On Oct. 28, ICPF conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication at the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation's (ICPF) most recently established packaging design lab in the graphic design school at the University of Texas - Arlington (UT-A). The UT-A program joins 24 other partner campuses across North America that have been initiated or expanded by the work of ICPF. The Arlington campus dedication program included a presentation and interactive lunch among ICPF corporate partners, students, faculty, administrators and additional AICC Region 4 participants who conducted their regional meeting on the campus that afternoon.
The packaging and design lab integrates corrugated and structural curriculum into the graphic design program at UT-A. The new lab includes ICPF’s online corrugated curricula, a Data Tech/Gerber Innovations CAD table earlier donated to ICPF by ICPF corporate partner Vanguard Packaging, and Artios design software donated through ICPF by Esko. Both Gerber Innovations and Esko donated extensive training and support during the start up, and have continued their support whenever needed.
Robert Hower, Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, said the new partnership aligns closely with the department’s growth and focus on design. The lab curriculum, CAD table system and software "already are providing significant packaging experiences and design problem-solving opportunities for real world design and production,” Hower said. “It is a great example of education and industry teaming up to improve employment opportunities for our students.” Hower's "real world" view of the lab and new program was expanded upon by UT-A's new President, Vistasp Karbhari, who participated throughout the program and addressed the industry crowd during the luncheon. President Karbhari's vision for the 41,000 student university, that is located in the nation's fourth largest metropolitan area, includes the establishment of additional partnerships with industry that are modeled after the ICPF initiated, corrugated industry partnership.
The lab has been in use for a few semesters and already has yielded impressive results. This past February, a
UT-A student team won first place in ICPF’s International Best of the Best Student Design Presentation Competition during ICPF’s 15th annual Careers in Corrugated Packaging & Display Teleconference. The UT-A student design team qualified for the ICPF Run-Off competition by competing against dozens of teams from universities from across the nation in AICC's 2013 student design competition. AICC - The Independent Packaging Association and the Fibre Box Association (FBA) are co-sponsors and long-time supporters of ICPF.
Assistant Professor Ben Dolezal said the students’ work was enabled by the new design lab. “The lab provides students with the structural design software, materials and a computer-aided design table to produce significant packaging solutions for use in the marketplace,” he said.
Outgoing AICC Region 4 Director, Jana Harris (Harris Packaging), who serves as an ICPF representative on the UT-A packaging advisory board, also announced with her sister Jenise Cox that Harris Packaging would be providing a Joe Harris scholarship for UT-A packaging students in honor of their father who was present for the ceremony.
New AICC Region 4 Director Eric Elgin (Oklahoma Interpak) summed up the comments of those corrugated manufacturers in attendance. "It is very exciting to have the packaging design lab at a major school in our region. The new program will not only greatly improve the understanding and awareness of our industry among students in the region, but also potentially provide an educational resource from which we can recruit future employees who will grow into managers and executives."
The afternoon's AICC Region 4 Fall meeting that was chaired by Jana Harris, began with an update on AICC's new directions provided by AICC Immediate Past Chair Mark Mathes (Vanguard Packaging). ICPF President Richard Flaherty provided a brief update on ICPF and AICC President, Steve Young, gave an overview of AICC and the AICC rebranding efforts designed to enable the Association to best serve its members. AICC Emerging Leader, Jeff Gilstrap of Harris Packaging also gave a brief overview about the benefits of belonging to the Emerging Leader Group.
Following the AICC leadership was a panel discussion titled "What's New in Digital Print," featuring representatives from Sun Automation Group, HP and Prisco Digital. The session gave meeting participants the opportunity to ask any and all questions they had about digital print and where the technology is leading the industry. The keynote speakers of the event were Lee and Terry Resnick of Resnick Associates. Their discussion, "Assuring the Successful Continuation of Your Business," offered attendees understandable tools and techniques to help preserve their businesses, estates and family harmony. The meeting concluded with an optional tour of the UT-A packaging lab by those who were unable to join the earlier ceremony there.
Region 4 participants additionally joined an AICC Region 4 evening outing for an exciting overtime game between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.