Neha Mardi, an Innovation Strategist at Southern Champion Tray, leads a design panel discussion with several 2021 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition winners during PPC’s recent Fall Meeting & Leadership Conference.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Sustainability, cybersecurity, powering the future, curbing burnout, and the global economic outlook were just some of the critical topics discussed during the Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) recent Fall Meeting & Leadership Conference in Savannah, Georgia.
After more than a year of virtual meetings, nearly 200 folding carton industry executives came together for three days of insight, networking, and camaraderie. In addition to exciting speakers, the meeting included a celebration of the 2021 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition winners as well as a special evening recognizing the lifetime achievement of former WestRock chief executive officer, Steven Voorhees, who received PPC’s highest honor, the Robert T. Gair Award.
The conference’s keynote address came from John Gift, chief information security officer at WestRock, who discussed how to maintain resiliency and security in light of ransomware attacks. Gift, a dedicated and experienced cybersecurity professional, leads all domestic and international security functions at WestRock. Throughout his presentation, Gift reiterated, “Cybersecurity is an ecosystem because its impact touches just about every employee, supplier, and customer within an organization’s business network.” Knowing this, when putting together a cybersecurity preparedness strategy, Gift says it’s imperative to not only represent your organization but include your supply chain as well.
Gift also made it clear that cyberattacks are on the rise. “There has been a 109% increase in ransomware attacks since 2020, and the global cost of ransomware attacks last year alone was $11 billion.” According to the FBI, cyberattacks, ransomware, and supply chain threats on the manufacturing industry specifically, have increased threefold. “It’s no longer a matter of if, it’s a matter of when an attack takes place, and that makes preparation an essential task. Improving your incidence response protocols, business continuity measures, and crisis management techniques is your best defense again widespread cyber-attacks.”
Gift was just one knowledge leader who presented during PPC’s conference. Additionally, Kathi Rowzie, president of Two Sides North America, showcased the importance of improving communication of sustainability practices when promoting paperboard products; Dr. Ann Bowers-Evangelista presented to PPC women leaders on the buzz-term, “burnout,” and why there’s been a dramatic increase of burnout amongst women due to the pandemic; Michael Housley, president of Legacy Energy, reiterated that market disruptions and energy spikes will continue to occur, and they can happen just about anywhere in the United States; and professor Jeff Rosensweig of Emory University presented his economic roadmap that showcased the significance of the global economic outlook along with a forecast of what’s expected to come.
PPC’s 2022 Spring Outlook & Strategies Conference will take place on March 9 – 11, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. During the Spring Outlook, in addition to programming that will provide innovative ways to help folding carton organizations succeed in the marketplace, PPC will also celebrate the finalists of the 2021 Student Design Challenge, a competition hosted by The Paperboard Packaging Alliance (PPA), a joint initiative between the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the PPC. Learn more about PPC and its upcoming Spring Conference by visiting www.paperbox.org.