in FPI’s Executive Briefs that we are coming to your city – don’t hesitate to let us know you’d like us to stop by if we have the time!
You also might be interested to know that FPI keeps an industry calendar on our website. We want to collect as many related industry events as we can on this calendar. If you know of something not already on the calendar that may be an important industry event, please let us know.
We hope to see many of you out there attending many of these events. If you can’t make it yourself, know that FPI will be out there, spreading the word about foodservice packaging and this great industry we represent.