The Flexible Packaging Association, originally called the National Flexible Packaging Association, was founded as a corporate membership organization on July 19, 1950. It was formed by a group of flexible packaging manufacturers (converters) who saw a need for a voluntary trade association to represent their interests. On August 2, 1950, the association was incorporated in Chicago, Illinois, and established headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1951.
The founding of NFPA was spearheaded by A.A. Meister of Bagcraft Corporation of America, R.E. Pentz of Oneida Paper Products and R.E. Hanson of Milprint. Other founding members included Paramount, Union Bag & Paper, American Paper Goods, Columbia Paper Goods, Brown Paper Goods and Comet Envelope Company.
NFPA became the lead voice for the flexible packaging converter, a role which continues to this day. The first stated functions of the association were to “establish proper governmental cooperation, develop industry statistics and develop factual information.” These goals are similar to the association’s current strategic directions.
In 1956, the first flexible packaging competition was established with Paper, Film & Foil Converter magazine as a co-sponsor. The purpose was to recognize and honor the developers of outstanding and innovative flexible packages of the previous year. This annual event continues to the present day, as the Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards. Trade press coverage of this prestigious industry event has been extraordinary year after year.
In the late 1970s, the decision was made to focus on governmental and regulatory issues at both the national and state levels. The logo and name of the association were changed to the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). In 1981, FPA relocated its offices to 1090 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005, in 2001, FPA moved to 971 Corporate Blvd., Suite 403, Linthicum, MD 21090, and in 2015, FPA relocated to 185 Admiral Cochrane Drive, Suite 105, Annapolis, MD 21401.
Since the beginning, FPA has always had an excellent professional staff to carry out the programs planned by the member companies. In the early years, NFPA was managed by John Cowan, who became a life member in 1968. He was followed by E.C. (Pete) Merkle in 1976. In 1977, Richard Lillquist was named President and was succeeded in 1986 by Glenn E. Braswell. In 2000, Marla Donahue was named as President and Chief Operating Officer.
For more information, please click here to download An Industry Takes Shape: The FPA Story 1950-2000.